VRS416 – How To Really Welcome Pets (And Not Just Tolerate Them)

Statistics on pet ownership in the UK and North America have shown a dramatic increase since the pandemic began, with 3.2 million households in UK acquiring a new pet and the overall pet owning households in the US surpassing 67%. This means more people are expecting to take their dogs on vacation than ever before.

Facebook groups and forums are awash with threads on the topic of being ‘pet-friendly’ but a glance through them shows that many are anything but welcoming to the four-legged guest. 

Sue Allen of East Ruston Cottages in the UK, is the opposite.  Her company only markets properties that accept dogs – and some of them are happy to take an unlimited number of  furry friends.

Sue’s philosophy on this is simple.  If a family includes a dog, then it is a part of the family and is treated as such. 

This is from the owner section of her website:

“We have never charged for dogs.  We are perfectly happy for them to go on the sofas and make sure throws are provided for this.  We ask our owners to provide some dog equipment – like bowls, beds, and maybe some toys.  There isn’t a list or a minimum requirement, but in our experience, the more you can think like a dog owner (and most of our owners do have their own dogs so they already do!) and provide what they might want, the better the feedback, goodwill and bookings.”

And it works because places that accept (and welcome) dogs are highly sought after, but often they come with additional charges and so many rules and penalties that vacation relaxation is all but impossible. 

In this episode Sue shares

  • Why she got into the holiday rental business and chose the pet-friendly niche
  • What makes a perfect pet-friendly location
  • Why she has never charged extra regardless of how many dogs there are
  • How she promotes the niche to new owners
  • Her marketing mix (which includes dog shows)
  • Why some of her owners hate the school holidays
  • Who should not accept pets in their home
  • What she will do for a tea bag and some milk! (She is my kind of lady!)
  • What’s in her tech stack

Links mentioned:

Supercontrol

Beyond

Booking Protect

East Ruston Cottages Facebook Group

East Ruston Cottages (Website)