30 million Americans travel with pets each year.

As more people are bringing their furry family members with them on their travels – of which 75% of the time these furry travelers are dogs – adding a pet amenity collection to your property’s guest-facing programs can do more than simply make the lives of traveling pet owners easier.

According to Forbes, “[B]rands that recognize pet love can make stronger connections with their customers.”

“Having a pet amenity program at a pet-friendly property adds value to the guests’ experience and stay,” says A S Hospitality Director of Market Development Kelly O’Dwyer. “This increases the chances of the guest sharing their positive experiences and developing a loyalty to the brand.” A S Hospitality Director of Account Management Brian Clanton mimics that sentiment, noting that a well-implemented pet amenities program, which can take as little as 6 to 8 weeks from R&D to going live, will show guests that the brand’s value for pets aligns with their own.

“In a market where competition is key, having a pet amenities program can distinguish your property from others that may only allow pets but not offer a program to support their stay,” Clanton says.

News myAvendra April-2015 PetsIf a property requires a pet deposit, having a pet amenity program can increase its perceived value. Additionally, there are a plethora of opportunities to integrate the program into social media marketing and the likelihood that guests will share their interactions and reviews online.

It’s important to have a supplier that understands the property’s brand and voice so that products in the collection look customized, Clanton says. Having a program provider that considers the price point variety associated with different materials used for food/water dishes, feeding mats, pet beds and more can help control costs of your program.

While the costs of and number of touchpoints with pet amenity programs can certainly vary from property to property, pet-friendly properties of all types can reap the benefits of having a pet amenity collection while sticking to their respective budgets.

Regardless of a collection’s size and scope of products and services, all properties must consider how to position their brand within the program. A pet amenities program, by nature, is customized. Keeping the program consistent across otherwise independent branded locations can help save time and costs.

“When developing your collection, it’s beneficial to have a supplier that understands what items should bear your logo and what items would be better fit using your brand pattern, fonts or colors,” O’Dwyer says.

Items worth branding with logo:
  • Operational items
  • Food/water bowls
  • Pet leash
  • Pet bed

Items worth branding with patterns/colors:
  • Food/water bowls
  • Feeding placemat
  • Pet bandana
  • Pet bed
  • Pet-in-Room doorhanger

Items better left unbranded:
  • Doggie waste bags (though you could use a catchy message with brand fonts)
  • Food/water bowls
  • Litter box

O’Dwyer notes that it’s important to choose items that visually compliment each other and in meeting quality standards. While many items may fit the overall style of a brand, some items may also have the ability to be customized to match in-room decor, including colors and fabrics. Considerations for these kinds of customizations, such as price points and anticipated lifespan of the desired customization, can be guided by an experienced program partner.

Additionally, it’s important to choose items that are easy to clean and easily demonstrate its cleanliness. Just as the two-legged guest beds are given white sheets, guests want to know their four-legged family members are experiencing the same level of cleanliness. Design items with cleanliness in mind. For example, some may choose to imprint both sides of a removable and reversible pet bed to reduce the number of washings. Likewise, choose items that are durable enough to withstand several cleanings.

Treat items similar to a guest robe or umbrella, letting guests know that new products can be purchased at the front desk if they would like to take and use the products throughout their travels — you can even offer to ship the products if the guest doesn’t want to pack and travel with the products but do want to have them — and your brand — at home.

For an extravagant pet collection, including services like a pet spa/grooming, dog walking, and a gourmet pet food menu and service can offer additional value for guests wanting a special experience for their pet.

Adding a pet amenities collection and program can attract new and loyal guests while serving them the ultimate pet-friendly experience. Offering products that they’ll want to return home with ensures they’ll keep sharing your brand and their positive experiences.

If your brand and/or property is looking for branded pet products or a full pet amenities collection to increase guest engagement, reach out to our hospitality brand merchandise specialists here.