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Pack the pets and take a break
Released 4 August 2010

The number of Aussies holidaying with their pets is increasing, with more people choosing to bring along the family doggy or moggy – or even the horse – on their travels.

Recent search data from leading accommodation booking website TakeABreak.com.au illustrates the rising trend, especially through the evolution of search terms over the past year. While less people are now searching for accommodation with the keyword ‘dog’, there has been a seven per cent increase in keyword searches for the term ‘pet’. This mirrors the increasing trend to take along more unconventional travel partners.
 
Indeed, keyword searches for ‘horse’ skyrocketed from the end of the 2009 financial year to the end of the 2010 financial year, with more than 1,000 horse-owners looking for a place to shelter their equine friend. Other pets that have been accommodated by TakeABreak.com.au include everything from cockatiels to miniature ponies, guinea pigs to goldfish, Great Danes to Chihuahuas and Burmese to Ragdolls.

In Tasmania, there has been a 107 per cent increase in the number of searches for pet-friendly accommodation. Other states to strongly experience the rising trend include Victoria and Queensland, both up by 66 per cent. Meanwhile Western Australia and the Northern Territory experienced growth of 42 per cent each.

TakeABreak.com.au CEO Justin Butterworth says pets are increasingly considered a vital part of the family. “Many people now think of their pets as they would their children, and want to share their holiday experiences with them. When we consider how busy people are in their day-to-day lives, it’s also a great way for them to spend quality time together,” he says.

Holiday accommodation managers are increasingly catering for pets, with TakeABreak.com.au registering a 21 per cent increase in the number of properties that are categorised as pet-friendly, taking the total number of such properties available on the website to more than 3,400. These properties are not only welcoming towards pets, but also supply some or all of the following features: 

  • Large, fenced off backyards
  • Covered and/or shaded areas
  • Water and food bowls
  • Nearby dog-friendly parks and/or beaches
  • 'Welcome treats' for pets
  • Dog and/or cat toys and scratching posts
  • Pooper scoopers and bags
  • Enclosed activity mazes and obstacle courses
  • Pet beds with pet sheets and blankets
  • Pet-minding facilities
If you’re planning on travelling with your feline or canine companion, there are some holiday hotspots you’ll want to investigate. Pet-friendly listings in the Yorke Peninsula (South Australia) have grown by a massive 278 per cent, while Stradbroke Island (Queensland) is up by 117 per cent. Meanwhile in Hervey Bay (Queensland), pet-friendly accommodation listings have increased by 110 per cent, showing that regional holiday locations are increasingly catering for Rover or Fluffy.

Other popular holiday regions that have expanded their pet horizons include Victor Harbour (South Australia); Bright (Victoria); the Southern Highlands (New South Wales) and The Grampians (South Australia). The pet-friendly state winners from the 2009 TakeABreak Awards are sure to please all families with pets in tow.

Pobblebonk B&B in Macclesfield (South Australia) was the winner of the 2009 TakeABreak national pet-friendly award, and provides heated pet bedding, food and water bowls, toys and dog treat bags among other features, with plenty of space for the pets to stretch their legs on the 12 acre property.

Justin Butterworth says the growing number of pet-friendly accommodation listings is a sign of the times. “Twenty years ago the only option was to put your pet into a kennel or cattery while you went on holiday. But now, there are so many property managers out there who are animal lovers themselves, that they really understand and cater for the growing number of pet-loving Aussies,” he adds. 

About Takeabreak.com.au
Takeabreak.com.au was established in 2003, offering travellers with a booking service for small and niche accommodation options. More than 50% of the accommodation listed on takeabreak.com.au is not found on other popular last minute and hotel websites. It now attracts over 2.5 million visitors annually, with over 20,000 bookings enquiries per month. It has been in the Hitwise Top 10 consistently since 2005 and has won several tourism awards and was a finalist in the NSW Telstra Business Awards 2007 and the Australian Tourism Awards (2006 and 2007). Takeabreak.com.au is a nationally Accredited Tourism Business.