Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pets By Arrangement

One difference between motels/hotels in the USA and New Zealand that fascinates me is the attitude of towards accepting guests with pets.

According to an article in, "It’s now possible to take pets along to almost any city or resort in North America and find a range of pet-friendly accommodations."

The same could probably not be said for New Zealand. There is a huge market in the States that travel with pets. According to a recent study by the (US) Travel Industry Association, nearly 65 percent of Americans reported traveling with their pets and a whooping 29 percent of them stayed in a hotel or motel.

In America this month, Motel 6 with more than 1,000 properties across the United States, announced its partnership with the Cat Fanciers’ Association to offer registered cat owners a discounted price. Can you imagine a similar announcement by an accommodation chain in New Zealand?

In New Zealand it is an accepted that the majority of commercial accommodation refuse to allow pets with the obvious exception to seeing/hearing guide dogs. However the AA Accommodation Guide, lists over 70 properties that offer "pets by arrangement". A quick scan of the properties that offer this service indicate to me are probably not the most desirable accommodation options available. In fact it could be argued that any directory of accommodation that advertises "pets by arrangement" could be used as an indication of where not to stay!

So, whats wrong with pets staying in motels etc in New Zealand? There is a school of thought that pets are probably a more desirable guest than most children and some adults! This is a strong argument. However there are genuine concerns about allergies, pet hair and hygiene. In our opinion the major concern is that the majority of guests that choose to stay in commercial accommodation of a reasonable standard are more comfortable in the knowledge that animals were not housed in the same unit before them.

As demonstrated in America, there is obviously a large "guest with pet" market potential and as the guest market shrinks, it will be interesting to see if more commercial accommodation operators will offer "pets by arrangement" - we won't be one of them.

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