Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Must Love Dogs

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that every second person these days has a dog.

Don’t get me wrong now – I love dogs, I had dogs most of my life, and if my circumstances were different right now, I’d probably have a dog.

It’s just that somewhere in the last few years, well more than the last few years, but on an escalating basis, it got “cool” to have a dog.

Not only that, but it got socially acceptable to build special bike carriers for your dog, carry bags for the little ones, and biker outfits.

I think that is probably the biggest irony, seeing these big, tough looking biker dudes, with their little dog strapped to their chest, and they don’t care who sees it. Previously, they would have been ridiculed, now, as they ride by you hear all these people commenting on how “cute” it is. When did we start describing bikers as cute?

I have some first-hand experience in this. My brother is a farmer/rancher/biker type, and he has a little dog, and yes, he straps it in the equivalent of a front harness baby carrier, slips a pair of goggles on it, and they jump on his Harley and take off. He does it all the time, and the dog apparently loves it.

The attachment that people have to their dogs is not new, and its impact on the Hotel business is likewise not a new phenomenon.

I think I can honestly say that I was one of the early supporters of “pet programs” that encouraged people to bring their dogs along on their stay, where we would do different special things to make their pets feel special.

At one point, when I worked at a resort property in the Rocky Mountains, where we had a VERY popular Christmas package, we developed a component for people’s dogs. That year, out of 321 rooms, running at 100% occupancy, we had 100 dogs in house. Yup, 100. You should have seen the place in the morning when people were out walking their dogs, it was amazing, and the people loved it.

They were going to go somewhere that accepted their “extended family” and I was determined to capitalize on that fact.

The dog ratio wasn’t always that high, but the inclusion of peoples’ dogs continued to be a very successful package for that property.

It’s not enough though to just say that you “accept pets” these days. You need to do something special and different to attract those pet owners, who I might add, are more than willing to shell out some extra dough to take Rover or Daisy along with them on their holiday.

Have some fun with it, get your staff involved who have dogs. Ask them what they suggest that you do, and , get their help to pick out the different items that you decide to include in your “pet package.”


  1. Hey we need a picture of your brother with his dog, how great is that! Fun story Dale!

  2. I agree, dogs have become cool. someone somewhere saw an opportunity to capitalize, and it worked! My parents are empty nesters. They take their dogs everywhere, and will sacrifice their accommodations for a less than great hotel simply because they take dogs.