52% of pet owners travel with their pets - what improvements could Airbnb make?

in
Lincoln, Canada
Level 10
982 Views

52% of pet owners travel with their pets, so what improvements could Airbnb make to improve the booking experience for guests? This is clearly a huge market segment. 

If you travel with pets, what has your booking experience been like if you're using Airbnb to find accomodations?

 

I was trying to book a summer getaway last week. I have three dogs, all on the large side.  I used the filter for pet-friendly accomodation. So far, so good.

Here's where it got messy: 

- Many hosts have a limit on the number of pets or the size of pet they will accept. In most cases it's one or two dogs, and often there is a weight or height limit. 

- Many hosts have a limit on where the pets can go, like they're not allowed in the bedrooms or onto the furniture. I've also seen restrictions like dogs have to stay in the garage or yard. 

- Many hosts require crating of dogs. 

- Many hosts put the information on what's allowed in a random location: buried in the main listing text, on photos, etc. so you have to look very carefully at every listing to determine if it might be a fit. It's like finding a needle in a haystack. 

- Some hosts don't clarify their pet rules in their listings at all, so I contacted a number of hosts for clarification and was told there were conditions that I couldn't meet. 

 

I think it would be really great if hosts had more check boxes for pets so guests can filter results. Some suggestions would be:

- Size catergories allowed;  

- Types of pets allowed (dogs, cats, reptiles, ferrets, birds, etc); 

- If crating is required; 

- If pets can't be left alone; 

- If there's a fenced or unfenced outdoor space available for pet use; 

- If there's a pet fee, and if so, what it is. As a host, I would love to see a pet fee finally added to the fee structure, but that's been requested for a long time and still hasn't happened. In the meantime, it could be clearly disclosed on a standardized spot on the listing. 

 

I sorted through over a hundred listings before I was able to find a fit. The good news is that I did find a great looking place to stay, but it would be really handy and could save guests and hosts a lot of time if there were more filters available. 

 

Some other nice-to-haves would be filters for pet friendly attractions or experiences. I've never seen a pet friendly experience, but it might be an interesting catergory. Walking tours would be an obvious fit. After you book, you get shown a bunch of suggestions of things to do, but they're not really relevant if you're travelling with pets. 

33 Replies

Re: 52% of pet owners travel with their pets - what improvements could Airbnb make?

Level 8

Hey there @Alexandra316 

 

I have 1 small dog and 2 cats, and I'm also a host.

 

Fees are important; most listing doesn't have this information, not even in the description of the house or in the house rules.

 

In my listing, if  the guest ask, I offer the bed for the dogs, and sand and litter for the cats, and leave a snack for them, but it should be more information, just like you said.

Re: 52% of pet owners travel with their pets - what improvements could Airbnb make?

in
Lincoln, Canada
Level 10

@Rita662 Nice! Have you also travelled with them on Airbnb (or at all)? I've travelled with all three of them via Airbnb once so far. I've also stayed at a few hotels with them. So far so good, but I know their limitations and I don't leave them alone. 

 

I agree regarding the fees. It would be better if it was part of the pricing filter also, because some fees are extremely high: almost the cost of the stay itself. Some places charge $20 or $30 per night per pet. 

 

I have a set of pet bowls available for dog guests, as well as paw towels and sheets for protecting bedding and furniture. 

Re: 52% of pet owners travel with their pets - what improvements could Airbnb make?

Level 8

I travel last year with my dog; the listing where I stayed mencioned they were pet friendly, but I contacted the host asking if there was some problem.

Only after that, the guest mencioned a fee, and that the dog couldn't stay alone in the house.

None of this was mentioned in the house description.

Re: 52% of pet owners travel with their pets - what improvements could Airbnb make?

in
Lincoln, Canada
Level 10

@Rita662 yes that was my experience with some hosts also. Nothing is mentioned in the listing: conditions are only mentioned after contacting the host. 

Re: 52% of pet owners travel with their pets - what improvements could Airbnb make?

in
Auckland, New Zealand
Level 10

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Zara says to have a great holiday @Alexandra316 with your dogs.

 

Zara dreaming of a Greek Isle holiday from Auckland, New ZealandZara dreaming of a Greek Isle holiday from Auckland, New Zealand

 

She from time to time finds a nice location for us all to dream about..

@Nick @Stephanie @Lizzie @Anna @Zara5 @Zara4 @Zara6 @Zara3 @Marie-Greece0 @Mediterranean3 @Mediteran0 @Mediterraneum0 @Greek-Bnb0 @Your-Greek-Fella0 @Historic-Greek-Houses0 @Hawaii0 @Lei-Hawaii0 @Hawaii2 @Hawaii1 @Doga0 

@Pet1 @Pet0 @Dale711 @Mary996 @M199 @Helen350 @Inna22 @Emiel0 @Paul1255 @Mike-And-Helen0 @Solveig0 @Emilia42 @Brenda959 @Nancy146 @Joanna372 @Sharon1014 

Re: 52% of pet owners travel with their pets - what improvements could Airbnb make?

in
Lincoln, Canada
Level 10

Thanks @Helen427 and Zara! I'm sure we will! 

Re: 52% of pet owners travel with their pets - what improvements could Airbnb make?

in
Swansea, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Helen427 What a beautiful castle Zara has found! How did you do that?

@Alexandra316  @Mirna59 @Rita662 @Branka-and-Silvia0 @Inna22 @M199 @Mark116 @Helen3 

I really appreciate the tone of this constructive discussion. Thanks for taking a lead @Alexandra316 as the subject keeps coming up! With three dogs you have got to be an expert....!!

I really agree that a one time booking fee (or weekly or monthly rate) would be fairest. We tried to respond to a Guest who wanted to bring a dog but with two cats - unless housing in the garage was acceptable - we had to resolve that we can't accommodate other pets.

Damage protection is along the lines of human damage and the Host Protection Scheme. Probably best to self organise? Just one thought I'm having is what about a scheme sponsored by Per Owners who want to insure themselves, and others, by clubbing together to underwrite the risk???

@Branka-and-Silvia0 I think that Brian has a dog. I believe he is a dog lover but hasn't solved this conundrum... and that we probably need to come in with final proposals along the lines that Alexandra has presented. This is the best summary of the issues and practical solutons that I've seen so far!!  xx

Re: 52% of pet owners travel with their pets - what improvements could Airbnb make?

in
Chicago, IL
Level 10

@Alexandra316 I think the hosts should also be encouraged to go easy on restrictions. Do they really think most dog owners will not book a place because the pet can not go on the furniture  and their pet does? Will a responsible dog owner let their dog roam around without a create if the dog is known to get into things? Would an irresponsible dog owner not book a place? They would and would hope for the best.

 

The fenced/unfenced feature would be extra helpful. I get that question all the time. Now that I think about it, I will add this to my description.

 

All in all, this would be a great section to have just like the accessibility section and will propel Airbnb ahead of competitors. 

Re: 52% of pet owners travel with their pets - what improvements could Airbnb make?

in
Lincoln, Canada
Level 10

@Inna22 I couldn't agree more with your points: I think many of the restrictions have the opposite effect from what's desired. They deter the good dog owners who actually take time to read and understand the listing, while the bad guests may just see per friendly and assume that anything goes.

 

I've hosted pets since my listing opened, almost 4 years ago and I've hosted hundreds of dogs. I've had damage twice: in both cases, scratch marks on a generic Home Depot interior door that required minor repair. 

 

The only rules around dogs I've ever had is that they need to be generally well behaved and housebroken. That's it. I truly believe that most pet owners are responsible people who know what their dogs need in order to be successful guests. Some people bring crates. Some people never leave them alone. Some people ask for a check or potty break for their dog while they're out. Some just go ahead and leave them alone. Most of the dogs do really well: some do bark a bit and you need to watch for the occasional gift in the yard, but that's dogs for you

Re: 52% of pet owners travel with their pets - what improvements could Airbnb make?

Level 10

@Alexandra316, @Inna22 , @Helen427 , @Rita662 

 

Just to add to the pet discussion.  We allow pets and the 1st thing most dogs do is explore every corner, and jump on the bed to look out the window (that's right after they emptied the waterbowl😊). It's in their nature to be curious.  Remember, there are 3 sides to every story, the host, the guests, and the pets thoughts and opinions.

Re: 52% of pet owners travel with their pets - what improvements could Airbnb make?

in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

@Alexandra316  The biggest problem seems to be that Airbnb won't reimburse for any pet damage, that is a huge disincentive for hosts, and I can't remember if they finally added a pet fee check or not, but if not, that would be another easy way to increase hosts comfort with hosting pets.  We had originally had our listing set as pet friendly, but the first [and only] people who came with their two dogs and kitten were so awful that we unchecked for pets.

Re: 52% of pet owners travel with their pets - what improvements could Airbnb make?

in
Lincoln, Canada
Level 10

@Mark116 that's definitely a disincentive for hosts to accept pets, I agree. Unfortunate that a bad guest ruined it for all your future guests. Pets can do so much damage in such a short time if the owners aren't there or paying attention. 

Re: 52% of pet owners travel with their pets - what improvements could Airbnb make?

in
Silver Spring, MD
Level 2

I have only been hosting for two months. I have had five dogs stay here already. the first couple were great, but the last two used my house as a toilet and the pet owners just acted shocked each time it happened. I am thinking about changing to a NO PET policy because of them.

Re: 52% of pet owners travel with their pets - what improvements could Airbnb make?

in
Swansea, United Kingdom
Level 10

 Oh dear. Sorry to hear this @Scott1450 @. Did you get a substantial deposit in advance from them

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