In our previous post, Considering Pets in Vacation Rentals, we mainly discussed the risks involved in accepting pets into your vacation rental home.
But here’s some advice for those of you who, like me, are willing to consider allowing pets.
Before we start, though, here’s something to consider when you’re making the “Do I/ or Don’t I?” decision.
The “Pets considered” option is fairly popular with vacationers, ranking 5th in popularity of non-location-related amenities (after washer/dryer, A/C, porch/deck/patio, cable TV, and Internet). The end result is that the supply vs. demand ratio is definitely greater from vacationers for pet friendly homes than there is a supply of them. Thus, offering a “pet friendly” home definitely increases its marketability.
If you are willing to accept pets, these are some of the options for you to consider:
- Charge a refundable deposit: The amount tends to be anywhere between $50 and $200. Like the regular security deposit, this would be returned to the vacationer after their departure, provided there was no damage incurred by the pet.
- Charge a non-refundable fee: Again, the amount tends to be anywhere between $50 and $200. Obviously, this is more aggressive, but there are many vacationers who would be willing to pay a non-refundable fee in order to have the dog with them and avoid kennel fees.
- Allow them for free – This is the option I use because I feel that the rewards of good will and gratitude from the vacationer can be of greater value than a fee or deposit – and it’s one less thing for me to deal with!
Similar to the issue of charging an extra fee for cleaning, it’s our experience that vacationers who pay extra for a service (pets or linens, for example) feel more entitled to take advantage of the situation. In other words, they feel they’ve paid extra for something, so they don’t need to be as careful about cleaning (or cleaning up after) as they would if the homeowner had been generous in including that service for free.
That’s why I opt for the third choice. I tend to hem and haw a bit when asked by a vacationer if they can bring their dog, just to convey a sense of reluctance. And then, when I “cave in,” the vacationers are SO grateful and so conscientious about picking up after the dog. It gives me a bit of an edge. So far, doing so hasn’t been a problem, and I’ve been renting without a dog-related incident for many years.
Like many vacation rental-related issues, there’s no right or wrong decision about accepting pets. It really depends on your specific home and its setting: How “dog-proof” is it? Are there neighbors close by who could be affected? Are all the beaches near you public and don’t allow dogs? Do you have a dog yourself who frequents the home, say, during turnovers?
Lastly, be sure to send any vacationers coming with dogs to our Family Vacations with Pets article, written specifically for vacationers. It lists dog-friendly beaches, trails, and parks across Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Do you accept pets and have any advice you’d like to share?