In January of 2018 Wyndham Worldwide Corporation acquired La Quinta Holdings, Inc. for $1.95 billion. This acquisition follows a consolidation trend in the hospitality industry, including Marriott’s purchase of Starwood Hotels and Resorts in 2016, the InterContinental Hotels Group acquisition of Kimpton Hotels, and AccorHotels buying the Swissotel, Raffles, and Fairmont brands. And though the La Quinta deal closed in the second quarter of 2018, many of the consequences of the sale are just beginning to take place, especially with regard to what it means for loyalty reward members (points are currently transferrable) and, most importantly for our purposes, people who travel with their pets.
La Quinta has always been one of the pet-friendliest hotel chains out there. With approximately 900 properties (all being pet friendly except where prohibited by local ordinances), they have been an easy choice for pet travelers. That’s because they generally had one pet policy that covered all their properties: No pet fee. No weight limit. 2 pets maximum (dogs and cats). This policy varied slightly with regard to weight limit but, in general, their pet policies were consistent from property to property. If you saw a La Quinta through your windshield, you could feel very confident that you and your pet would be welcome with open arms.
With the acquisition of La Quinta, Wyndham Hotels becomes the largest hotel chain in the world with regard to the number properties (9239) and the third largest with regard to the number of rooms. La Quinta now joins Wyndham’s portfolio of nineteen other well-known brands, including Baymont Inns & Suites, Howard Johnsons, Mircrotel, Ramada, Travelodge, Wyndham Garden and Hawthorn Suites, among others, many of which also have pet-friendly properties.
So what does the La Quinta acquisition mean for you and your pet? To find out, we contacted La Quinta pet-friendly properties to see what changes, if any, would be taking effect. We wondered if the acquisition of such a great pet-friendly brand might seriously dilute their pet-friendliness. We are happy to report that isn’t happening. Overall, La Quinta is going to remain very pet friendly, with only a handful deciding not to accept pets. From the feedback we’ve been getting, it seems that Wyndham has let each LQ property make a decision on their pet-friendly status and has offered some guidelines if they want to change their current policy. The good news is that many La Quintas will continue with the current policy of no fee or weight limit and those that don’t will, on average, be charging a $20 a night fee with a maximum fee of $40 a week. As far as pet policies go that’s fair, especially when you consider you’ll still be getting the great La Quinta service, affordability and ambience. Also, the weight limits might vary a bit more between properties. That said, you can always check Petswelcome for accurate policies that will be continually updated in the coming weeks.
Overall, we were highly encouraged by the responses we received from La Quinta GMs from all around the country, saying things like “We love our pets!” and “Of course we’re still pet friendly!” “No pet fee or weight limit here!” Having worked with La Quinta for so long, all of us at Petswelcome have come to appreciate how great they are with people and their animals and we congratulate Wyndham and La Quinta alike for keeping that spirit alive and well. It nice to know that, with all the stuff going on in the world, some good things never change after all.
This is the first in an on-going series of articles that will follow new pet-friendly trends in the hospitality industry with regard to corporate news, strategies, promotions and unique approaches that affect traveling with your pet.