There are a few things you should always pack when you’re attending a meeting or convention. You should always remember to bring your business cards, for example, so you can network with peers and prospects. Comfortable shoes are a must, especially if you’ll be traversing a large venue. Bottled water is never a bad idea. For a growing number of meeting attendees, however, there’s at least one more thing they insist on packing: their pooch.
Just ask the American Pet Products Association. In their 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, they found that 37 percent of dog owners take their dogs with them when they travel by car. Although still a minority of pet owners, that’s up from just 19 percent 10 years ago. And it’s not just pet parents who are driving to their destination. With the travel industry in general becoming more tolerant of furry family members, dogs also seem to be showing up more often on trains, on planes and at hotels.
Meeting professionals who want to pull out all the stops to maximize attendance at their events should take note and consider hosting their next meeting at a pet-friendly hotel. Now is the perfect time to do so, as April 11 is National Pet Day. In honor of the occasion, here are five properties that are as friendly to canines as they are to meeting groups.
• Shinola Hotel (Detroit). An extension of the luxury design brand Shinola, the Shinola Hotel debuted in January on Detroit’s iconic Woodward Avenue. Along with 129 pet-friendly guest rooms, four bars and restaurants, and meeting space for groups of 12 to 200, the boutique property provides dog-walking services and special amenities like beds, bowls and treats. The hotel -- where pets stay free of charge -- even has a partnership with Canine to Five Daycare, a local facility where guests can leave their dogs while they’re attending meetings.
• Austin Proper Hotel & Residences (Texas). Proper Hospitality is expanding to several new destinations this summer, and one of them is Austin, where Austin Proper Hotel & Residences is scheduled to open in June. The pet-friendly property will have 244 guest rooms and suites, four bars and restaurants, a spa and fitness center, and over 14,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel will allow guests to bring up to two dogs under 35 pounds in exchange for a $100 fee per pet, 10 percent of which it will donate to local pet charities.
• Renaissance Reno Downtown (Nevada). Reno’s only non-gaming, full-service branded hotel, the Renaissance Reno Downtown features 214 pet-friendly guest rooms and suites, a signature restaurant, a rooftop pool and hot tub, a fitness center, an indoor/outdoor bocce court and 13,000 square feet of meeting space. Plus, the riverfront hotel is currently offering a “Puppy Meetings Package” that offers groups of 25 people or more what it describes as “a 30-minute play date with a bevy of fun-loving dogs.” The hotel promises to donate a portion of proceeds from the meeting break to an animal-rescue organization of the meeting planner’s choice.
• Disney’s Yacht Club Resort (Orlando). In 2017, Walt Disney World began accommodating pets at four of its 26 resort hotels. One of those is Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, a New England-style resort that has 630 guest rooms, a signature steak house, a health and fitness center, a 3-acre waterpark, a lakeside marina and a 73,000-square-foot convention center. Pet-friendly rooms have easy access to outdoor walkways for exercise, and to green spaces with designated pet relief areas. Also, guests can obtain doggy day care from the resort’s pet-services partner, Best Friends Pet Care, and receive a complimentary “Pluto’s Welcome Kit” that includes a mat, bowls, a pet ID tag, plastic potty bags, puppy pads and dog-walking maps.
• Kimpton Angler’s Hotel South Beach (Miami). Kimpton hotels are known for their pet-friendliness. For one, they do not charge a pet fee. Nor do they have a limit on the size or number of pets allowed. Plus, pet parents receive pet-bed loaners in their guest rooms, along with food, water bowls and mats, not to mention a concierge list of nearby pet-friendly restaurants, parks, groomers and pet boutiques. Pets are even invited to hotels’ nightly wine receptions. Although all Kimpton properties share the same pet policies, one that has been recently updated is Kimpton Angler’s Hotel South Beach, which unveiled a new expansion in fall 2018. The hotel now offers a total of 132 guest rooms, a rooftop pool and sundeck, and a brand-new meeting room for groups of up to 300 people.