kinds of drugs and its side effects

Dogs Make Great Guests, Says a Former Hotel GM

It’s always dangerous to comment on my blog (though not in a creepy or bodily injury kind of way). Say something that piques my interest — especially if it’s funny — and I’m likely to ask you to guest blog about it. That’s precisely what happened to Juliette Morgan, who wrote, “I’m an ex hospitality G.M. so I know dogs cause far less disruption and damage in hotels than either a) children or b) drunken individuals!” — thus proving my point in 9 Things That Make a Hotel Genuinely Pet Friendly that two St. Bernards would be far better hotel guests than Charlie Sheen.

Anyway…. I immediately emailed Juliette and invited her to elaborate on her statement. And she was nice enough to oblige.

***

With more than 25 years and 10,000 bed nights experience behind me in the hospitality industry, I’ve seen thousands of guests — men, women, kids and dogs —  pass through my care. I have met some interesting people along the way, enjoyed my hotel work and had some great times too.  I have to say 95% of those guests were a pleasure to be hospitable to, but the other 5%… Well, I would have gladly paid them to pack their bags and check out!

The worst category of unwelcome hotel guest has to be the violent drunk or just plain drunk.  He — sorry but usually it is ‘he’ — generally  can be spotted at the weekend, always at the bar, sometimes alone propping up the bar until he decides to give the bar person a smack when further alcohol is refused. Sometimes he’s with his other half, staggering to bed for a session of domestic abuse, possibly involving trashing the hotel room, but certainly disturbing other guests.  At best a drunk will leave his mark by simply leaving a disgusting mess (or several) for some poor housekeeper to clean up.

Parents who allow their kids to behave badly in hotels have to come high on the unwelcome list too, as well as irresponsible parents.  Ever wondered why some hotels do not accept under 12s?  Would you check into a hotel with a 7-year-old child, and go out for an entire day, leaving the child unattended?  It happens, and in one case with a particularly naughty child!

Dougie, the author's dog. Who wouldn't want him for a guest?

Now V.I.P.s — Very Important Pooches — are a different story!  In all my time, I’ve never had any problems with dogs staying in hotels. There have been no complaints from housekeeping departments about messes, no dogs running wild in the hotel, no attacks on staff, no disturbed nights due to barking and no damaged rooms caused by dogs.

Also, most important of all, no complaints from other guests.

Some of the nicest guests I’ve met are dog owners and their doggies (maybe I’m a bit biased as a dog owner myself!).  People who bring their dogs to hotels tend to be considerate, responsible people on the whole, which makes sense: if they were not, they could just leave their dog anywhere.

I also detected a distinct sense of gratitude from these guests, who were grateful that they were allowed to bring their dog!  I found myself feeling the same way only a few weeks ago when staying in a city hotel with my husband and dog. Now when I was a hotel GM, neither I nor any of my staff ever wanted to make hotel guests with dogs feel that they should be grateful. They just were — as I was recently.

With the hotel industry having been hit severely by the poor economic climate in the past few years, hotel Sales and Marketing gurus have had to become more inventive and tap hard into every market they could possibly attract.  Only this week on Dogtipper.com I read a report indicating that 12% of money spent on dogs overall per annum will be in the travel sector, including people taking their dogs with them on holiday to hotels that cater for their dog’s needs.  The smart hotels have woken up to this not insignificant demand, with proactive marketing to dog owners and specific dog facilities being offered.

Other hotels, not the brightest of the pack, do not publish a ‘no dogs’ policy but sit quietly on the subject and wait to be trained. They put the potential guest in the uncomfortable position of having to enquire – never a good ploy!

As for those hotels that do maintain a strict ‘no dogs’ policy — why?  You can’t tell me my experience with doggie guests is not typical. This is an outdated view that such hotels need to address unless they want to turn away a large chunk of business to their competitors.

I would suggest that next time you find a hotel you would have loved to stay in if only they accepted dogs, don’t just say ok and move on to look for a second choice hotel. Ring them up or email them and tell them why you are not booking with them  in a polite, nice way – it is no good getting in a debate with them! It may or may not help you there and then but if enough people do this, it will help all pet owners in the long run.

***

The lovely and hospitable Juliette Morgan

Bio: I’m an ex-hospitality professional GM in the hotel industry, having worked for Marriott Hotels and several exclusive country house hotels in England and Scotland.

4 years ago, when I was 45, I met my husband, married and gave up my stressful but enjoyable career to move to The Lake District, Cumbria, in the U.K. – a whole change of lifestyle at once.  It was no longer just me and Dougie (my Westie) but a new husband, a new home and no job to go to!

This gave me time to do more of the things I enjoy, like walking on the beach, biking with my dog and go out boating at weekends, cooking and just spending precious time with my loved ones.

Eventually I fancied some work, so I set up some doggie websites:  edoglifejacket.com and edoglifejacket.co.uk are for doggies who like to go to the beach or on boats with loads of excellent – (that’s what the ‘e’ in edog stands for) doggy products, such as doggy water toys and of course dog life jackets. At eharnessesfordogs.co.uk you can get all types of harnesses for dogs, dog collars and leads and bling personalized dog collars for your kuchi pucci!

Combining my love of dogs with business is very enjoyable and Dougie gets to try out lots of new products and get his pic taken, which he loves!

I came across Edie through her book about Frankie last year and visited her blog and am delighted to have been asked to guest blog here. [Editor’s note: I did not make Juliette say this or put it in myself]

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27 Comments

  1. Posted February 15, 2011 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    I guess one of the reasons we never travel unless we can camp is because I just assume finding a hotel with our dog would be impossible. But I never thought I had the power to question this idea. Which is silly. Of course I do! I am a money-holding consumer after all. If a hotel doesn’t allow dogs then instead of just nodding and walking away, or cancelling plans or not creating said plans in the first place, I need to be brave and stand up for myself and other dog owners who would like to travel. How are hotels going to change unless people like me suggest it would be a good idea? Perhaps if they knew how much they stand to gain by allowing animals, many more would adopt more friendly policies.

    Such a simple thought but until now I never realised there was anything I could do. Thanks!

  2. Posted February 15, 2011 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Oh, you bet, change can happen. While this was not a motel, when I was negotiating for my apartment in MT, my landlord did not want pets. I had 3 adult cats and no children – I pointed out to him the litter box trained cats would be much less a cause for damage than children. He, having both a cat and a dog, changed his mind and rented to me a lovely, newly redone apartment. I do make it very clear, if I check in and they have a no pets policy, that I will not stay and why; then I find a motel who is pet friendly, whether or not I have a pet with me.

  3. Posted February 15, 2011 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Thank you Juliette and Edie for such a great post. I’ve always wondered if dogs in rented houses or hotels really caused all the problems strict policies seem to indicate are likely.

    For example, is there really a difference between a 39 pound dog and a 40 pound dog as far as a hotel is concerned? And is an extra cleaning deposit really necessary?

    I always assumed my suspicion that drunken yahoos cause more problems than dogs was because I’m a close-minded bigot–the kind of person who prefers dogs to drunken yahoos. But Juliette indicates that maybe I’m not so far off.

    I’ve been thinking of renting my house out for local Ivy League Universities graduation weekend. People in my neighborhood make $1000 a weekend. And I was thinking I should rent my house as being dog-friendly. But the rules I face when I rent a house with my dog make me wonder about just what’s going on. Am I likely to come home to ruined wood work and stained carpets? Or is that just paranoia?

    Anyway, if you have any friends who rent their houses to pet guardians, I’ve love to see that in a post or your upcoming book.

  4. Posted February 15, 2011 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Hi Juliette, so nice to meet you HERE 🙂

    You make a great point about (unnecessarily) feeling grateful when a hotel lets you bring your dog along. It’s so hard to find a pet friendly place here, especially willing to take BigDogs, that we can’t help but feel grateful. I find myself always cleaning up after the dogs (OMG, is that a hair on the rug?) and am eager to leave the room/house spotless, just so I can be sure I’ll be allowed back the next time. What human guests would go to all that trouble, I wonder?

    Here’s a thought – all of us sensible people should get together and start up some Real DogHotels!

  5. Posted February 15, 2011 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    I’m glad to see this post and the related one preceeding it. I’m part of a dog-oriented group of individuals who is meeting up for the first time in Niagara Falls (Canada side) this summer. Many are having to travel with their dogs, and we’re not expecting it to be easy to find a hotel/motel to accommodate!

    • Posted February 15, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      If you can swing it, your best bet is to band together and negotiate a stay for a large group at a pet friendly hotel. (Try Expedia.com for finding one) Dog show committees do this for darn near every show they put on and often we all pay less in “pet fees” by making them our “Official” hotel for the show. Everybody who needs as room calls and says they are with the show and they get a discount of some kind. It’s a win-win b/c the hotel is guaranteed more business and the group gets to enjoy less headache and better rates.

    • Posted February 15, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Traveling with dogs doesn’t have to be difficult – that was the purpose for starting GoPetFriendly.com. All the hotels (more than 25,000 in the US and Canada) on GoPetFriendly are … you guessed it … PET FRIENDLY! And, we have collected detailed pet policies (something Expedia doesn’t offer). Without having to track down the hotel’s pet policy online or make a dozen phone calls you’ll know all about additional fees, weight restrictions, limits on the number of dogs that can join you – even if you’ll end up in a smoking room and if the pet may be left alone in the room.

      Once you’ve found a place to sleep, check out local restaurants, wineries, dog parks, beaches and lots of other activities that you and your pet can enjoy together. Our goal is to make traveling with your pet fun and easy. We hope you have a great time in Niagara Falls. (Side note: Ontario has a breed ban on Pit bulls. If any members of your group are traveling with a dog that is crossed with or even looks like a pit, I’d suggest taking a close look at those restrictions. Dogs can be confiscated and killed in the province.)

      • Posted February 17, 2011 at 6:35 am | Permalink

        To date, I have not found a hotel in a search for any of the places/cities I have stayed on Go Pet Friendly. I do hope that eventually the site can reach the functionality of a site like Expedia, because I will most certainly choose to use an all pet friendly site, but as of yet the site is not useful for me.

        Fact is, there are A LOT of pet friendly hotels out there. I have never not had a number of hotels to chose from when I have traveled.

  6. Posted February 15, 2011 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Really interesting to read about pet travel from someone who has experience in the hotel industry! When I was younger, we always brought our two dogs with us on the rare occasions we needed to book a hotel (my parents weren’t big travelers, other than to see family). We had a chihuahua and a toy fox terrier – some hotels were great about it, others not so much. But I think Juliette’s point is a great one – people who care enough to bring their pets to the hotel with them probably aren’t usually the type to leave their dogs just anywhere and will be fairly responsible guests. I know we were always really grateful to have our dogs with us, and didn’t want to cause any problems. I often see parents who I wish would take more responsibility for their kids as they run around and create havoc in restaurants and hotels!

  7. Posted February 15, 2011 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    First of all, I hope parents who leave a seven-year-old unattended all day are reported to the police. That’s child abandonment, and I have no words. None.

    I have to be honest– I would never consider travelling with Our Best Friend. My friend’s Morkie would just climb into his carrier and sleep the day away, leaving not even a hair on the rug– but I suspect OBF would bark non-stop if left alone in a strange hotel room all day. He might even poop out of anxiety. That’s not fair to the hotel or the next guests.

    My husband is violently allergic to cats, to the point where he once needed emergency room treatment after over-exposure. If the room is improperly vacuumed, it could be a health risk for the next client. So if a hotel does allow pets, it should have a strict cleaning protocol in place, even if the room doesn’t look like it needs it. Some rooms should be set aside as “pet-free,” just as they have “smoke-free” rooms (or floors!), for those whose sensitivities might be triggered.

    And just FYI, Juliette, the Marriott is definitely one of my favourite chains. Those beds…. mmmm…. 🙂

  8. Posted February 15, 2011 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Having recently gotten into the dog show world, we travel and stay in hotels a lot. I’ve yet to be unable to find a hotel to stay at wherever we go, so those dreading having to find a hotel – don’t get too concerned just yet.

    I must express my kuddos to Expedia.com. I ALWAYS use Expedia to find my hotel/car/flights because their website specifically features a button I can click to search for only “pets allowed” hotels. I have to believe that somebody is looking at the searches on that site and seeing the number of people who check that box on their search. (Wishful thinking?) Either way, I’m happy to give Expedia my business because they make it so easy for me to find a hotel.

    I do find that letting a hotel know why you are choosing not to stay with them is a fantastic idea, and in the future if I do run across such a situation I will be sure to make my voice heard. I just don’t come across it much because I don’t even look at the hotels who aren’t interested in MY business. 🙂

  9. Posted February 15, 2011 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    This was really interesting 🙂

  10. Posted February 15, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful post, Juliette. Thank you Edie for inviting her.

    I must say I’m not surprised by Juliette’s experience with dogs and their people in her hotels. My folks have two Yorkies. Next time they come to visit I’m going to make it clear to the two top hotels in Boulder my parents are NOT staying at, that the reason they are losing business is because of their no-dog policy. In fact, I can see a way to take this one step further. Even if I’m not traveling with Sadie, I can still seek out pet-friendly hotels and tell them why I’d rather stay with them than in a hotel that doesn’t accept dogs.

    • Posted February 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Deborah – I love you! Thanks so much for choosing pet friendly hotels, even when you’re not traveling with Sadie. We vote with our dollars and supporting the businesses that support our relationships with our pets is the best way to show our appreciation.

  11. Posted February 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    First off, to Edie, two Rhinoceros would be better guests than Charlie Sheen!

    On to this post, I agree that if more people called up hotels and requested to bring their dogs, then hotels might be more agreeable. I too am in the camp of being very grateful and overly conscientious when we visit hotels with the dogs. I guess it’s because allowing dogs is a privilege that can easily be revoked if dog owners create problems for the hotel. Just as I’ve seen too many times when beaches, parks and hiking trails are suddenly off limits to dogs because of negative incidents, when we are allowed, we’re so happy and grateful that we make sure we are good ambassadors.

  12. Posted February 15, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    I am actually planning a cross country trip between Florida and California with my two dogs. Am I crazy? Well, yes, but I hope we can make it fun. Problem is finding not only pet-friendly hotels, but a pet-friendly moving truck. Impossible. I find dog travel in particular a real issue. Why aren’t there more pet-friendly vehicles, moving truck, etc., etc.???? Well, I hope my experience will help others. But I have so much work to do. Thanks for this article though, it gives me some great suggestions.

    • Posted February 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Hi Rachael. I’m sorry I can’t help with the pet friendly moving truck, but I hope our road trip planner might make your cross-country trip easier and more fun. You can locate hotels, restaurants, dog parks and even beaches along your route! Here’s a link: http://www.gopetfriendly.com/RoadTripPlanner.aspx I hope it helps – good luck with your trip!

  13. Edie Jarolim
    Posted February 15, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for coming by, Amy — I couldn’t possibly have done justice to all the information you have on your site!

    Pamela, you’ve now given me a mission — strong arming someone who has stayed with a pet in someone else’s home to do a guest post. But I can pretty much guarantee that it’s going to be no different from a stay in a hotel: I would imagine that what you face are scare tactics.

    I’m glad if this has encouraged even one person — hear that, Kristine — to travel with a pet, and if it has make the rest who have already do it feel a little less grateful, a little more vocal about our hospitality needs. We have pets and we spend money in hotels!

  14. Kelly
    Posted February 15, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    I’ve noticed the trend lately of hotels advertising that dogs were welcome. Great news for me as well. I have a little dog I wouldn’t care to board for several nights, although the place I board is also his Vet and Daycare when he needs to play with other’s for awhile. Or have my sister watch him, although she loves doing so, I feel like I’m imposing. We already spent a day with a visiting friend at a hotel, and the personnel had no problem, and we booked at a rustic cabin last summer–just $25 extra.
    I’ve noticed airlines and airports becoming more pet friendly, too. Jakey would fit easily in a carrier I could fit under the seat, and I was recently at an airport that had a doggy lounge. I saw several people with their pets in the terminal,and these weren’t working dogs.Both pets and their peoples have been very well behaved.

  15. Posted February 16, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Hi Y’all,

    I’ve traveled for years with dogs in both the US and Canada. We’ve always had a retriever. Although more hotels now accept dogs than did back in the 70’s, 80’s etc…it is still difficult to find a truly pet friendly hotel that accepts large retriever, or larger. I get so excited thinking I’ve found a place to stay and they won’t accept dogs over “x lbs”.

    My husband has gotten so he doesn’t enjoy hotels anymore. They often stick people with dogs in smoking rooms which have an obnoxious odor. Many ocean front hotels won’t allow dogs, especially large ones because they have no place for people to walk them. The bigger the dog the more they charge…but if it’s a kid…kids stay free!

    There are people out there who aren’t responsible parents of little humans or of pets. They cause a problem for all of us who do act responsibly. Just as we make inroads into expanding places to enjoy with our pets, one that was available is closed to pets.

    Thanks for another great post…great to get an innkeepers point of view!

    BrownDog’s Momma

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 16, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for coming by. I hope you’ll tell those places that have restrictive — or obnoxious — pet policies what you think of them!

      • Rebecca Boren
        Posted February 17, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know about pet-friendly moving van rentals, but a solution to part of Rachael’s dilemma might be found in an RV. I found it very easy to rent an RV that allowed pets when I needed to move two dogs and two cats the 1500 miles to Tucson, AZ (Just try figuring out the logistics of doing that on an airplane), from Seattle, WA. As I recall, I paid an extra $500 deposit, but the dogs loved the trip (the cats, not so much!). By the time we stopped at a campground the first night (and yes, almost all allowed pets — only one where the owner wanted to meet the dogs before okaying them), my pups had already figured out the protocol of wearing leashes when they left the vehicles — and which was their hotel on wheels to return to.
        I figured I actually saved money, and, besides, I had time to kill before the moving van with all my furniture got to the new house. RV on scenic route beat waiting in a hotel, I thought.
        The only hiccup came in Las Vegas. A check-engine light began (unnecessarily) flashing, and my driver wanted to stop at a sister RV rental place. We did, and the woman working the desk spotted the pups and informed us that pets were NOT allowed on one-way rentals. So what were we supposed to do, send them off to the freeway on-ramp with little “Tucson or Bust” hitchiking signs? I think I just told her I had paid a deposit, and the place where I had rented the RV had been totally aware it was for a move. And left.
        PS When I rescued mini schnauzers, I found they loved RV travel — so much that one rescue used to tow me over to any RV he spotted (there are plenty in Tucson) in apparent hope we would hop in and hit the road!

        • Edie Jarolim
          Posted February 17, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

          Funny you should mention RVs! I’ve always thought they were the best way to travel with dogs, and I just asked Rod Burkert, who travels with his wife Amy and two dogs for their GoPetFriendly.com site, to write a guest post on RVs for me.

  16. Posted February 22, 2011 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    I don’t travel much anymore but when I do I always travel with dogs and I always stay in hotels. Nice hotels.

    Hotels on the high and low end of the price scale seem to be friendliest to dogs. I suppose those at the bottom end aren’t too worried about possible disruptions or damage and those at the high end assume that you’ve got the assets to pay for it.

    I’ve had good luck gaining access to hotels by calling the directly to make my reservation and telling the agent that I am a professional trainer traveling with three dogs and commiserate with them about problem guests. When I check in I usually bring at least two dogs with me and have them carry small bags or other items to the desk. Once the staff see that my dogs carry their own luggage while heeling politely through the lobby they’ve always let us in. Even when I had two enormous shaggy dogs at a hotel who’s posted policy was ‘no dogs over 15 lb’.

    Mindfulness and manners win *almost* every time.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 22, 2011 at 5:27 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure if dogs carrying luggage fall into the category of mindfulness and manners but you’ve hit on a great way to assure their entree (in case the polite booking call fails)! What a great story.

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Hotel Pet Policies: Clueless in SoCal on February 22, 2011 at 5:39 am

    […] week a longtime hotel GM provided first-hand testimony that dogs and their people make excellent guests. A few weeks before, I discussed — and got terrific feedback on — 9 Things that Make a […]

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