Excuse me, I need to speak to the Chief Happiness Officer: Pet-friendly staycations on the rise
Pet-friendly hotels and staycations have boomed with driving holidays looking at new personalised leisure vistas
A Bengaluru hotel was in the news when it adopted an abandoned St. Bernard and designated him the Chief Happiness Officer. The pet-friendly The LaLiT Ashok Bangalore, which rescued the injured dog and nursed him back to health, has named him Burney. The four-legged mascot who sports an ID card is now a favorite of the staff and the guests alike.
This heartwarming story is one of the many examples of how the hospitality industry is embracing pooches and going that extra mile to encourage pet parents to take a break with their four-legged wards. With dogs becoming a part of the lives of millennial families, it has become imperative for hotels to encourage furry babies.
Take for example, Reteam Sen, who travelled with her pet Cloey, a Maltese dog, from Delhi to Dehradun after the Hyatt Regency opened its maiden outpost in Uttarakhand. Sen says, “With ample walking and playing space, and a pet bed and special pet menu in the room, it was easy and comfortable for both Cloey and us.” Just like Sen, several pet owners land in a predicament while planning holidays. More often than not, it is difficult for them to find a safe, comfortable, and welcoming place for their pets. Man’s best friends have to thank for the silver lining in the pandemic-fractured hospitality industry which has made pet-friendly destinations a growing segment in the hotel business. Establishments across the country have sensitised staff to host pets of their guests.
Says Harkaran Singh, General Manager, Hyatt Regency Dehradun, “We call ourselves a celebration and leisure hotel. We want to ensure that our leisure guests enjoy complete time out and a relaxing stay. We observed that there are enough and more pet parents and pet lovers who feel restricted while planning a holiday because there aren’t many pet-friendly accommodations.”
At his hotel, pets get welcome complimentary treats and toys. There is also a specially curated menu that includes rice, chicken, eggs, and vegetables. Like Burney, Hyatt Regency Dehradun also has an in-house pet, which paved the way for the property to become pet-friendly. Singh loves to narrate the story: “The first time I came to the site during the pre-opening stage, I was greeted at the main gate by a dog which we later adopted and named Lucy. She became so familiar with the property that she would often accompany me during my rounds. She is one of the reasons why we became a pet-friendly property.”
However, for pet lovers who are loathed to leave the city but yet need a break, The Connaught, New Delhi - IHCL SeleQtions ‘Pawcation’ package offers the solution. With a dedicated pet-friendly wing, the package includes a pet bed, food bowl and chewies that are kept ready in the room. The hotel prides itself in a well-sensitised staff who can interact with animals and their owners, understand their body language, and address any questions and concerns. Sonali Chauhan, General Manager at The Connaught, New Delhi - IHCL SeleQtions says, “We have specially curated dining options and experiences for pets so that they too enjoy the same standards of hospitality as you.” The hotel’s multi-cuisine restaurant, The Hub, offers a chef-curated pet menu.
Krish Khatri, whose first pawcation ever was at The Connaught, insists that he looks forward to spending quality time with his pet on vacation. He says, “We look for certified pet sensitised staff that provide a warm and attentive experience to our pets.” Describing his experience at the hotel as
magnificent, Khatri recalls, “The room had pet-friendly amenities and wide-open areas for pets. What we loved was their vet-curated in-room menu for pets.”
Speaking of open areas, there are pet owners who prefer secluded and verdant spaces to relax with their dogs and cats. This is where the pet-friendly boutique chain Tree of Life Resorts fits well. The Pawsome Holidays at their properties are tailor-made for pets. The amenities include a pooch mini-bar with special treats and snacks, a special pooch area with a cozy bed and a food bowl. There is also a range of pet grooming products to keep them fresh and tidy. With more Chief Happiness Officers like Burney and more pawcations across the country, the country’s happiness quotient might just increase.