Pet Travel in 2018: How to Score Some Furry New Customers

Jim Nunes, Creative Group Supervisor
June 22, 2018

World, meet Midge. She’s my one-year-old miniature poodle with a personality that’s anything but. She’s like a tiny hurricane covered in fur. She loves squeaky toys, being the center of attention, meeting new people, and more than anything else, visiting new places. I guess I never realized how fun travel could be until #TheMidge entered my life.

A 2018 survey by revealed over 50 percent of pet owners plan to travel with their pets this year, and 31.3 percent plan to take overnight trips with their pets six or more times. And businesses are taking notice. More and more restaurants and travel and tourism brands are expanding their offerings to capitalize on the rise in pet travel.

Follow these trends to make sure your brand gets a five-paw review:

A Room With a Chew

Most hotels consider themselves to be pet-friendly, which has become table stakes in a country where 68% of households (nearly 85 million) include pets. Some hotels now target pet owners with programs like pet salons, pet sitting, dog walking, in-room doggie massages, plush pet beds and turn-down service (with a treat on the pillow, of course). From lower-tier chains like La Quinta and Red Roof Inn, all the way to chains like the W and Marriott, catering to pet parents is becoming a priority. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune estimated that a 300-room hotel could realize an additional $100,000 to $150,000 in room revenues per year by adding pet-friendly policies.

Table for Fur

A dog’s gotta eat, too. Some states have helped restaurants open outdoor dining spaces to dogs via state laws, and more and more restaurants and cafés are pulling out the chairs for our K-9 dinner dates. Dog-specific menus include such offerings as farm-to-table grilled chicken breast with grains and bacon soy doggie ice cream treats. Restaurants even host events like “Yappy Hours” complete with non-alcoholic craft brews for your dog.

So, with a few simple adjustments to your menu, you can not only see packs of new customers and increased revenue, but a boost in your social media presence as well. According to market research firm Mintel, one in 10 pets nationwide has its own social media account. Who doesn’t love sharing pics of their pooch?

Millennials Are Top Dogs

The 2017-2018 Pet Owners Survey from the American Pet Products Association revealed that Millennials (Gen Y) are driving pet-friendly brand behavior. Millennials humanize their pets more than other generations and thus expect brands to help them step up their pet parenting game. Younger consumers are more likely to take their pets to the vet more often, give them flavored oral medications and vitamins, dine at pet-friendly restaurants, buy designer pet care items and even throw parties and buy gifts for their pets. If your brand is targeting millennials, making moves to pamper their pets is a smart strategy.

So, there you have it. If you’re a travel or tourism brand interested in extending your reach beyond the furry companion segment, give us a shout. We specialize in engaging travelers of the human variety and would love to sink our teeth into your next challenge.

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About the author
Jim Nunes, Creative Group Supervisor
Jim leads design teams in bringing our creative concepts and campaigns to life, always with high levels of craft and attention to detail. Jim works across accounts with significant experience on brands like Wegmans, Delta Vacations, Xerox, Friendship Dairies and BMW Financial Services.