"Friend Friendly" Hotel Phenomenon Boon To Small Dogs

NYTimes reports: hotels are increasingly advertising themselves as “pet friendly,” but many put restrictions on the size of the dogs they accept.

27adco01-190A couple of decades ago only a few chains, including Motel 6 and Kimpton, accepted pets, but with dogs increasingly considered part of the family, many now do. The number may grow: hotels are expecting even more pets this summer, with car vacations sparing both airfare and kennel fees.

Now, even hotels that restricted pets in the past want to market themselves as pet-friendly. To attract their share of animal lovers, some hotels are taking out ads on Web sites like Petswelcome.com, Dogfriendly.com, and Petfriendlytravel.com.

Petswelcome.com, where travelers book pet-friendly hotels online, draws about 120,000 unique visitors a month, according to Chris Kingsley, who started the site in 1997.

Hotels pay a per-property fee of $150 annually to be listed on the site, with a bulk discount for chains listing multiple properties. More than 30 chains advertise on the site, including Best Western, Holiday Inn, La Quinta, Motel 6 and Red Roof Inn.

The W Hotels chain markets itself as dog-friendly, offering room service for dogs and “Yappy Hours” — mixers open to nonguests and their dogs. (The chain has a weight restriction, generally 40 pounds, but Carlos Becil, a W Hotels vice president, said the policy was flexible, and in place partly to prompt guests to broach the subject and reserve a big enough room for larger breeds.).

Loews Hotels have no weight limit, said Emily Goldfischer, a spokeswoman.

The company’s pet-friendly promotions include dog “learning vacations,” like Su’ruff Camp at Loews Coronado Bay in California, where dogs staying at the hotel learn to surf.