Pet-Friendly Travel Marketing Strategy Trends
Having a pet-friendly travel marketing strategy is not new, but we’ve really underestimated the lengths travelers will go to with their pets and how the trend will be growing.
According to a Rover survey, 10% have hidden their dog in their luggage to sneak them into a hotel. Still, 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. Correspondingly, the global pet services market size is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.1% from $23 billion in 2022 to $30 billion in 2030.
This market change provides destination marketing organizations an opportunity to appeal to pet travelers who may not have otherwise considered your destination. Showcasing unique events and activities, pet-friendly amenities and basic car services can help position a destination as being “pet friendly.”
Additionally, data reported by Pet Product News suggests that pet owner demographics skew more female, affluent, older and educated.
Take advantage of the marketing growth by reconsidering your pet-friendly travel marketing strategy and tactics.
Target Dog Travel
The unique disposition and low level of necessary care equipment makes dogs the most popular travel companion pet. PBS, a UK-based travel agency that specializes in pet travel, found that dogs made up 58% of pet travel journeys. Cats were just behind, making up 22% of pet journeys, while third place was for birds.
Build Around Dog-Friendly Searches
Reaching potential visitors who are researching a destination’s amenities for dogs begins with the phrase “dog-friendly.” Google’s Keyword Planner reported the term “dog friendly” to have had a 24-month peak in April 2022 with 174% year-over-year growth.
The most popular terms that include the “dog-friendly” phrase read like they came right from travel digital marketing agency playbook:
- dog friendly hotels
- dog friendly accommodation
- dog friendly beach near me
- dog friendly lake near me
- dog friendly vacations
- dog friendly campsites
Create Dog-Friendly Itineraries
Users researching their trips with their pets are seeking ideas on how to spend their time with their pets. Researching pet-friendly activities, events, services and locations, and then presenting them in an itinerary format. This type of travel content marketing can help shortcut the research process for the searchers while highlighting the best of the destination.
Presenting brand-relevant itineraries built around seasons, popular destination holidays and trip lengths can add additional context for the user. More itineraries means more opportunities to feature stakeholders and pet-friendly amenities.
Reach Locals and Drive Markets
A pet-friendly strategy for destination marketing organizations should include reaching audiences that might be closer than traditionally visit the location. They might even be next door.
The Rover survey also found that 37% of dog owners had skipped vacation to stay with their dog and 38% had driven instead of flown to their destination.
Itineraries created with locals, day trippers and frequent travelers in mind can help showcase a different side of the destination. Additionally, developing recurring events built around dog participation can activate these audiences on a regular basis.
Pet Influencer Marketing
Pet content is among the most popular types of content on social media. Seemingly everyone loves a stinking cute pet or one that can do a clever trick, which explains why there are dogs that have millions of followers.
Not unlike a traditional influencer, these pet influencers can inject positive emotions in a way that humans may not be able to. Leveraging these pet influencer marketing can showcase your destination’s pet-related amenities, build brand impressions and generate both engagement and consideration.
Explore Georgia successfully ran a social media campaign that featured not just pet influencers, but also general visitors who brought along their pets. CrowdRiff reported that “the #ExploreGeorgiaPup campaign reached 1.1 million Facebook impressions alone with a 2.3% engagement rate, 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 consumer spending. Destinations that can position themselves as pet friendly to travelers will have a leg up on generating loyalty from a new demographic.