Who doesn't love a dog!?... well... a property owner perhaps?
Should we allow dogs? Should we not? What are the advantages? What are the risks? What are the protections? We have a lot of questions! Let's dig in!
(Clarifying note: when we say "pets" it's really "dogs". No one is bringing their cats. Cats stay at home and are just fine. Dogs are the family members that are in question!)
Should we allow pets?
Before we get into that, there are certain cases where we have to allow a dog, and this is when it's a service dog. Based on state regulations and airbnb's policies, if someone is bringing a service animal they are allowed to, they do not need to notify us, and unfortunately we have no say in the matter. This is quite rare, but does happen on occasion.
- Please note that "service" animals and "support" animals are different. We cannot discriminate against a guest when they are bringing a service animal (think: seeing eye dog) but as a host we do have the ability to refuse a guest with a support aninal (think: emotional support animal for anxiety).
When someone asks us if they can bring a pet, the unspoken answer is normally "maybe". Some homeowners are allergic and some HOA's don't allow them (Blue Heron) so if you're allergic or have a home in Blue Heron you can stop reading now. Bye! As for everyone else, we can break down our philosophy.
The Pet Pro's:
- Competitive Advantage - 90%+ of homes in the Poconos do not allow pets, so you will be offering something many other homeowners do not!
- More Money - This niche/competitive advantage can lead to more money since you are appealing to a broader audience.
The Pet Con's:
- Wear and Tear - sure, if one person brings a pet it won't be a big deal. But if you put yourself in a position to allow pet then you'll be constantly appealing to pet travelers, and that consistent wear and tear can add up lead to more replacements, fix up jobs, deep cleanings, etc.
- Alienate the core audience - many guests may not stay in homes that allow pets, either for allergy or smell reasons.
It's to allow pets... sometimes. What does that mean?
- Advertise as "no pets" - We mark the listing as now allowing pets. This way, we don't show up for it in searches
- Make exceptions on a case by case basis - it's quite common someone will LOVE your home, but they want to bring a dog, and will ask for permission to do so. In these cases, we will evaluate if it is worthwhile to take the risk based on the following criteria
- Is it high revenue? Is the booking for a large sum of money?
- Would these dates normally book? Is it a last minute stay on a un-booked weekend? Is it a mid-week stay that wouldn't normally book?
Another instance where it may be beneficial to allow pets is during the slow season or if your home need a bit of a bump in getting bookings. If you have a 5 bedroom chalet on the water, you may not need to manufacture the demand in allow a pet, but if you have a cozy 3 bedroom home back in the woods, you may wish to allow pets (albeit seasonally) to help boost performance!
When We Allow Pets:
If we believe that this would be worthwhile to accept, we will then gather the following information from the guest...
- Breed and Size - we will ask for these details from the guest
- Unattended - will your dog be unattended at any time? If so, does your dog tend to bark? (important especially when neighbors are close by)
Once gathered, we will reach out to the homeowner with the following information to see if they would like to accept the booking
- Dates of reservation
- Gross Revenue
- Breed and Size of Dog
- Our Recommendation - if we believe it would be wise
If agreed upon, we will accept the booking and share with the guest our pet policies, which include...
- Crated when unattended - we don't want walls being scratched, hidden pee spots, etc.
- Leashed when taken outside - Bears/Deer are real
- Clean up if accidents happen - we have cleaning materials on-hand. Please let your dog our frequently, but if there is an accident please promptly clean.
Pet Fee: We do charge the renters $50/pet, an amount in which gets passed back to our cleaners, so the Pet "Fee" is very much a passthrough and not a profit center for the homeowners. The advantage is getting a booking that you would not normally get!