Should Your Short-Term Vacation Rental Be Pet Friendly?

Pet-friendly Cabins

Have you been considering making your short-term vacation rental property pet friendly? If you’re considering this option but not sure where to start, we’re here to help. At Georgia Cabins for YOU — leaders in vacation rental management in the gorgeous North Georgia mountains — we know how important your investment is to you. We also know there are a lot of things to consider, and it can be hard to decide what will benefit you. We often discuss prohibiting or allowing pets with our owners, and our number one piece of advice is: do a deep dive to decide if it’s right for you. 

Let’s start with the numbers.

  • 67% (around 85 million families) of U.S. households have at least 1 pet.
  • It’s estimated that almost half of pet owners in the U.S. travel with their pets. 

Am I missing out on potential bookings if I don’t allow pets in my vacation rental? 

From our experience…yes. But that doesn’t mean that allowing pets is right for you. There are many benefits to joining the pet-friendly vacation rental market, but there are also downsides. Read on to decide if the pros outweigh the cons for YOU. 

If you decide that pet friendly is the way to go, we’re here to help make that transition a smooth one, with the best advice on restrictions, fees, pet policies, maintenance, service animals, and more. 

PROS of a Pet-Friendly Property

Expand your market reach. 
Each year, millions of pet owners search for pet-friendly vacation rentals for family vacations, getaways with friends, reunions, honeymoons, and more. Pet-friendly vacation rentals are in high demand. We constantly receive calls from guests looking for pet-friendly cabins! If you’re looking to boost your market appeal and raise occupancy quickly, changing your property to a pet-friendly rental is a great option. It opens up a whole new renters market! 

Bring in more profit. 
The ultimate goal in having a vacation rental property is…increasing profit. When you change your vacation property to pet friendly, you can add a non-refundable pet fee to earn more cash. The pet fee doesn’t have to be high, but it should be enough to make it worth your while. Extras like dog bowls and chew toys are always a plus for guests! Guests are happy to pay the extra amount because it’s much less expensive than boarding pets or using pet sitters. At Georgia Cabins for YOU, we take care of the pet fee so YOU don’t have to worry about it. 

Enjoy paw-sitive reviews and repeat stays. 
Because there aren’t tons of pet-friendly rental options, when pet owners find a great pet-friendly rental, they very often leave positive reviews and become repeat guests. Pet owners love their pets, and they understand how hard it is to find a great place to stay with them. They are more likely to share feedback to help out other pet owners. Word of mouth is often undervalued in advertising, but it is a surefire way to bring in repeat guests and boost rental income. 

CONS of a Pet-Friendly Property

Allergens + Pests
While we regularly clean our cabins and provide deep cleans throughout the year, sometimes routine or deep cleans just aren’t enough to entirely remove pet dander from a rental. This isn’t an issue for most guests, but for those with severe allergies (if you or someone in your family has severe pet allergies), it can be a problem. Pets can also bring pests, including fleas, so there will have to be stricter methods in place for routinely shampooing carpets, fabric furniture, and rugs. 

A Deterrent to Guests without Pets
While some guests will not stay in pet-friendly properties if they don’t have a pet, it’s not an issue we’ve come across a lot in 20+ years of property management across markets. It’s usually only an issue if guests have severe pet allergies and need to completely steer clear. 

Pet Noise 
Another consideration with a pet-friendly property is noise. Guests’ pets may bark or meow, which could cause issues with the neighbors if it’s in excess. In cabins and vacation properties with plenty of space inside and out, this is rarely an issue. But if you have a condo or townhouse, this is something to seriously consider. 

Possible Property Damage
This may be the top concern for property owners when considering whether or not to make your property pet friendly. While pet damage is something to consider, remember this: a pet coming to your property doesn’t mean property damage is inevitable. Would you want to travel with a pet that isn’t housebroken, doesn’t listen, barks a lot, or chews on everything? Probably not. Neither do most guests who own pets! 

The majority of guests who travel with their pets are often responsible pet owners and only bring well-behaved pets. They want to enjoy their time away, so it’s unlikely they’ll bring a pet that would disrupt that. Property damage is usually more likely from parties and people! A good way to ease pet damage concerns is with regular inspections and maintenance. 

Georgia Cabins for YOU offers complimentary furniture and carpet cleanings for pet-friendly properties. 

How to Make YOUR Property Pet Friendly — and Successful!

If converting your vacation rental to a pet-friendly property sounds like something you’re interested in as a homeowner, let us help! We have a few tips to make it a smooth, successful transition. 

Restrict Pet Size + Quantity
We recommend a 2-pet maximum at 75 pounds each, with weight exceptions for assistance animals. Restricting the number of pets and pet size can help reduce the chance for potential damages plus ensures fewer cleaning issues with pet fur and dander. And remember: if you only want dogs in your property, be specific. Collect pet information from each guest so you know what type of pet will be staying. 

Should you be worried about dog breeds or if the pet is neutered or spayed? What about vaccinations? No, these details don’t usually apply to the vacation rental business. 

Set House Rules 
Draw clear lines when offering a pet-friendly property to help avoid future issues. Requesting guests to keep pets off furniture is a common rule and helps guests know how to best take care of your home. 

Make Home Improvements
While house rules are good, they sometimes aren’t enough. The next time you’re updating your vacation property, consider adding removable pet gates to block off certain areas, sofa covers that can easily be washed and replaced, and pet-friendly flooring — including hardwood, wood-look vinyl, stone, or tile — that is highly preferred to carpet for easy cleaning.

Provide Pet Supplies
Pet owners — and their pets — love perks! Offering things like pet toys, dog bowls, or cots show you care. At Georgia Cabins for YOU, we even provide a bowl and waste bags for guests!

Schedule Regular Inspections
At Georgia Cabins for YOU, regular inspections are key. We routinely check so we can look for scratches, chewed items, and possible accidents — and quickly resolve the issues. 

The Scoop on Service Animals

Service animals can fall into a bit of a grey area. Many owners get confused about local laws and regulations regarding service animals at properties that are not pet friendly. Some vacation rentals get around ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) with technicalities, but it’s generally best to allow service animals in your vacation rental — even if it’s not pet friendly. Why?

  • Service animals have to go through intense training, so they are generally very well behaved.
  • This shows more inclusion, not discriminating against any guests. 
  • It helps guests who may have a difficult time finding suitable vacation rentals.

At Georgia Cabins for YOU, we allow service animals and emotional support animals in any property, at no extra charge, whether they are pet friendly or not. We want to allow guests with disabilities to book easily, without concern of added costs or stress. 

What about pet allergies?
If you or a family member has severe pet allergies, we always take that into consideration! Directing a guest to a different property is a great option in this situation, as we don’t want to trade one health concern for another. Being open and honest about concerns is the best policy. 

Ready to make your cabin pet friendly? Give us a call! We’ll take care of all the details to ensure you have the most success! Want more information before partnering with us? Get a FREE rental estimate first.