Issue #30

Pet-Friendly Events

The rise of pet-friendly hotels and events means meetings may embrace man’s best friend.

The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston isn’t known only for its landmark designation and exceptional location. It’s also known for Carly Copley, the hotel’s canine ambassador, who lives at the hotel and accompanies guests on walks and runs through the city, greets them, visits during meeting breaks (upon request) and serves as a “community liaison” by participating neighborhood and charitable events. There’s something about creature comforts when we’re away from home that hotels like The Fairmont—and modern office spaces—have come to recognize and embrace.

Take the city of Solvang, CA, which offers a directory of pet-friendly shops, restaurants and wineries. The website Bring Fido offers a worldwide directory of properties that allow pets. At the Trump National Doral in Miami, dogs (and cats) are pampered, starting with room service: “A bottle of Fiji water, roasted sirloin with brown rice and an organic Big Woof bone for dessert are all available to order—for about $61 including tax, service and delivery charges,” the Miami Herald reports.

Pets made their way onto the floor at the New York International Auto Show this year as Nissan, looking to demonstrate the versatility of its Rogue, brought in puppies to help highlight a special one-off concept vehicle called Rogue Dogue featuring built-in food and water dishes, harness clips and a 360-degree dog washing station. Over the last few years, the consumer activation space has embraced dog-friendly activations, from mobile sampling for dogs to doggy festivals. And meetings? They may be next.

In a recent post on specialevents.com, Beth Stultz, vp-marketing and operations for Pet Sitters International, made the case that meeting professionals should explore and set policies for pet-friendly events to “capitalize on our love affair with pets, to put on innovative events and create event promotions to appeal to a larger audience.” Among her suggestions: having professional pet-sitters on-site for walks or setting up a “dog park” for meetups, creating a communications plan based on the event venue’s policies and getting creative with your event souvenirs—like ditching the branded coffee mugs in favor of branded pet bag dispensers.

Woof.

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