If your holiday home is in a rural or coastal area with plenty of walking opportunities, or if you simply want to reach out to a wider market of potential guests, then it's well worth thinking about accepting pets at your holiday home.
Since January 2012, changes to legislation mean that all pet cats, dogs and ferrets can enter or re-enter the UK from any country in the world without quarantine provided they meet the rules of the PETS scheme. See the Directgov website for details of the scheme.
Before you market your holiday home as pet friendly, read our tips on preparing your property for four legged friends:
What are the benefits of accepting pets?
You'll be reaching out to a larger market that could include some people who holiday off peak, so this will increase your level of bookings. According to a poll by travelsupermarket.com, two in five Britons now take their pets on holiday so the potential market is definitely out there!
Less hassle than you think. It’s normal practice to charge £10-£20 per pet to cover additional cleaning and the provision of food/water bowls, etc. Just highlight the additional fee in your rates and booking contract.
Common worries and how to overcome them
Odours. If you ensure your home is well aired and provide a good quality vacuum cleaner and air fresheners, any odours will be reduced.
Hair. Pets will shed hair in your holiday home - another reason to invest in a powerful vacuum, but also determine house rules and request pets are kept off soft furnishings. Leave a powerful vacuum cleaner
in your holiday home so guests can hoover up as they go along.
Damage. Request that guests never leave dogs alone in your home and that they keep a close eye on them. Make sure that any fragile items are removed beforehand.
Fleas. The vast majority of responsible pet owners keep their pets free of fleas at all times. However, even with the best intentions it's possible that a pet could pick up fleas while at the beach or just out and about. Have some flea spray on hand at your home and let the holidaymakers know where to find it. Check your home when airing it between guests. Request guests to flea treat their animals before staying.
Is my holiday home suitable for pets?
Is there enough indoor space? Is there enough room in the kitchen/living room for a dog to lay down and for guests still to walk around easily?
Are the bedrooms and living areas separate? It will be difficult to make sure dogs are kept off beds if you have a studio apartment.
Have you considered putting a stair gate in to prevent dogs from going upstairs? Or in case the guests want to restrict pets to certain areas of the house whilst children or babies are playing on the floor elsewhere in the home.
Are you happy to remove any expensive/fragile furnishings?
If your holiday home is in a resort/complex, do the community rules allow pets on site?
Does your home have a secure, enclosed garden? Are there holes in hedges or fences where animals could escape? This is particularly important if the holiday home leads straight out onto a busy road or a field of sheep.
A doggie welcome pack. You could include some treats, a new hide bone and some tennis balls for a game of fetch.
Separate water and food bowls.
Waste bags for owners to clean up after their dogs. A shovel and a separate bin in the garden will also be appreciated.
Some old towels to protect carpets when dogs come in from a muddy walk.
Author: Kate, Customer communications executive.
Date: May 2012