December 11, 2023

Should I Make My Airbnb Property Pet-Friendly?

As an Airbnb host, the decision to make your property pet-friendly is a significant one. As one of London’s best Airbnb property management companies, we’ve worked with a broad range of pet-friendly properties across the capital. On one hand, it opens up your rental to a broader audience of pet-owning holiday makers, potentially increasing bookings.

On the other hand, there are considerations and responsibilities that come with accommodating our (usually!) four-legged guests. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons to help you decide whether making your Airbnb property pet-friendly is the right choice for you and your business.

Pros of Making Your Airbnb Property Pet-Friendly:

Expand Your Market:

Opening your doors to pet owners can significantly increase your potential guest pool. There are many travellers who prefer to bring their furry companions along or are simply unable to go on holiday without them. By welcoming pets, you can tap into a niche market that will likely be looking specifically for pet-friendly accommodations.

Increased Bookings:

A survey in 2021 showed that 85% of dog-owners preferred a “staycation” holiday to one abroad, with 95% planning at least one overnight holiday each year. This means that pet owners in the UK are more likely to be seeking out pet-friendly accommodation in places like London as opposed to booking international trips.

The same survey also revealed that London and the South-East are known to be the most pet-friendly areas of the country, despite many hotels and accommodation not allowing pets. By not opening up your property to pet-owners you could potentially be missing out on these additional bookings.

Loyalty and Positive Reviews:

Providing a pet-friendly environment can lead to loyal guests who appreciate your understanding of their needs, particularly when a lot of other accommodations are not suitable for pets. Happy guests are more likely to leave positive reviews, consider repeat bookings, and create a ripple effect that can attract more future guests.

Competitive Advantage:

In many areas, and particularly in London, the competition among Airbnb hosts is fierce. Offering a pet-friendly space can set you apart from other listings, giving you a competitive edge in the market. This unique selling point can attract travellers who prioritise accommodations that welcome pets.

happy couple in an airbnb letting with their pet dog

Cons of Making Your Airbnb Property Pet-Friendly:

Potential Damage and Cleaning Costs:

Pets, no matter how well-behaved, can sometimes cause wear and tear on your property. This creates a risk of potential damage to furniture, flooring, and other amenities. Additionally, cleaning up after pets requires some extra time and effort, potentially leading to increased maintenance costs and man-hours.

Allergies and Sensitivities:

Some guests may have allergies or sensitivities to pets or pet dander. Even if you thoroughly clean your property between guests, traces of these allergens may linger in your property. This could lead to discomfort for some future guests and potentially lead to negative reviews or feedback.

Noise Concerns:

Pet noises, particularly from barking dogs, can be disruptive to neighbours and other guests in multi-unit buildings or properties within close proximity. It's important to consider the impact of noise from pets on the overall experience of your guests and neighbours to negate any possible negative sentiments.

Policy Enforcement Challenges:

Crafting and enforcing clear pet policies for your guests can be challenging. From size restrictions to behavioural expectations, setting and maintaining guidelines for pet owners can require extra effort and communication. If you choose to let your Airbnb letting to pet-owners, ensure that the rules are clearly communicated and understood before arrival.

Key Considerations Before Making Your Decision:

Pet-Proof Your Property:

Take proactive measures to pet-proof your property. This may involve investing in durable furnishings, providing designated pet-friendly areas or accessories, and ensuring that your property is secure for pets both internally and externally. If there is an outdoor area on your property, such as a yard or garden, ensure that these are secure and well maintained to provide a safe and escape-free environment.

Communicate Effectively:

Transparent communication is crucial. Clearly communicate your pet policies in your listing description and in direct communication with guests. This helps manage expectations and reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings. You may wish to phone or email your guests ahead of their stay to remind them of the rules or consider printing a physical copy and leaving this to remind guests on their arrival.

Understand Local Regulations:

Be aware of any local regulations or homeowner association rules regarding pet-friendly rentals. Some areas may have specific restrictions or requirements for accommodating pets, including a total ban on animals. Make sure that any pet-friendly lettings are done so within the rules or with permission of the site owner where applicable.

Decide What’s Right for You, and How We Can Help:

Deciding whether to make your Airbnb property pet-friendly involves weighing the potential benefits against the challenges. Whilst there may be financial benefit to opening up to a new market and increase your bookings, there are other factors to consider in order to make this a reality.

By carefully considering the pros and cons, establishing clear policies, and communicating effectively, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your hosting goals and enhances the overall experience for both human and furry guests.

If you don’t want to lose out on the potential bookings and income from pet owners but are put off by the additional work and potential hassle, then we are here to help. StayinLondon provide personalised property management services for short and monthly stays in London, including pet-friendly properties. Get in touch for a free valuation or to find out more about our services.

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