Hotel Online  Special Report

 Is Your Pet-Friendly Hotel ‘Odor’ Friendly?
Don’t let your hotel go to the dogs . . . Odorous hotel rooms
are getting stinky reviews on travel sites
By Dean Gruber, August 2006

With upwards of 36 million households traveling with their pets, taking at least 2 vacations per year, and spending an average of $1,000 or more per trip, “pet-friendly” hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, condos, cabins and resorts are popping up all over the globe. 

Hotel and motel brands such as Westin, LaQuinta, Best Western, Days Inn, Super 8, and Townplace Suites, and extended-stay brands such as Suburban Lodges and Residence Inns, all are working towards attracting this growing, lucrative market. 

Using online marketing vehicles such as Bring Your Pet Dot Com ( or Pet Friendly Hotels ( are helping hotels reach those traveling with pets, promising to provide the best in pet-care accommodations. 

But “man’s best friend” oftentimes is not an “owners best friend” when it comes to guestroom or property odor.  Residual pet odors are a leading cause of guest complaints, and a great way to get a negative write-up on (
TripAdvisor is just one of many websites offering travel reviews. It features more than 4 million honest opinions from real travelers around the world. Approximately 157,000 of its reviews are about hotels, and more than 196,000 photos depict unsatisfactory accommodations of nearly 19,000 top hotels.

While hotels really have stepped-up their service levels by offering non-smoking rooms, floors or entire properties, they oftentimes forget that other odors do linger -- pet odor being one of the leading culprits, next to food odors and mold and mildew smells.

Do you have odorous guests? 

Recently I went to to see if I could find any complaints about hotels with “pet odors” or “smelly/stinky pets.” While the complaints are far fewer than complaints centering around cigarette or cigar smoke, there are still a few that identify a big problem. 

Take note of this particular complaint from a guest staying at a “non-smoking” hotel which markets itself as being “Pet Friendly:”

“Nice Hotel, Honest Review.  I cannot understand why [this hotel chain] would institute a ‘No-Smoking policy’ in the hotel but allow PETs to use the rooms as kennels. I'm a non-smoker and appreciate the non-smoking policy. I am a fanatic about cleanliness. I called the hotel before booking and asked if there were separate rooms designated for people staying with animals. They said no but they could request a higher floor for me. They said generally speaking they put the pets on the lower level. 

It drove me crazy thinking that a dog could have used our room as a kennel the week before. I am sure pets have accidents on the beds, floors, etc., especially in a strange place. I'm also sure some people try to clean it up themselves and housekeeping may never know. I was told that the rugs are shampooed after each pet leaves. Even so, pet urine gets under the rug and really can never be cleaned thoroughly. I kept wondering if the towels I was using were previously used to clean up after dogs. 

[On a positive note] my NON-smoking room smelled like a NON-smoking room. However, they still allow pets. I had animal hair all over my couch and the floor. This makes little sense to me. No smoking, but stinky pets? I don't get the logic.” 

Here are a few other TripAdvisor complaints related to pet odors:
“Old-Smelly, Room -- When we got to our "non-smoking, non-pet" room, it smelled like mildew, smoke, and wet dog. I immediately notified the front desk, who said that if we could leave the room for about 45 minutes, they would come in and reclean using a "spray" specifically for odors. She also said there were no other rooms available, as the hotel was sold out. 

Now I'm a pretty easygoing person and as long as they try to rectify the problem, then I'm fine with it. We were hungry anyway, so we left and were gone for about 2 hours. When we came back, the old carpet was now completely damp with a new odor present--dirty wet carpet. 

I went back to the front desk and told them about my room, and was told that besides the spray, there was nothing that could be done. I asked to speak to the manager and was told that he was at lunch. I was then told, rudely, that if I did not like the room, I could go across the street to the Ramada Express. 

I asked if [the hotel] was going to pay for my four-night stay. I was told ‘no’. 

Upon checkout, I filled out the customer survey and personally took it to the front counter to leave specifically for the manager, who, again, was not available. She also supposedly could not locate a corporate phone number and her manager did not have a specific extension either. I left my home phone number, my cell phone number as well as my email address, and as of today still have not heard a word! Go figure. I learned the hard way, if a deal is too good to be true, it is!”

“Terrible Experience--This was a truly awful experience. Pet urine odors in hallway - strong I would NEVER stay here again! The room I was given (smelled so badly (probably pet odors, as they are allowed) that even the air conditioner could not ameliorate this problem.

“They allow pets . . . but this place STINKS! [This hotel] had a great rate that was only available on the website. They also did not charge extra to bring pets. It sounded like a great deal. When we got into our room, it had a very strange smell. I don't know if it had been a smoking room previously or if there was some residual pet smell in the room. I asked another guest about his room and he told me that he purchased air fresheners for his room. So I asked the front desk clerk about air fresheners, and he told me that someone had taken their air fresheners earlier and not brought them back. (That makes at least 3 smelly rooms.) I'd avoid this place. I will only go back if I have my dog again, but I will check around more before making reservations.

Discovering the O-zone

Ozone Generators have been providing hotels with mountain-fresh accommodations for many years. Unfortunately, it’s just not as top-of-mind as air fresheners or air filters are for back-of-the-house applications. Ozone Generators actually attack odor-causing molecules and eliminate them completely from the atmosphere or hotel environment.

Ozone Generators attack the molecules that make the odor.  Depending upon the application, an ozone generator emits large or small amounts of O3, or ozone molecules.  The O3 molecule has an unstable O atom which quickly attaches itself to the odor causing molecules, creating pure, clean and odor free oxygen as a by product.  Whether it's cigarette smoke, burning popcorn, mold or moth balls, the odor never returns.

So, before your hotel winds up with a stinky review, wake up and smell the mountain fresh air that only ozone generators can provide. 

Dean Gruber is president of Zontec Ozone, a leading manufacturer of Ozone Generators used worldwide in residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional applications. Visit or call Gruber at 800-474-0105.

Barb Worcester
Tel: (440) 930-5770

Dean Gruber
Zontec Ozone
Tel:  800-474-0105

Also See: Checked Your Hotel’s Reviews Lately? Odorous hotel rooms are getting stinky reviews on travel sites; Is your hotel up to “sniff”? / May 2006
Hoteliers Hail Zontec™ to Remove Room Odors / Manufacturer of ozone-based odor removal system receives rave reviews for eliminating unpleasant guestroom smells, including cigarette smoke, food and body odors / April 2006
Zontec™ Sponsors to Identify Best Places Where Guests Can ‘Breath Easy, Sleep Great’; Leading provider of air purification systems partners with industry’s newest online resource listing hotels committed to providing a clean, odor-free environment / April 2006
Zontec™ Cleaning Up Odors, Contaminants through Ozone Generation / March 2006

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