La Quinta has announced a change to their policies and it’s a negative one if you ever stay at their properties with your dog.
One of La Quinta’s unique selling points has long been that it’s a pet-friendly chain. Not only that, but they didn’t charge a pet fee.
That can offer huge savings, especially if you’re traveling with a dog and just need somewhere to stay for one night. I’ve found that the majority of Hyatt Places are pet-friendly, but they tend to have a $75 pet fee when staying 1-6 nights. Pet-friendly Marriott properties are usually even more expensive, charging $100 regardless of your length of stay. That’s not bad if you’re staying a week or more, but is prohibitively expensive for a one night stop.
Seeing as many La Quinta properties can be booked for $75-$100, having your pet stay free effectively means you’d be getting the hotel room free when comparing prices to the pet fees Hyatt Place and Marriott pet-friendly properties charge.
La Quinta was bought by Wyndham about a year ago and they unfortunately appear to have followed Marriott’s lead in introducing a new customer-unfriendly policy while dressing it up as an enhancement that’s there for our benefit. Hidden in a recent email, they advised the following:
La Quinta by Wyndham has always been one of the pet-friendliest brands in the hotel business – we know pets are beloved members of the family, and we love welcoming and hosting them. As of January 2019, select hotels may now implement a small fee for guests staying with their pets, helping our hotels to continue providing the best possible experience for guests and the extended members of their families.
When checking their new pet policy, the following term has been added:
An optional pet fee may be charged at check in ($20 per night for maximum of $40 per stay per room). Authorized service animals are not subject to a pet fee.
Yep, charging guests $40 is providing them with a much better experience than when they were charged $0. And think of the poor dogs – that’s $40 less that can be spent on Kong toys and Greenies.
To be (slightly) fair to Wyndham, this isn’t as bad as it could have been. $20 per night with a maximum cost per stay of $40 is still far cheaper than the majority of pet-friendly hotels. However, when one of your brand’s USPs has been to offer pet-friendly accommodation with no fees, it’s not going to be the kind of change that enamors loyal La Quinta Rewards members to your takeover of their chain.
The good thing is that this change appears to have been left in the hands of individual La Quinta properties, so they’re free to continue not charging a pet fee if they wish. I imagine that customers with pets will have a lot to say when checking in if a pet fee isn’t prominently featured when booking, so it’d be interesting to know if feedback reverses a property’s decision to implement a pet fee.
Even if a pet fee is made clear when booking directly, many customers book their stays through an OTA. Hotels.com does a fairly good job of listing pet fees for properties, but it’s located at the bottom of the page. It’ll therefore be easily missed by guests who are used to there being no pet fee at La Quinta properties, as there’d be no reason for them to check for a fee.
We’re traveling full-time with our dog, so I’d been hoping Wyndham would follow La Quinta’s lead and eliminate pet fees from all their brands. Sadly, it’s gone the other way. That leaves Red Roof Inn and Kimpton as the only two hotel chains (that I’m aware of) that are all pet-friendly and don’t charge a pet fee.
If you ever stay at La Quinta hotels with a pet, would a pet fee like this affect whether you book there? Let us know in the comments below.