Pawrents Are Driving New Away From Home Experiences

Pawrents Are Driving New Away From Home Experiences

Pawrents Are Driving New Away From Home Experiences 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

Pawrents, petrents, dog father, granddog, fur babies… there’s a growing family dynamic that may or may not involve children and it’s driving an entire economy of not just pet-friendly, but pet-inclusive experiences.

Check this out: according to the CDC, birthrates in the U.S. have hit an all-time low. In fact, the data shows the only birthrate increase is happening among women over 35 – specifically 40-44. Meanwhile, Millennials, one of the largest and most diverse consumer groups are putting starting a family on hold or opting out altogether citing student loan debt, economic uncertainty, stagnant salary growth versus cost of living, housing costs, kids are expensive, as well as, “um, I like the freedom my current sans-child lifestyle provides.” This is one of, or possibly the byproduct of, several other “laters” for this generation including getting married later and buying a house later.

“A lot of people hide behind amenities, but we think good service is knowing who your guests are,”
– Avi Niego, General Manager | Bobby Hotel – Nashville, TN

So, what are these free-wheeling Millennials doing with all that extra love and money? They’re growing their Fur Family. This one generation is now the largest group of pet owners in the country. And just like traditional family friendly experiences, they want their pets to be a bigger part of their away from home lives. Mind you, it’s not just Millennial Pawrents who are seeking out more pet-inclusive experiences – pet ownership is at an all-time high, not just in the U.S., and these pet owners want more than just a Take Your Dog to Work Day – though Furry Friday is pretty popular here at CG.

 

It only makes sense that companies across retail, hospitality, and more are taking notice of the unique economy and working to attract this group.

Travel & Leisure

Hotels are what you might call early adopters when it comes to pet-friendly but some are going beyond the standard, “sure your dog can stay here” service. Many are including pet-friendly patios, dog walkers on-site, doggie social events, and dedicated “dog bars” as part of the amenities.

If you visit the Bobby Hotel in Nashville you’ll be greeted by Sasha, a brown and black mixed breed rescued by the staff just before the hotel opened. It’s no surprise then that Bobby would go all out to make your dog feel welcome including a Nashville Hot Chicken chew toy and a gourment dog food menu in the room where you can order room service for your pooch – made fresh in the hotel kitchen. Your dog is also welcome at the rooftop bar and Riverfront Dog Park is within walking distance.

In an interview with Nashville Business Insider Bobby Hotel General Manager, Avi Niego said, “a lot of people hide behind amenities, but we think good service is knowing who your guests are.”

Bobby Hotel - Nashville
Bobby Hotel Rooftop

Shopping

The global pet care market topped $125 billion in 2018 but pet goods retailers aren’t the only places to go shopping with your pup. Several major retailers are opening their doors to dogs being part of the shopping experience. Some you may expect, like Gander Outdoors and Bass Pro Shops. But what about Lush, Nordstrom, The Apple Store, or Anthropologie?  All four have been confirmed to invite dogs along for the shopping experience.

Online brands like BarkBox and Wild One have even dipped their paws in the waters of a physical space via pop up shops. Could there be more to come in the retail space? We’ll see. It seems there could be desire in the market for a multi-purpose, fully integrated pet and owner in-store experience.

Dinner and a Movie?

A recent survey revealed that 42% of pet owners, if given a choice, would rather snuggle up with their pets than their romantic partner. Now, that may or may not mean those individuals need to seek a new romantic partner but nevertheless, pet dates are becoming much more common.

You might start your day with Dog Yoga (Doga). Afterall, if goats can do it so can dogs. From there, how about lunch? Shake Shack offers a couple of menu items for Fido including the Shackburger® Dog Biscuits and Vanilla Custard.

Lucky Londoners can even take their dog to the movies. Picturehouse Central offers periodic dog-friendly showings at select locations. Several theaters around the U.S. have also started to incorporate movie events that promote bringing your pup. Typically, during these shows the theater isn’t quite as dark and the volume not quite as loud.

Dog Screening Picturehouse London

What’s Next?

Will more online pet brands test the physical space? What about product brands themselves? Might we one day see Blue Buffalo open a shop filled with healthy treats, a dog café, and dog yoga classes? Who’s to say. What’s for sure is the social signals driving the pet family dynamic aren’t going away anytime soon and the buying power of Millennial pawrents alone is enough to make way for new products, services, and experiences we’ve yet to imagine.

HOW WE THINK SETS US APART

A collection of insights research and observations across retail, restaurant, c-store and grocery. Helping brands provide a better experience for their customers. Enjoy.

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