Brooklyn Bark Talks

Brooklyn Dogs Want to Travel

dog in bedEvery time we dog walk we are reminded:  pups love new experiences, home or away.

And as Barkers we know how much more enjoyable including our pup can make an experience.  Every month, in Brooklyn Bark Talks, we write about a cool place to take your furry Barker.  We have found a site that highlights over 50,000 places that welcome you both:  www.BringFido.com.

The site founder and editor is Melissa Halliburton.  We caught up with her for an interview and she filled in lots of background about why she started it and the depth of BringFido's service.

 

  • How many properties do you represent?
There are about 21,000 pet friendly hotels on the website, plus another 18,000 B&Bs, campgrounds, and vacation rentals.
  • Why should we use BringFido.com instead of Expedia or Travelocity?
We are actually a member of the Travelocity Partner Network, so the prices available on BringFido.com are exactly the same as Travelocity. There are no booking fees to use BringFido.com, and we guarantee that our rates are less than or equal to what you'd get by booking through the hotel directly. For the same rates as Travelocity or Expedia, you get a lot more service with BringFido.com.
 
Instead of just stating that a hotel is pet friendly, we provide information on the pet fee, weight limit, amenities for pets, and any other restrictions dog owners should know about. We are constantly reconfirming pet policies, and have a "Pet Fee Guarantee" which states that we will pay the difference if a customer is charged for more than the amount stated on our website at check-in. We even have a team of "Canine Concieges" on staff who call the hotels after each booking to request a pet friendly room for the customer, along with any other special requests like a ground floor room. We can even make outdoor restaurant recommendations, or point people towards the nearest dog beach or hiking trail.
 
  • Is there a way of sorting and comparing properties?
 
Yes, customers can sort hotels by name, price, or their popularity among dog owners on our site. They can also filter out results by whether the hotel charges a pet fee, whether they allow big dogs, and whether they allow multiple dogs. So, if someone is traveling to NYC with two big dogs, they can easily narrow down our list of pet friendly hotels from 167 to 31 by checking "Big Dogs Allowed" and "Multiple Dogs Allowed."
 
  • How long has BringFido been in existence?  What gave you the idea?
 
I created BringFido.com in 2005 after being "stuck" without a place to stay with my dog for a wedding on Cape Cod. I literally called every hotel that was indicated to be pet friendly on the big travel sites at the time, and found that their pet information was wrong about 25% of the time. I eventually found a place to stay about an hour away from the wedding venue, but the process was very frustrating.

 
  • How do you find properties?
 
We have called every single hotel listed on the GDS (Global Distribution System) to find out whether they allow pets, and if so, we ask for specifics on their pet policy such as the pet fee, weight limit, number of dogs allowed in each room, etc.


  • What do you do to verify what the property tells you?

With nearly 50,000 properties on the website, we aren't able to visit each of them in person, but we do ask our members to provide an honest review of the property after their stay, along with a rating of 1 to 5 bones. About 10,000 reviews have been posted on our website to date, and they often contain specifics on things you wouldn't find on TripAdvisor, like whether or not the hotel has a nice place to walk the dog, or if the staff is generally friendly to dogs or just tolerant of them.


  • Is there something you'd like to do special for our Barkers and readers?
We'd like to give a $25 coupon to thank them for booking on BringFido.com, instead of calling the hotel directly, or booking on one of the larger travel websites. I made a "gift code" box at the end of our checkout process, underneath the billing information. When a customer enters the code "BBarker" in that space, we mail them a $25 Restaurant.com gift certificate after their trip. It can be redeemeed on Restaurant.com for a $25 gift certificate at more than 10,000 restaurants nationwide, so it's our way of treating human Barker to a free lunch.


  • Is there anything else about BringFido you would like to share?
In addition to helping people find pet friendly hotels, our website also has information on 2,500 dog parks, 6,000 dog friendly hiking trails, 300 dog beaches, and about 500 other "animal attractions" like dog friendly boat tours and wineries.

Tags: Brooklyn Dog, Out of Brooklyn with your dog, Brooklyn Dog Walker