Many challenges faced the whole world, including the tourism and hotel industry during the pandemic. Some changes have accelerated, and some new needs have appeared.
Having a marketing strategy for pet-friendly travel isn’t new, but we really underestimated the lengths travelers will go to with their pets and how the trend will grow.
According to Rover research, 10% have hidden their dog in their luggage to sneak it into a hotel and 3% have tried to disguise their dog as a baby when boarding a plane.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) found that more than a fifth of American households adopted a pet during the pandemic. Accordingly, the global pet services market size is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.1% from USD 23 billion in 2022 to USD 30 billion in 2030.
This shift in the market provides destination marketing organizations with an opportunity to appeal to travelers with pets who may not have otherwise considered the destination. Introducing unique events and activities, pet-friendly amenities, and essential services can help position a destination as pet-friendly.
In addition, data published by Pet Product News suggests that the demographics of pet owners include more women, wealthier, older and educated.
Marketing growth should be taken advantage of by rethinking marketing strategy and tactics for pet-friendly travel.
Targeting travelers with pets
The unique disposition and the low level of necessary care equipment make dogs the most popular companion pets. PBS, a UK-based travel agency that specializes in pet travel, found that dogs make up 58% of pet travel. Cats were close behind, accounting for 22% of pet trips, with birds in third place.
Reaching potential visitors who are researching dog-friendly destinations starts with the phrase “dog friendly.” Google’s Keyword Planner reported that the term “dog friendly” had a 24-month peak in April 2022 with 174% year-over-year growth.
The most popular terms that include the phrase “dog friendly” read like they came from a travel digital marketing agency’s handbook: dog friendly hotels, dog friendly accommodation, dog friendly beach near me for dogs near me), etcDeveloping a travel SEO strategy or travel search marketing campaign around these types of terms can reach high-intent travelers looking for their next adventure.
Users researching their travels with their pets are looking for ideas on how to spend time with their pets. Researching pet-friendly activities, events, services and locations and then presenting them in travel format is exactly what Pet Travel Advisor offers.
Reach the local population and stimulate new markets
Rover research found that 37% of dog owners skipped a holiday to stay with their dog, and 38% drove instead of flying to their destination.
It is important to encourage local tourist organizations to promote the destination as pet-friendly, thereby providing support for the development of platforms and arrangements that make it easier for dog owners to find facilities and complete their vacation or short trip.
Marketing of influential pets – influencers
Pet content is among the most popular types of content on social media. It seems like everyone loves a cute pet or one that can do a clever trick, which explains why there are dogs that have millions of followers.
Unlike traditional influencers, pets can inject positive emotions in a way that humans may not. Using an influencer as a pet can better show the benefits of a destination and cause engagement and consideration.
Explore Georgia successfully ran a social media campaign that included not only pet influencers, but also general visitors who brought their pets with them.
CrowdRiff reported that the #ExloreGeorgiaPup campaign only reached 1.1 million impressions on Facebook with an engagement rate of 2.3%, as well as an average of 2.15% engagement on pet-related tweets.
The increased rate of pet ownership since the start of the pandemic in 2020 will have a lasting impact on the market and demand. Destinations that can be positioned as pet-friendly for travelers will have an advantage in creating a new niche.