Visit Florida Launches Campaign to Lure Tourists and Their Dogs
Allen Eyestone

It seems like everyone is trying to cash in on the success of the pet market right now. New products are hitting store shelves every day, entrepreneurs are finding new and better ways to offer pet services, and now even the state tourism departments are looking to get in on the action.

Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing organization, recently launched a campaign to bring four-legged visitors into the state along with the heat and humidity of summertime. So far it seems to be working! The states pet-friendly establishments are noticing a steady increase in furry visitors.

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The campaign showcases The Sunshine State as a dog-friendly destination for visitors that don’t want to leave their pooches behind. To help promote their efforts, the organization is asking Florida residents to share pictures of their dogs on social media with the hashtag #DogsLoveFL.

The number of pet owners who are willing to splurge on their dogs is rapidly growing, and that’s bringing a rise in the number of hotels and attractions that are becoming pet-friendly. These pet-friendly attractions are big business to the tourism industry, especially in Florida.

Visit Florida Launches Campaign to Lure Tourists and Their Dogs

According to a recent Consumer Pulse survey by AAA, about 40 percent of pet owners bring their furry companions with them on road trips and vacations. Susannah Costello, Visit Florida’s vice president of global brand, said there are also about 40,000 web searches each month for dog-friendly hotels in the United States.

One establishment, Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa in Manalapan, has seen a steady increase in the number of guests who travel with their dogs over the last two years. The luxury resort has even started to offer a “doggie-turn down” service for their four-legged clients. The service includes special dog treats and dog beds.

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Nick Gold, public relations and marketing manager for the resort, says that many of their guests seek them out specifically because of their pet policy. He says that although Eau Palm Beach charges a small fee for guests to bring pets, it hasn’t stopped people from reserving rooms. The resort even donates a portion of those fees to Big Dog Ranch, a dog rescue organization.

As more businesses become pet-friendly, internet sites and smartphone apps are beginning to pop up to help owners find establishments that will welcome their furry friends.  There are numerous websites and apps that list thousands of pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, and other attractions. Most offer reviews and up-to-date information on pet policies and additional fees as well.