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Why Vacation Rentals Need to Be Pet-Friendly

According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, 68% of American households own a pet (85 million families) — 57% more than in 1988. Moreover, 37% of pet owners travel with their furry family members every year — which is 19% more than one decade ago. TripAdvisor’s “Traveling with Pets” survey came away with even more staggering numbers: 53% of respondents say they travel with pets, and 52% said they would only stay in pet-friendly locations. 

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Mikhail Vasilyev

The travel industry has been quick to respond to this sweeping nationwide trend. Many hotel chains now welcome four-legged travelers with an array of treats and facilities, airlines have grown increasingly accommodating, and even governments are responding with improved animal protection legislation. 

Unsurprisingly, the vacation rental industry has also answered the call. The availability of pet-friendly short-term rentals has skyrocketed over the past half-decade, and hosts who allow pets appeal to a wider guest audience than those who don’t. In order to gauge exactly how pet-friendly travel has impacted the vacation rental industry, AllTheRooms Analytics has examined data from the entire United States over the past three years. Here’s what we found: 

Growth in Supply of Pet-Friendly Vacation Rentals

Firstly, in order to gauge exactly how pronounced the pet-friendly trend has become, let’s look at pure supply numbers. 

During the three-year period between Q1 of 2016 and Q1 of 2019, the number of accommodations listed as pet-friendly in the U.S jumped from 56,551 to 197,814 — a 250% increase. By contrast, non-pet-friendly accommodations grew from 400,043 to 968,676 — a 142% increase. Pet-friendly listings, therefore, outpaced non-pet-friendly listings by over 100%. 

Despite this growth, accommodations listed as non-pet-friendly still significantly outnumber pet-friendly rentals. As of the first quarter of 2019, pet-friendly homes accounted for just 16.96% of the market while non-pet-friendly rentals accounted for 83.04%. 

Pet-Friendly vs. Non Pet-Friendly.png

AllTheRooms Analytics

Drilling further into AllTheRooms Analytics’ vacation rental data, we’re able to determine how pet-friendly listings are divided among cat and dog-friendly. What we found is the percentages have remained remarkably consistent over time: cat-friendly listings make up roughly 12%, dog-friendly account for about 60%, and those allowing both animals account for about 28%. 

Most Popular Places for Pets

In terms of aggregate supply, the cities with the highest availability of pet-friendly vacation rentals are Atlanta (3,510), New York City (4,018), and Los Angeles (5,430). 

In terms of proportionality, the places with the highest percentage of pet-friendly homes are Big Bear Lake, CA (34%), Joshua Tree, CA (40.7%), and Casper, WY (43.6%). With nearly half the short-term rentals in Casper welcoming pets, Wyoming seems to be the most ideal place for a pet-friendly escape. 

How Pet-Friendly Affects Occupancy Rates and ADRs

When analyzing the vacation rental data for the entire United States, some clear themes emerge in regards to pet-friendliness. In fact, we notice a difference in all key performance indicators. 

The average daily rate for all pet-friendly listings comes out to $167 countrywide. Meanwhile, all non-pet-friendly listings maintain an average daily rate of just $132. This $35 price difference means hosts allowing pets receive bookings for around 25% more than those who don’t. 

In terms of occupancy rate, the difference between the two categories is less pronounced but still leaning in favor of pet-friendly. Hosts allowing pets maintain an average occupancy of 46.6% throughout the year, while those who don’t have an average occupancy rate of 45.1%. This 1.5-point difference translates to a 3.3% increase in occupancy rates for those allowing pets. 

Another striking difference lies in the cleaning fee category. It’s no secret that many vacation rental hosts use the cleaning fee as a way to boost income, and this is especially true for those allowing pets. The average cleaning fee for a pet-friendly residence is $83 (per stay, which averages about 3-4 nights), while the fee for non-pet-friendly cleaning fee is $75. An $8 difference may not seem like much, but what amounts to a 10.6% boost in cleaning fee revenue could prove substantial — especially when the price of a cleaner remains relatively consistent for pet-friendly and non-pet-friendly homes. 

Pet-Friendly vs. Non Pet-Friendly.png

AllTheRooms Analytics

Places Where Pet-Friendly Affects Occupancy Rates Most

In addition to analyzing the countrywide trends, let’s hone in on the specific markets where listing properties as pet-friendly has the largest impact. The cities and towns below are ranked by the difference between pet-friendly and non-pet-friendly occupancy rates. For example, in Coachella, pet-friendly accommodations report 100% more occupancy rate compared to non-pet-friendly homes. 

  1. Coachella, CA – 100.8%
  2. Orleans, MA – 87.5%
  3. Siesta Key, FL – 82.9%
  4. Dennis, MA – 81.4%
  5. Broken Bow, OK – 80.6%
  6. Lead, SD – 79.2%
  7. Barnstable, MA – 77.4%
  8. Solana Beach, CA – 75.4%
  9. Haines City, FL – 72.4%
  10. Rancho Mirage, CA – 72.1%

Dogs Versus Cats

According to our data, vacationing dog lovers are required to fork over substantially more money than cat lovers. The average daily rate for dog-friendly homes is 10.9% higher than those which are strictly cat-friendly, and the cleaning fee is a whopping 101.6% higher for dog-friendly homes ($125 vs $62 per stay). Furthermore, dog-friendly homes requiring a deposit demand 11.6% more than cat-friendly rentals. 

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Impact of Pets Already Living on the Premises

Finally, one last data point for hosts and property managers to consider is the potential impact of pets already living on the premises. For hosts renting out a spare bedroom or just part of the house, the presence of pets is something guests certainly consider when booking. 

Over the past three years, the number of listings with pets living on the premises has grown from over 77,000 to over 93,000. This 22% increase is a far cry from the 250% increase in pet-friendly accommodations over the same time period. Interestingly enough, the number of accommodations with pets on the premises has actually been declining since quarter 3 of 2017. 

Here is the side-by-side comparison for listings with pets on the premises versus those without. 

Pet-Friendly Listings with Pet vs. No Pet on Premise.png

AllTheRooms Analytics

Conclusion

When analyzing data from the U.S vacation rental market, it becomes clear that a host’s decision to list their property as pet-friendly is no small decision. While there is certainly a degree of assumed risk in allowing any four-legged hairball into a vacation rental, that risk may be offset by the increase in daily rates, occupancy rates, cleaning fees, and overall revenue.  

For more specific information on how pet-friendly vacation rentals stack up in your specific market, contact us

Why Vacation Rentals Need to Be Pet-Friendly
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