Yea or Nay: Putting "Pet-Friendly" in listing title

After years of 95% occupancy, my bookings went off a cliff after Thanksgiving and the few ones I’ve gotten since have been the last-minute/same-day variety, and not nearly enough of them (yes, I know it’s only been 10 days, but I don’t have a single reservation after this coming week when before I was usually about 75% booked two months out). I’ve been using all the tricks to increase visibility and booking requests (except I’m not willing to turn on Instant Book), but I’m wondering whether or not to add “Pet-Friendly” to the listing title.

Guests with dogs make up at least half of my reservations and I’m sure it’s a major selling point for those folks. Still, I also don’t want to turn off people traveling WITHOUT their pets if they think it’s going to be dirty, smelly, and covered in dog hair (which my 4.95 rating clearly indicates is not the case).

While all opinions are welcome, I’d love to hear from anyone who has actually done this already.

Well, I’ve not actually done this but it seems to me that since you do offer a pet-friendly stay and your intuition is that it’s a major selling point, that this is a situation of 'If you’ve got it, flaunt it!" Yes, I would add it to your title.

Some prospective guests might be put off – but I wouldn’t think too many. Why do I say that? Because your reviews are so stellar.

As in everything in life, there is a risk if you do, and a different risk if you don’t. Since you offer a pet-friendly place already and they’re at least half of your bookings I think you should go for it and add to your listing’s title. In for a nickel, in for a dollar. [And changing your listing’s title doesn’t cost you a dollar.]

As an aside, I’m wondering if you’ve done an incognito search on a different browser to see where your listing is in search results and which listings top the searches. That might also help you as you tweak your listing. I also think that your having such great ratings, when it is more challenging to clean and maintain a pet-friendly listing, shows you’ve cracked the code on this (which not all Hosts have). Well done!

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I considered doing similar last year when they axed the pet-friendly filter and put the pets in the guest count instead. I suspected people were having a hard time finding us (and our pet-friendliness) because the filter was gone. However, I didn’t go through with it, for the reason you stated above.

Every time I typed pet-friendly into the title I could smell dog stank and see hair drifting around the room. A room of tattered furniture and strewn kibble. :rofl: My rating of 5.0 also clearly indicates it is not the case. But nonetheless, it painted that picture for me and, in my opinion, it will also paint that picture for potential guests.

As someone who stays in Airbnbs with their dog, it would even turn me off. I can’t quite figure out why but it would. I think because if that’s your focus then I should expect that awful picture of hair, etc. And as a dog-friendly host, I suspect it wouldn’t attract the best pet guests for some reason. Additionally, I feel like it is too perfunctory a manner to describe my listings, that something is lost in that title.

If you do try it out, I’d be interested to hear how it turns out!

Really, IB is your best bet. It will increase your search ranking and decrease your work. I.e, you won’t have to chitter-chatter with people for free. :grimacing: I may be misremembering (heh-heh) but don’t you live at your listing, it’s like a duplex or something? I don’t quite understand why you wouldn’t use IB?


@MassHost, if you put “Pet-Friendly” in the title, I suggest a sentence quite high up on the page (one that people would be likely to see). Something like this:

“As our guests sometimes bring pets, we clean extra well every time.”

Something like that. Doesn’t mean people will (a) read it or (b) believe it, but they might.


And our 5.0 rating for cleanliness confirms it.

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Yes, I’ve done this and I’ve done it since day 1, more than a year ago.

I actually say “Dog Friendly” in our title because we do not allow cats. I repeat this up high in the listing description as well. I state any size/any breed, up to 2 dogs. I also have allowed 3 dogs on one occasion, no problems whatsoever, and I state lower in my description that if you have 3 dogs, write to me first and we’ll probably allow it.

I also do not charge an extra pet fee (or cleaning fee).

One very small dog caused damage to woodwork that I fixed myself and charged the guests $75 for, which they happily paid.

Otherwise ALL our damage has been caused by people traveling without pets. Specifically dumped nail polish remover on a day bed cover, but also dumped wine and Nyquil have caused extra cleaning. Dogs shed, sure, but I’m going to vacuum the furniture regardless. Dogs don’t spill red wine.

Despite all this, about 1/2 of our bookings are without dogs. We live in a very dog friendly city. I’m never super happy about dogless guests because our one dog barks occasionally and she can be heard (we live in the house next door). I figure dog people are more understanding.

The place is decorated with a few dog things and we leave treats and bags for our guests. As dog travelers ourselves, I wanted dog owners to feel their dogs are welcomed as guests, not merely tolerated.

My bookings are slightly less than last year, but I have bookings through February. I’m charging more now so I am certainly more profitable than at this time last year, when I was just starting out and my nightly rate was too low.


Agreed. I’ve come back to Instant Book and I’m happy with the bookings I am getting this way. People are sending me messages anyway, so perhaps ABB is asking them to…I don’t know.

Remember if you’re uncomfortable with a guest you can cancel them. I wouldn’t do this a lot but you can. I think I would message the worrisome guest first to see if they might decide to cancel on their own, or to see if whatever is the trouble is really something to worry about, or not.


@MassHost Our title is: “One Bedroom Casita Close to Plaza & Dog Friendly”

The place is classified as a “cottage.” Casita is a local term. Many casitas are studios and do not have a separate bedroom, and my location is special, hence my word choice.

That’s another thing–I would not put “pretty oasis” “kick back and relax” or any such puffery (technical term) in the title.

Zero in on the objective qualities that make your place special and put only those in the title.

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Do you check how you show up on searches? As other have said IB would give you the best boost. However, some people trying to show up higher in the listing have had luck just changing a picture or some wording in their listing frequently. You could test the pet friendly emphasis and see how it works. You can always change it again.


Ha, I laughed out loud because that’s how I feel too.

Just to be clear, I LOVE dogs. Every dog. I want to pet every dog. My next door neighbours have dogs, one of which is a bit of a nut and barks all the time for no good reason except to drown out the sound of other people talking, and when I hear him barking, I just smile and think, “Oh, that’s my friend Toby talking!” We cut a hole in our fence (with neighbour’s permission) to create a window for the dogs to stick their heads through and get pats.

And despite all that, I would NOT stay in a place that prominently marketed itself as “pet-friendly.” I would see the positive reviews including the cleanliness review and I would think to myself, “those reviews were written by people who have dogs and who have different standards of cleanliness.”

It’s not just the hair. I see my next door neighbour’s dogs rolling around in the mud and the dirt and in faeces and chewing on raw animal bones and drooling bits of animal corpse and dog saliva. I love those dogs but I do not want to share a sofa with them.

I don’t carefully scrutinise places to see if animals are allowed, and probably I have stayed at houses where animals stay, and it wasn’t an issue for me, because there was a good clean in between. But I think if I saw “pet-friendly” prominently advertised, it would turn me off.

So I think the question here is: do you have data on how what percentage of people who stay with you bring animals with them? That might really shape your decision.

Also, maybe you should be specific about what kinds of pets you welcome? Unless it’s all kinds? Some people are very allergic to cats but not dogs, so people might want to know what animals stay with you.


Well you’ve gotten a lot of good advice here.

It looks like your diplomatic statement “While all opinions are welcome, I’d love to hear from anyone who has actually done this already.” was wise.

Some of the most experienced dog-loving Hosts who Host dogs would be turned off by Pet Friendly in the title.

So with that input I think you should first experiment with IB. If that doesn’t give you results I’d consider other tweaks to your listing. Finally, if none of the above worked I’d try ‘Pet Friendly’ in the title which @Christine_Shirtcliff points out that you can of course change at any time.

I’m also in MA. December-March are our slowest times. But this is the slowest, so far. For the next six months: 0 Airbnb reservations, 1 VRBO reservation in December. And, prior to this, we’ve had our best year so far in 2022.

It probably doesn’t help to say you’re not alone, that everybody’s hurting (maybe not everybody but everybody sometime). That’s my cue/excuse to share this endearing link (if you’re impatient, start at 1:50) and also (I hope) to put these few next months in perspective.

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I went through a similar quandry when I first listed, and was confronted with the Smoking Allowed question. I don’t care if people smoke and am a smoker myself, but always smoke outside.

I figured if I said smoking allowed, non-smokers, which are in the majority these days, would instantly conjure up a skanky old Motel 6 smoking-allowed room that reeked of stale cigarette butts and smoke, with nicotine-stained walls, cigarette burns on the furniture and filthy carpets.

So I just never checked the smoking allowed or not, either way.

I have had a handful of guests who smoked, but without even having any rules about it, they all sat on the balcony outside their room to smoke, at the table and chair provided, where there is an ashtray.

And I don’t have the issue of a smoker’s clothing, hair, etc. smelling up the guest room, as I live in the tropics where the windows are almost always all open, there is no upholstered furniture, carpets or heavy curtains to soak up and retain odors.

No guest has ever asked, when inquiring or booking, whether I allow smoking, either, which is sort of interesting. There are so many people who seriously detest the smell of smoking that I would have thought some might ask, if they don’t see “No smoking” on my listing.

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I have to vote against putting it in, but only you can decide whether it’s right for you.

We aren’t “dog people” and never bring our cats with us on vacation. When I’m at a hotel that accepts dogs, I pray I won’t get a room that had a dog in it before.

I’m not allergic - I just don’t like the smell of wet dog and have the impression that’s what I would smell in a pet-friendly property.


This. My thoughts exactly. I know it doesn’t make sense b/c I LOVE Dogs!

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