In Spanish homes there are already more pets than children. In 2021, the year in which the birth rate has registered its lowest figure in the last 80 years, the number of domestic animals rises to 13 million. For many people their pets are inseparable and therefore also travel companions, something that the hotel industry has already realized.
This is the case of Ruralka, the company that connects travelers and hotels to provide unique experiences. “The successful formula of quality proximity tourism, which adds nature and relaxation, has been extended to house pets as a trend in recent years, to such an extent that this variable is decisive to choose one trip or another or choose an accommodation from a wide range ”, acknowledges the company’s CEO, Rafael Ausejo.
In fact, among the different types of getaways that Ruralka offers, there is a section entirely dedicated to accommodations that accept pets. They are the ones that have been baptized as Pet Friendly Getaways. The result, according to Ausejo, has been a success: “The pandemic has awakened the need in us to share quality time with our people, including our pets, and to add quality experiences. Selling our Pet Friendly Getaway has risen to third place and we believe that it will continue to grow ”.
In addition to admitting them, these hotels have specific services for animals in order to facilitate their owners’ stay. Thus, some of Ruralka’s accommodations include special cleaning of the room, toys and food suitable for the pet, special routes or rooms prepared for them, with access to the garden or more secluded to ensure the rest of all guests. “An accommodation under the philosophy Pet Friendly You should dig deeper into the service to improve the user experience. Traveling today with your pet is a trend but in a few years we will see it as normal ”, warns Ausejo.
In the hotel group Accor has also been welcoming pets for more than 10 years And, according to the director of corporate social responsibility in southern Europe, Rebeca Ávila, this type of stay continues to increase in popularity. “Years ago, one of the most common dilemmas when buying or adopting a pet was, what will we do with it on vacation? For more than a decade, this dilemma has an easy solution: include it in travel plans, ”says Ávila.
For her, each animal is different, which means that standardized systems cannot be used, but the offer must be customized depending on the specific needs. “Small gestures make a difference. In tune with culture Heartist From Accor to give a warm welcome, each hotel chooses the best way to welcome four-legged friends. At Mercure Barcelona Cóndor, for example, they offer a bone to improve the oral health of dogs. At the ibis Zaragoza Centro and ibis budget Zaragoza, for their part, they give away a delicious bag of sweets as a gift upon arrival “, Explain.
There are hotels that even incorporate a solidarity component to the offer, such as the ibis Madrid Aeropuerto Barajas hotel. So far in 2021 alone, it has already received more than 400 dogs and cats who are given a complete batch made up of trinkets and a toy made by hand by the volunteers of the Perrigatos en Apuros Association. The money collected with each purchase made by the hotel, is used entirely to rescue abandoned animals and to pay vet bills, among others.
The main benefit of being able to travel with pets, Avila says, is for the animals themselves, who avoid having to stay alone at home or in a residence for dogs and cats. Of course, it recognizes that you have to be organized: “It forces you to review in advance the leisure and entertainment options available in the destination, in addition to favoring outdoor plans. On the other side of the coin is the fact that pets are often reluctant to change and, if they are not used to it, travel and new environments can cause stress ”.
From May to December 2020, adoption in shelters or shelters shot up between 30% and 50% compared to the same period in 2019, something that reflects that, after confinement, many people decided to put a dog or a cat in their homes. lives. According to Accor’s Rebecca Ávila, this is also evident in its hotels. “They are gradually recovering their usual occupation prior to the pandemic and, for now, so far in 2021, they have registered a considerable number of requests to stay with pets, similar to that of 2019,” he says.