Y’all may love your pets, and that’s fine. However, for some folks (including my spouse), pet allergies are a real pain when it comes to booking hotel rooms. Here’s the problem: so‑called “pet-friendly” hotels will proudly advertise that fact, whereas hotels that don’t allow pets tend to bury that info in their policies page. Seems that, in the hotel business, the dictum “never tell the customer no” is always in force — even when certain customers (again my spouse) would benefit by being told so up front.
A brief aside. By law, service dogs have free access to hotels, and hotels cannot ask guests with service dogs to pay room-cleaning fees. So, when one is searching for a hotel room, neither the absence of a pet-friendly badge nor the presence of a service-dog-only policy means much to an allergy sufferer. Nothing guarantees the searcher that any given room was not most-recently occupied by Fur-Flying Fido, shedding whatever bio-bits that Fido had a federally-protected right to shed and the hotel has no federal obligation to clean up.
And the designation “pet-friendly” is itself ambiguous. Does it mean the hotel not only welcomes pets but charges a low cleaning fee (or none at all) when pets stay in your room? Or does it mean the hotel has no designated pet-free rooms? Or that the hotel makes no extra effort to clean rooms where pets have stayed?
I have a sneaking suspicion (aren’t all suspicions of that kind?) that the extent to which a hotel room is cleaned has zero correlation with either the presence/absence of a pet or the pet-friendliness of the hotel or the size of any room-cleaning fee. Those who know better may correct me if I’m wrong, but my guess is, you get what you get. And what you will get if the hotel has a no-pet policy or charges more than a nominal cleaning fee are guests who sneak their dogs and cats into their rooms anyway and then lie about it.
So what can one do? My spouse and I were discussing this the other evening while I was searching for (you guessed it) a pet-free hotel in north Ohio. To make things easier in my searches, I have been bookmarking pet-free hotels in a folder named No Pet Hotels and — so I don’t waste time on them — the pet-friendly hotels in a folder named Pet Hotels XXX. (Which is not the name of an adult film, shame on you.)
Wouldn’t it be easier, we said to each other, if there were a way to filter searches so that only pet-free hotels pop up? Inspired, I did a Google search for “pet free hotels” and while I got lots of results for hotels where pets stay free, I found no results for no-pet hotels.
That got us to thinking (always a dangerous thing) that some website should fill this void. It could be called petfreehotels.com. Or, just to be safe, petfreehotel.com. So, in a giddy, pre-millenium thought-spark of how anything is possible on the internet, we decided to buy both those domains for $15 a year each. I admit, I was surprised they were available.
So now we have a domain, and its alternate spelling, just begging for a website that fulfills the promise of its name. It’s a quandary. If I were an entrepreneur, I might contact all the major hotel chains, inform them that I’m the owner of petfreehotels.com and that I will list their pet-free hotels on my site in exchange, of course, for an annual per-hotel listing fee. But I am not an entrepreneur and never have been. The non-entrepreneur in me tells me to run a site where volunteers add their own pet-free hotel information and I take it upon myself to organize it all and figure out how to make it show up in search engines and run a few ads to try to pay for it. That would serve the purpose but… is that my mission in life?
And, even if I were successful, wouldn’t I be quickly co-opted by TripAdvisor?
Sounds like you’re sitting on a great get-rich-quick scheme, Craig! :) I like it!
People don’t understand that FIDO does not want to go to a damn hotel!
I was a travel agent for 30 years. I’m very allergic to animals. I would very much like this website to exist. At the very least, you could set up a data base for people to add pet free hotels to your list… organized by country and city..
In the past, I’ve done hotel searches on expedia, parsed and downloaded the available hotels into an excel sheet, then repeated the same search using ‘allows pets’. then whatever hotel was not on the allows pets list, is probably a hotel that doesnt take pets.