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Are Pet Friendly Hotels Friendly for All Guests? Part 1

A recent survey indicates Americans own more pets than ever before. About 62% of US households now own a pet and almost 78% of those households are traveling the skyways and byways with their furry companions. Couple that survey with the results of our recent poll asking readers how they travel with their pets: 73% are most likely to stay in a pet friendly hotel/motel. That’s a lot of pets staying in pet friendly hotels! And it’s a sign that the hospitality industry is welcoming the growing market of people who prefer to travel with their pets.

But in a December 2009 on-line column for USA TODAY, business travel writer Barbara De Lollis posed this question: Can pet friendly hotels sometimes be not so friendly to non-pet guests? Unlike our dog friendly restaurants posts from last week, the comments on this post were a little less … um … dogmatic.

Typical Comments –

Here is a sampling of the thoughts left behind.

  • I don’t know about you, but when I pay good money for a motel/hotel room, the last thing I want is a dog within hearing-range waking me up in the middle of the night. [GPF note: In the middle of the night? Seriously? If a dog is barking in the middle of the night, it may be because something bad is going on, and you WANT to be woken up.]
  • After being shoved in the car for so long, the dog will want to run, play, bark, make noise… Hotels rarely have the play space needed for a game of fetch or a walk that’s longer than the parking lot. If pet-friendly hotels offered a fenced-in play area, I think the noise would be drastically reduced.
  • If I’m doing things the dog can do with me and therefore accompany me, like parks, dog-friendly beaches, hiking, visiting family, going to pet-friendly cafes, etc., I will bring them. If they must stay in the room alone, then no. It’s not fair to the dogs or the people.
  • I have been kept awake many more times by humans than by dogs; in fact I can recall anytime I’ve been kept awake by a dog barking in a hotel. I think that most owners who travel with their pets, in my experience, have well socialized dogs used to new environments.
  • This is why you ask if a hotel is pet friendly before you make a reservation, and if it is, you stay someplace else. Not too hard to figure that out, is it? [GPF note: There’s always someone who is into possibility thinking!]
  • People who leave a pet unattended in a hotel are inconsiderate morons. [GPF note: OK, then there’s the other side of the coin.]
  • I also stay in hotels frequently for business purposes – and I have been kept awake by disturbances from rambunctious children and partying adults far more often than barking dogs. By kids running up and down halls, or people who are arriving late or leaving early slamming doors and talking loudly in the hallway. The TV turned up so loud.
  • Even if your pet doesn’t make a sound…it DOES leave allergens in the room for the next person to suffer with, no matter HOW clean you think it is. How is that fair to the next person who stays in the room? This is the argument for limiting pets to certain rooms, and for informing subsequent guests in those rooms that the room they’re being assigned for the night isn’t appropriate if they are allergic. [GPF note: Gesundheit!]

Comeback Tomorrow –

In my follow up post, I will provide some tips for people hoteling with their pets. In the meantime, let us and others know what you think. Barking dogs keep you awake in hotels? Are kids worse than dogs? Got pet allergies? Personally … I hate elevator traffic and ice machines.

  • Carol Robson says:

    We travel extensively with our show dogs and find most people traveling with dogs are considerate. Always pick up after your dog, take a soft-sided crate for the room to confine your pet when you go out to eat, and never leave a dog alone in the room if it is a “worrier” as then he will bark and cry and disturb others. If we take precautions and are considerate, more hotels will welcome us and our pets.

  • I don't think I've ever heard a dog barking in a hotel that I've stayed at. Like others, I have been kept up by amorous couples and loud TV's.

    Solution: Buy a 4 pack of earplugs and drift off into slumber land.

  • I've travelled extensively with Jersey & we've stayed in many a hotel. Since it's usually been for dog shows, most of the time the floor that I was staying on was filled with other dog show folks. One time, the people in the room next to me had 10 chihuahuas in it & I didn't even know until check out time!! But dog show people know how to travel with their dogs and there was NO barking at all.

    Most hotels usually dedicate a block of rooms for travellers with dogs, so if a guest states that they have dog allergies, they will accomodate them properly.

    • Didn't know you showed dogs – cool! I'm imagining you are pretty experienced then at staying in pet friendly hotels. If you have any tips for hoteling with your pooch, please share them on the next blog post.

  • […] last post reviewed problems that non-pet-owning guests run into when staying at pet friendly hotels. Thankfully, the issues are few and not nearly as polarizing as the ones we covered in last […]

  • michelechollow says:

    When visiting Philadelphia, we stay at Loew's Hotel because they are pet friendly. Upon check in, dogs and kids get toys. There is a special menu for dogs, dog walkers and sitters can be hired too. The hotel staff is incredibly friendly to all guests.
    I never worried about barking dogs there because I never heard them.
    I did stay in a hotel in Scranton, PA, once and there was a kid's hockey team staying there. The kids used the halls as a ball field, and their parents stood out in the hall talking most of the night.
    My husband and I complained to the hotel manager, as did many of the other guests. This group is banned from the hotel and we got our money refunded. So, barking dogs would definitely anger me–just like unruly kids–or worse parents who don't give a hoot.

    • Gotta tell you – Amy and I love the Loews. Never actually stayed there, but we ate in the lounge of Sole Food restaurant many times with the dogs. It was an indoor sanctuary during inclement weather where you get anything from coffee or drinks to ordering off of the full restaurant menu. All with the comfort of having our dogs at our feet.

      • michelechollow says:

        My son loved it too. Upon check in, they gave him a toy, and there's a game room for kids to borrow toys. The frozen hot chocolate is also wonderful if you can get over the sugar high.
        Another great Philly hotel is the Four Seasons. They are dog friendly, and after staying their, I was so spoiled, I didn't want to stay anywhere else. It's sheer luxury.

  • kamnel says:

    As a frequent traveler, I've waken up in the middle of the night due to a group of teenagers who decided to hang out in each other's rooms, drunk adults stumbling to their room and kids screaming in the halls. Dogs have never been an issue.

    In my experience in traveling with my dogs, they usually relegate all dogs to one floor (or a group of specific floors) and even have specific rooms for dogs (for those with allergy concerns). If you have allergies to dogs and are steadfast in staying at a pet-friendly hotel for whatever reason, request a non-dog room/floor. Better yet, choose from one of a hundred other hotels that are not pet-friendly. Trust me – there are more of the latter rather than the former! And because there are so few hotels available to people traveling with their pets, we are hypervigilent about our dogs behaving properly. I wish more people could say the same about their kids screaming in the halls, teenagers hanging out in others' rooms or about themselves when they've had too much to drink ;)

    • All great points. My biggest annoyance is people coming/going late at night or early in the morning and letting the doors slam close. That can set our dogs off – going into protection mode. I also wish more people were as vigilant as you seem to be when it comes to watching your dogs. Others get too distracted. Example – getting on an elevator full of people with a dog, holding on to a Starbucks, and talking on a cell phone. Best advice I've ever gotten from a trainer: When you walk your dog – walk your dog.

  • thephillydog says:

    Hmmm…I would think that if I weren't a dog lover I wouldn't stay in a pet friendly hotel. I mean, if I had any of the concerns noted above there are plenty of non-pet friendly hotels for me to pick from.

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