Due to the popularity of pet travel, tourism boards have launched pet friendly campaigns, such as Visit North Carolina’s ‘Dog Travel Agent.’ Mo, a rescue floofer who provides travel advice and tips for visitors and their pups from a canine perspective on a dedicated website (www.dogtravelagent.com). The site is an excellent resource for finding the most pet-friendly hotels, parks, trails, breweries, restaurants and attractions in the state.
While the pandemic took a toll on travel, positive changes emerged. For one, during the pandemic, there was a significant surge in pet adoption. Shelter Animals Count (www.shelteranimalscount.org), which runs a database that tracks shelter and rescue activity, recorded 26,000 more pet adoptions in 2020 than the year before (across 500 rescue organizations around the country), with the national pet adoption rate jumping 34 percent over the same time a year earlier. This means more pet owners will hit the road, and travel brands will continue to meet demands and offer more pet-friendly experiences.
There was also a significant surge in pet travel bookings. Booking.com found that the use of the ‘pet friendly’ filter had doubled since the beginning of travel restrictions. In Booking.com’s Travel Predictions 2020, 49% survey respondents said they’d be willing to pay more to stay at an accommodation that’s pet friendly, and 55 percent said their pet was as important as their children.
A growing trend for pet travel is with families. A representative at Vrbo (www.vrbo.com), a vacation rental company, told PASSPORT they’ve seen a 70% increase in families traveling with pets compared to the same period in 2019. The company now offers a pet-friendly search option (www.vrbo.com/travel/pet-friendly) on its site.
Due to the pandemic, road trips have risen in demand. The New York Times famously reported the high shortage of rental cars after the pandemic, meaning more travelers are hitting the road, a great way to get around traveling with a dog who may not enjoy flights, and also a trend Kimpton has been reporting.
“Over the past year, as we’re all spending more and more time with our families, we’re seeing our guests coming from a short driving distance and all traveling together, four-legged friends included,” says Gregory. “And, despite the challenges of the past year, Kimpton continues to grow and bring our pet-friendly policy to new markets and new guests. We’ve recently opened new hotels in Miami, Florida; Bozeman, Montana; Dallas, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We’re thrilled to be a pet-owner’s choice and know that our teams are well-prepared to make the entire family’s stay a memorable one.”