Boasting that your business is pet friendly has become very trendy these day. After all, the pet industry is worth more than $60 billion, and as more people choose to travel with their pets, everyone wants to cash in.
However, what does it really mean to be pet friendly?
I was recently looking for a place to take my two dogs for a weekend, and came across a nice-looking hotel/resort along the coast in the northeast. It sounded beautiful.
Until, I read their pet page.
“Leashed dogs are allowed on (Name of Beach) – please note there are restrictions mid-June thru mid-September when they are allowed only before 8AM and from 6PM-8PM”
“Each pet owner is an Ambassador for their animal. Please be sensitive to the fact that not all guests are as enthusiastic about pets as you are. Please use diplomacy to help facilitate a more pet friendly world!”
“The Coast offers many delicious take-out options for dinner/lunch.
“Pet rooms are for mature and traditional pets.”
“All clean, well kept & behaved, non-barking, friendly dogs are welcome!”
While nothing they wrote is really wrong, it’s also really not pet friendly, comes across harsh and abrasive, and makes me not want to visit not only their business, but the area.
Do I want to spend my vacation eating takeout from a restaurant in my hotel room? Nope. I’d much rather be given a list of pet-friendly restaurants in the area.
One of the amenities that made the location so attractive was their beach-front real estate. If I can’t have my dog on the beach with me most of the day, why I am taking them with me, or to that establishment?
Instead, I am going to take my money to a much more pet-friendly tourist location.
And, the use of “mature” and “non-barking” in their promotional copy? There are better ways to say the information they are attempting to communicate. There are also other solutions to making the hotel comfortable for both pets, their owners and other guests.
Full disclosure, although I am a pet owner myself, I do understand that sometime not every owner is as responsible as they should be, and trust me, I get upset with those owners as well, since they give all of us a bad name. I deliberately did not mention the name or location of the hotel, because I think they mean well, they just missed the mark and could use a little help to reach their full pet-friendly potential.
Michelle Maskaly is a content creator and business consultant who specializes in helping businesses of all sizes capitalize on their marketing and content potential. She has worked with large media organizations such as Fox News and Bloomberg, magazines and brands, as well as chambers of commerce and small businesses. Work with Michelle by contacting her now.