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!
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.
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]