One of the fastest-growing sectors of the UK holiday market is in pet-friendly holidays. More and more people want to take their beloved pets away with them - not just because they enjoy the company of their pets, but because leaving them at kennels can be expensive.
By not catering to the demand for pet-friendly cottages, you could be missing out on a lot of bookings
However, some owners remain understandably wary of catering for dog-friendly holidays. After all, pets can cause damage - some are poorly trained and others may become disorientated by new surroundings - and this can leave owners facing substantial repair costs (although this is very rare). About a quarter of holidaymakers take their pets with them on breaks - and by not catering to this demand for pet-friendly cottages, you could be missing out on a lot of bookings.
Wear and tear is of course an inevitable pitfall of renting out a cottage - whether the guests are human or canine
Here are some steps you can take to pet-proof your holiday home. Remember, just a few modest measures can unlock a windfall of new bookings and revenues.
Make some pet-friendly additions to your holiday home. Having a dog bed as well as food and water bowls handy is essential, but you might also want to consider - for example - installing a stair gate to stop dogs from going upstairs.
Provide plenty of waste bags for owners to use to clean up after their pets.
Soft furnishings are particularly susceptible to pet damage. It might be worth, therefore, considering whether you could get rid of some soft furnishings to minimise the risk of damage. Remove as many breakable items as possible, and keep others out of reach of pets (and young children).
Pets are of course sometimes prone to 'accidents' of various sorts. Deep carpets, for instance, may be particularly difficult to clean when soiled. Laminate or wooden flooring would perhaps be more practical.
Ensure that pet-related damage is included in your insurance policy. This should help to provide you with some protection in the event of a major mishap.
Don't be afraid to issue instructions. If you want to impose no-go areas for pets, make sure you let guests know about them. Don't be too draconian, though.
A few modest measures can unlock a windfall of new bookings and revenues
If you're going to take advantage of the demand for dog-friendly holiday cottages, you need to think about how you're going to promote your cottage to that particular market. Here are some tips we'd advise you to consider.
Point out in all your marketing materials that you offer pet-friendly accommodation. Let guests know what facilities you can offer them and their pets. One of the most searched for features on cottages.com is for pet friendly properties.
If you've not already signed up with a letting agent to promote your cottage, do so. Inform your agent that you're happy to rent your holiday home out to people who want to bring their pets with them.
Provide guests with information on what they can do with their pets in the local area. Recommend local walking routes and pet-friendly places to visit.
It's also worth remembering that guests are often prepared to pay extra for pet-friendly accommodation - so not only could you earn more bookings for your property, but you may also make more money from each individual booking. At cottages.com, we can help you promote your pet-friendly holiday home to a huge audience of potential visitors. Get in touch with our experts today to find out more.