Hotels Providing Surrogate Pets For Travelers


Beever Creek, Co – So what do you do when Fido has to stay behind and you can’t bare the thought of being without your best friend when you travel? The Ritz-Carlton has you covered, with a yellow Labrador retriever on call for walks in the nearby woods. Still others, like New York’s SoHo Grand Hotel can have a goldfish delivered to your room to keep you company during your stay.

This new trend in pet companions is on the rise as more hotels look for ways to make guests more comfortable during their stay. Many hotel operators have heard guest complaints of separation anxiety and are seeking to provide yet another amenity to keep guests comfortable and coming back.

Hotel Burnham on Chicago proudly proclaims, “When your pet can’t travel with you, we provide a goldfish to keep you company.”

Pets decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation, explains Alan Beck, Ph.D., director of the Center for Human-Animal Bond at the School of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University. “A pet is someone to share your life with,” he says. “There’s a lot of people in this world who live alone. As a society, many of us live in apartments in big cities. We may not know our neighbors. We may be separated geographically from our extended families. Maybe we’re divorced or widowed and live alone. And so for people in these circumstance, pets can help fill the ‘people void’ in their lives.”

Why a goldfish? Kimpton hotel properties offers goldfish at 23 of their locations. According to Kimpton, “research has proven that watching colorful fish swim gracefully to-and-fro actually calms nerves, reduces anxiety and lowers blood pressure.” Anyone who owns goldfish already realize this, but few have promoted this in commercial life. These days hotels must become more innovative to attract guests, and these types of perks can make a huge difference.

If you plan a stay in Boston, you can check in with the Fairmont Copley Plaza to see if their black lab, Catie Copley, is booked. Catie has her own email address for making reservations in their Canine Ambassador program.

This trend has increased repeat business from travelers at these locations so watch as more locations realize the advantages of becoming pet-friendly.