Tourism sector urged to adapt to the demands of travelers with dogs

The number of dogs in the UK is 11 million, with 29 percent of adults owning a pet dog.


28. December 2023.

In the United Kingdom alone, 29 percent of adults have at least one dog in their home. As many as 2020 million dogs have been purchased since March 4,1, bringing their population in the UK to around 11 million this year.

A recent study highlighted the motivations and behavioral tendencies of dog owners when it comes to traveling with their pets.

There is almost no owner who does not consider his pet a family member. When they want to go on vacation, many of them want to take their dog with them.

It is estimated that by 2030, traveling with pets will amount to $50,1 billion globally. However, many hotels and other accommodation facilities do not yet allow them to enter. The same phenomenon seems to be happening in Europe and the US. 

Huge potential

A team from the University of Surrey in Great Britain discovered the potential growing market dog friendly trips. They surveyed 611 owners online.

The researchers said that in the UK, the pandemic has led to an increase in pet dog ownership, creating a need for tourism providers to adapt.

Their study was recently published in Journal of Vacation Marketing under the title 'Social behavior of traveling with dogs: drivers, behavioral tendencies and experiences'. The team from Surrey set out to understand why people travel with their dogs, how they feel about it and what challenges they face in doing so. 

"Some reports put the UK dog population at 11 million, with 29 percent of UK adults having a dog in their home. So it's understandable that more and more people want to include their 'best friend' in their holiday plans. Tourism providers who embrace this trend will benefit significantly", he states Lori Hoy, researcher and lead author of the study.

"Understanding what influences the decision-making process of people who want to travel with their dogs will enable destinations, accommodation providers, attractions and carriers to offer dog-friendly services and communication channels that will resonate with this audience.", he adds.

It advises travel providers to provide clear, easily accessible information about their dog-friendly offerings, alleviate concerns and communicate how the travel experience will be enjoyable for both dogs and people.

Photo: Monty's Dog Beach
Photo: Monty's Dog Beach

Targeted marketing and clear communication

The research highlighted the motivation and behavioral tendencies of dog owners when it comes to traveling with pets. The study is based on four essential social perceptions, including the human-dog relationship, dog welfare beliefs, information gathering, and perceived risks. 

All of this significantly affects the owners' motivation and decision as they consider whether and where to spend their vacation funds.

Pet owners believe that a dog traveling with them on vacation is a happy dog ​​which has the greatest positive impact on their intention to travel. They state how it is obtaining information about dog-friendly travel had a significant impact on their motivation to travel as well as on the location and accommodation they searched for and later booked for their summer vacation.

Although perceived risks did not influence owners' intentions to travel with their pets, they did have a direct, negative impact on the final decision to travel. These risks include concerns about potential problems with transportation, lodging, and activities while traveling with dogs.

Hoy concluded that "accepting the approach towards dogs in tourism goes beyond mere tolerance". It's about creating a welcoming atmosphere and services tailored for the well-being of both dogs and their best friends.

This includes offering engaging activities, understanding dogs as sentient beings, and providing easily accessible information on dog-specific policies.

She emphasized that targeted marketing and clear communication about dog-friendly offerings are key. In this way, travel service providers can not only improve the experience for those traveling with pets, but also themselves position as truly pet-friendly destinations meeting the needs and expectations of both dogs and their owners.

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Cover photo: stock snap / pixabay



28. December 2023.