How to Run a Pet-Friendly Vacation Rental
So you’re considering making your rental pet-friendly by allowing four-legged visitors stay in your property?
That’s a smart move! Allowing pets is a great way to increase bookings and attract an additional pool of travelers. In fact, in the recent HomeAway Voices survey, 31% of pet owners said they’d rather travel somewhere that lets them bring their pet.
While allowing pets stay at your property is a great move to fill your calendar and boost your rental income, it’s a choice that should not be taken lightly. Before you commit to being a pet-friendly vacation rental, be sure to consider how to protect yourself, your home, and your guests.
CHARGE PET FEES
Most travelers will be familiar with additional pet fees if they travel often with their furry friends. Homeowners use these fees to help pay for additional cleaning, or simply to serve as a fall-back in the event of any damage caused by pets.
Fees can range from $10 – $25/night, and some owners choose a flat fee of $75-$100 that spans the entirety of the stay. Alternatively, some owners feel more comfortable charging a refundable pet deposit, to be returned if there is no pet-related damage at the time of check-out.
If none of those additional fee options fit the way you run your rental, you may want to look into using a damage insurance plan. At Evolve, all of our bookings are covered by Property Protection Plus by Evolve, which covers up to $3,000 worth of damages caused by a guest’s pet.
CLEAN EARLY AND OFTEN
While allowing pets to stay at your rental will be a relief to travelers who can’t stand to part with their animals, there are some guests who prefer a pet-free property. Whether they are worried about the cleanliness of staying at a pet-friendly vacation rental, or have an allergen to furry friends, it’s important to make sure you keep your rental desirable to every breed of traveler (pun very much intended).
To make sure that your property is appropriately cleaned for your pet-averse guests, do a thorough clean of your entire rental: deep clean the floors, vacuum all of the carpeted areas, and even clean the couches. Finding loose hairballs or questionable stains may cause guests to feel that your rental is dirty. Not to mention that this can create a severe problem for those with an allergy.
We also recommend keeping pet-specific carpet and furniture cleaner on-hand in your property for guests to use in the event of an accident. If you provide these kinds of products for your pet-friendly home, be sure to leave a note explaining where to find them and how to use them. A welcome book is a great place to keep those instructions.
If you want more tips on how to go about cleaning your vacation rental, check out our article on housekeeping.
DOUBLE CHECK YOUR INSURANCE POLICY AND HOA REGULATIONS
If you decide to allow pets in your vacation rental, make sure that you are in compliance with any Homeowner Association regulations, as well as your insurance policy. You don’t want to accidentally break rules and be reprimanded with a hefty fine (or worse) by forgetting to check.
Restrictions on breeds, weights, and animals are common with insurance companies, while HOAs often have regulations regarding where pets are allowed within the community.
BE CLEAR ON YOUR CONDITIONS AND POLICIES
One of the best things you can do as a pet-friendly vacation rental is to very clearly outline rules relating to pets in your home. Setting a standard pet policy will help mitigate potential misunderstandings or arguments with guests and set expectations for their stay. Here are some things to consider when creating your pet policy:
- Number of Animals — Do you want to put a limit on the number of pets allowed at the property at one time? Two animals is a reasonable limit for many homes, and will help keep your property cleaner and in better shape.
- Type of Animal — If you’re highly allergic to some animals and not others, or would prefer cats over dogs, be sure to outline that in your listing.
- Weight Restrictions — Do you want to put a weight limit on pets in your home? A common limit for dogs is 40 lbs, but your HOA may have an additional set of weight-specific guidelines.
- Housebroken — Do you want to require that the animals be housebroken? This helps avoid indoor accidents in a new, unfamiliar environment, and will save you the hassle and money of having to clean up Fido’s mess.
- Furniture — Do you want to allow pets on the furniture? Though this is a difficult policy to enforce, you can recommend that guests bring a bed or pillow for their pet’s comfort if necessary.
- Waste Cleanup — This one is absolutely essential. Requiring that guests remove their pets’ waste in the yard and surrounding areas is a no-brainer if you’re going to allow animals.
- Leash Policy — Does your HOA have a requirement that animals are leashed in the community? If so, fees for violations will be passed on to you, so be sure to include this in your policy.
- Flea/Tick Policy — Do you want to require that pets be on tick and flea prevention when they come to your property? Some owners prefer to take these measures to ensure that their properties stay pest-free.
When you’ve decided on a set of rules and regulations for pets, be sure to include them in your listing, your pre-stay email, and in a welcome book or pamphlet at the home. While some of the pet rules and restrictions are communicated before guests book their trip, many of them, like the the leash and furniture rules, should be reiterated before they arrive and during their stay.
SUPPLY TREATS AND TOYS FOR THE FURRY FRIENDS
You work hard to give guests an amazing experience in your home, why not extend that to their pets as well?
Giving welcome gifts to your guests can lead to rave reviews, and supplying a surprise for their pet will likely bring similar results. As an added bonus, offering certain pet-friendly amenities can prevent pet accidents, such as chewed-up furniture items and hair-covered blankets. Some good things to keep on-hand for your four-legged travelers are:
- Extra leashes
- A dog/cat bed
- Chew toys
- Cat scratchers
More now than ever before, travelers are choosing to only stay in accommodations that allow them to bring their animal companions along. Making your vacation rental pet-friendly will not only boost your bookings and increase your income, but will make you more competitive with other rentals and even hotels. Before you jump into allowing furry friends, you have to make sure you are strict on your pet policies and able to properly tend to your rental between stays.
Want to find out other ways you can increase your bookings and your income? Download our success guide below, or click here to learn more about how Evolve is helping over 5,000 homeowners across the country save time and earn more vacation rental income with our fresh approach to vacation rental management.