The Future Is Pet Friendly

Why Large Hotel Companies Must Rethink Their Guest Demographics

Demand for pet-friendly accommodations has more than doubled in the past five years, with some cities seeing a fourfold increase, according to Sonesta International Hotels Corporation, America’s 8th largest hotel company.

Pet-friendly hotels in Chicago, Miami, Charlotte, and New Orleans have seen the biggest increase in popularity, but the demand for pet-friendly accommodations is evidently on the rise nationwide.

Sonesta’s PAWS (Pets Are Welcome At Sonesta) Program Director Brittany Hattingh attributes the rise in pet-friendly stays to two trends: COVID pet boom and slow travel.

The “COVID pet boom” refers to the significant surge in pet adoptions and pet ownership during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, over 70% of U.S. households now have pets1 and as many as 60% of pet parents are traveling with their dog or cat2 at least occasionally.

“Travel can be stressful for less experienced pets and pet parents alike,” said Hattingh. “As we develop our offering and programs, we are focused on introducing amenities that will make both humans and their companions feel well-cared for. The PAWS program offers amenities such as pet beds, bowls and mats so that our guests don’t need to travel with these items.”

The rise of extended stays, growing at a CAGR of 11.8%, has further impacted pet-friendly travel trends. Embracing “slow travel” and “digital nomad” lifestyles, travelers find arranging pet-sitting services challenging, leading to a rise in pet companionship on long trips.

As the demand for pet-friendly stays continues to soar, the hospitality industry, led by large hotel companies like Sonesta, is shaping a new era of travel that embraces both pets and their devoted humans.

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