Common problem facing Aussie pet owners while travelling: 'A hellscape'

Pet owners are airing their frustrations on social media.

As Australian pet ownership reaches an all-time high, the need for suitable pet-friendly accommodation while travelling has never been so high. When it comes to appropriate accommodation though, the choices are pretty dire, especially in regional towns.

The sub-par standards of pet-friendly rooms have recently come under fire from travellers who've aired their frustration on social media, complaining about the disappointing options they're faced with.

Old furniture not being replaced, dirty floors and rooms that haven't been updated since what seems like the 1980s are among the common gripes by pet owners, including Queensland resident Annabelle Brett.

A dog sits on a bed in a scruffy room (left) a worn door (right).
Queensland resident Annabelle Brett was offered a voucher after complaining about sub-par pet accommodation in regional NSW. Source: Supplied

'A hellscape with no decent options'

Brett posted a video to TikTok of the hotel room she, her husband and their dog Ted, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel cross, were staying in for $200 per night. The video shows a room with rundown old furniture, dirty floors and a hair-covered lounge. "It is a hellscape with no decent options," she said.

Brett told Yahoo News Australia her family needed a place to stay between Brisbane and southern New South Wales so they jumped online and decided Coffs Harbour would be their halfway road trip destination.

"We booked a month out and there were three options total, this for $200, a really average motel for $595 or a house for $1600. My husband booked it on their website direct and it was very different in the pictures," she said.

They were able to view pictures on the provider's website, but it looked substantially more modern and nicer on the outside. "I’ve since looked it up and there are similar complaints about getting put into 'old cabins' when you’ve got a pet," she added.

The video sparked a debate among TikTok users with some agreeing that the state of the accommodation wasn't good enough, while others thought it was fine. "I mean for $200 a night and pet friendly I’d expect that," one user said. Another commented: "Hence why pets usually live outside. They are dirty animals."

'A mixed bag'

Brett said the standard of pet-friendly accommodation across the country varies and there is a big difference between regional and metropolitan areas.

"In cities, you can book hotels of all ranges that are pet friendly, $200 a night would be plenty for something reasonable, but in regional [areas] it’s a totally different story!"

"The motels are often on the outskirts of town and they’ll always put you in the worst room they have. They charge more to accommodate for a 'cleaning fee' yet I don’t think I’ve really ever had an actually clean room. I’d say 90 per cent of the regional motels/ caravan parks I’ve stayed in with the dog have been gross - whereas when travelling without him they’re pretty great!"

A close up of a dirty couch (left) and a worn curtain (right).
The regional hotel told Brett the room she, her husband and their dog Ted stayed in was being renovated soon. Source: Supplied

The rise of the fur baby

A 2022 survey of pets and their owners has shown more Aussies are not afraid to splash the cash when it comes to their furry family members.

The online survey revealed more than $33 billion dollars was spent on pets in 2022 and dogs were the most popular pet for households. It also confirmed 82 per cent of pet owners earn more than $100,000 dollars per year.

Brett said like most millennial pet owners, the couple have plenty of disposable income and are willing to spend it on things like doggy day care, groomers and dog cafes.

A pug named 'Romeo' laps up liver sausage ice cream from a bowl at the ice cream parlour Venezia in Birkenfeld, Germany.
A survey found that Aussies spent more than $33 billion on their pets in 2022. Source: Getty

Complaint lodged

Since the stay, Brett and her husband have reached out to the hotel via email to air their grievances and were offered a voucher to return to the establishment. The email they received in response to their complaint, which has been seen by Yahoo, explained that the room the couple and dog Ted stayed in was one of the last to be renovated so may have felt sub-par compared to the others on offer.

Brett is urging those who can to use a caravans or motorhomes instead."In places I’ve stopped in like Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Newcastle, Port Macquarie - you’re left with 1-2 options maybe in each town," she said.

'We just want something semi-liveable'

Brett wants to see regional accommodation providers do better when it comes to their offerings for pets because she believes dogs can often be better guests than humans.

She added that plenty of people would happily pay $200 per night for reasonable pet-friendly accommodation. "Nobody will care if you include sufficient cleaning fees or allocate pet friendly rooms without carpet and what not, we just want it to be semi-liveable."

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