The first myth to put to rest is just because your pet has been washed and groomed it doesn't leave behind any extra mess. While some people do take better care of their animals than others, it must be noted that even though we like to think our pets are clean, they leave behind dander, hair, and saliva. This is not a bad thing - it's completely normal and unavoidable.
Humans that are allergic to animals are allergic to the dander and saliva that animals leave behind and can attest that extra cleaning must be done to remove pet dander, hair, and saliva. Their allergies will act up if a room is not properly cleaned. More advanced methods are required to thoroughly clean a room where a pet has stayed. Even if you are not allergic, do you really want to stay in a room that hasn't been adequately cleaned after the last pet stayed in it?
So, now that we know that animals leave things behind regardless of how well their owner takes care of them, the next topic to address is the issue of pet deposits or fees. It can be discouraging to have to pay a pet deposit that is sometimes high and/or non-refundable in addition to the cost of a hotel room.
I spoke with lower priced hotels ($100 or less a night for a standard room) and higher priced hotels ($100 or more a night for a standard room). I questioned them about their pet policy and cleaning practices and determined the following:
Of the lower priced hotels, one charged between $25-150 non-refundable fee based on the size of the pet and the likelihood it may cause damage (ranging from lingering pet smells, hard to remove hair and dander, damaged furniture, etc.). The only additional cleaning they perform is a flea bomb but note they do not claim the fee is for cleaning. Another charges a one-time non-refundable pet fee of $150 and does a very thorough cleaning after an animal has stayed in the room. In addition to their normal routine, the deep clean consists of shampooing the carpets and cleaning fixtures and decorations as well as having a local vendor spray chemicals to kill any fleas that may be left behind.
Of the higher priced hotels, one charges a $25 one-time non-refundable cleaning fee. They perform additional cleaning and disinfecting of the furniture and decorative items and shampoo the carpets when necessary. Another charges $35/night and allows pets of all sizes. They too perform a deep cleaning that goes above and beyond that of a non-pet room.
In many cases, more expensive hotels have more expensive pet deposits/fees than cheaper hotels - after all, they are more expensive for a reason. Higher priced hotels often cater to pets in way their cheaper counterparts do not. The treats and extra services they provide to pets require extra staff, supplies, and time.
Doing a search for pet-friendly hotels in advance of a trip can be beneficial because it is likely you may find one to accommodate your needs. Chances are, if you stay at a hotel with a high, non-refundable pet deposit/fee, it is going to use deeper cleaning methods than a hotel without a pet deposit/fee. It all comes down to your personal preference and whether you want to stay in a room that has been thoroughly cleaned or if you would rather save some money and have a room that may not have had any cleaning beyond that of a regular, non-pet room.
Also, when trying to decide whether to take your pet on business trip or vacation, some important aspects to consider are how long you will be gone, if there is someone that can take care of your pet, and how upset you and your pet will be if you leave your pet at home. Sometimes it can cost just as much to board your pet at a kennel, so you really could be better off taking your pet with you. And, if you are going on a trip that is longer than a couple of days, it may give you, your family, and your pet more peace of mind to take them with you. After all, how nice would it be to have Fido run on the beach with you every night?
If you still aren't convinced the money you pay for a pet deposit/fee is reasonable, feel free to inquire about their policy and find out what type of cleaning they do. In most cases, the hotelier has valid use of the funds they collect and it may seem like a bargain. Keep in mind what seems like a high upfront fee, may actually turn out to be cheaper than a nightly fee depending on the length of your stay. There are always exceptions and even some hotels that don't charge a deposit/fee at all. Another good idea is to visit their website and read comments left about the hotel's pet rooms. How better to find out about their rooms than from previous customers?
Andrea Free is pursuing her M.A. in English at Bowling Green State University. She is a graduate of Oregon State University with a BS Liberal Studies and minors in anthropology and writing and is currently employed by Rent My DN, LLC as a writer. Her focus is developing a series of works related to pet-friendly travel and general content for HotelsAllowingPets.com.
You can contact Andrea via e-mail
You can contact Andrea via e-mail