Getting (Pet) Friendly

Hotels employ dogs and cats to make guests feel at home

The hotel industry faces much competition from Airbnb and similar peer-to-peer services, which boast a more personal experience. In response to this challenge, hotel brands frequently emphasize their amenities, such as top wellness offerings, so that guests can keep up with their healthy lifestyle when traveling. Now, recognizing people’s desire to feel at home outside of where they live, many hotels have pet ambassadors to create a greater sense of comfort.


Cats have ruled the Internet for quite some time, but recent initiatives show that consumers’ interest may be going to the dogs. Man’s best friend is also being honored by many travel brands, including Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, which has 10 Canine Ambassadors who greet guests across its different locations around the world. Travelers who miss their pets or want a companion to walk with while away can spend time with the hotel’s dogs, who are considered members of its Guest Services Team. All locations with Canine Ambassadors welcome people to bring their dogs, too, and provide toys, treats, a mat, and a guide to the pet activities it hosts.


Guests at The Algonquin Hotel in New York City are greeted by Matilda, a Kitty Concierge who has received much press in recent years and even has a Chief Cat Officer who cares for her. While this may seem over-the-top, the feline is the hotel’s mascot and has a presence on social media, helping boost the brand’s following. Besides seeing the cat in the lobby, visitors can choose to purchase the Friends of Matilda package, which includes a personal note from the cat, a stuffed replica of her, and the book Fabulous Felines. Every year, The Algonquin hosts a birthday party for Matilda complete with a cat fashion show.


Select Kimpton hotels have Directors of Pet Relations, a.k.a. dogs “on staff” who welcome guests in the lobby and test out the quality of its pet amenities. The program started unintentionally when a staff member at its Hotel Monaco Denver brought her dog to work daily, and guests frequently left praiseworthy comment cards about their interactions with the animal. Kimpton realized that dogs enhanced people’s stay and it formalized the program. The brand has received much acclaim for its pet-friendly policies and amenities for guests who decide to bring their own furry friends, yet those who don’t can still show their love for animals while away.