More than Half of People Traveling with Pets Frustrated by Lack of Pet-friendly Accommodations, AAA and Best Western survey says

Orlando, Fla., October 28, 2009

AAA PetBook offers guidance and a chance to make your pet famous — Enter photo contest sponsored by Best Western by Nov. 30 

More than three-quarters of traveling pet owners would take Fido or Fifi on every vacation if they could, although more than half report difficulty finding pet-friendly accommodations, according to a recent survey commissioned by AAA and Best Western International.

The survey also found:

  • Thirty-five percent of pet-owning respondents admitted to sneaking their pet into a hotel or motel in the past.
  • Nearly one-third (28 percent) of those who travel with pets indicate they would rather travel with their pet than with their significant other.
  • The top five frustrations respondents have with others who travel with pets are those who do not clean up after them (77 percent); those whose dogs constantly bark (53 percent); those who do not notify others their dog is aggressive (45 percent); not walking pets on a leash (42 percent); and owners whose pets are not trained to relieve themselves outside (30 percent).
  • The most popular pet-inclusive vacations are visiting friends/family (73 percent) and road trips (56 percent).

“Not every pet is right for travel and not every trip is right for a pet, but when the right dog or cat and the right trip come together you never forget it,” said Bill Wood, executive editor, AAA Publishing. “AAA is pleased to provide the millions of traveling pets owners with the tools and information needed to plan the perfect vacation.”

Pet owners can find all the information they need to make their pet vacation easier and safer in Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook® including property listings and advice on transporting pets. Many hotel operators have discovered the popularity of traveling with pets and are making special efforts to accommodate four-footed friends such as the World’s Largest Hotel Chain®, Best Western, which has more than 1,900 pet-friendly properties worldwide. For reservations and information visit AAA.com/bestwestern. AAA members receive special benefits through Best Western’s exclusive rewards program, AAA Preferred Best Western Rewards.

“With more than 1,000 pet-friendly properties in North America, Best Western knows pets are very much a part of our guests’ families. As such, we want to welcome them and their owners to our properties,” said Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Best Western. “We are proud to offer a variety of ways for travelers to get information about hitting the road with their pets.”

Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook® also features information on how to enter the annual AAA PetBook Photo Contest sponsored by Best Western, a AAA preferred lodging partner. Entry deadline is Nov. 30 and winning pets will appear on a cover of the next edition. To enter, visit www.AAA.com/petbook.

AAA’s PetBook Photo Contest sponsored by Best Western®

Travelers who vacation with their furry friends have until Nov. 30 to enter the annual AAA PetBook Photo Contest.

Two winning entries will appear on a cover of the next edition. The “Best in Travel” winner will also receive $350 and five complimentary copies of the book, plus a $150 Best Western Travel Card that can be used at any of the more than 4,000 Best Western properties worldwide, including more than 1,900 pet-friendly locations. The second-place winner will receive $200 from AAA and two complimentary copies of the book. Photos and completed forms must be submitted by Nov. 30. Contest rules and entries from previous years are available online at AAA.com/PetBook.

Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook includes more than 13,000 pet-friendly, AAA Approved and Diamond Rated lodgings and campgrounds in the United States and Canada. The listings include fees, permitted pet sizes and conditions of stay for properties at every Diamond Rating level, including for pampered pets — AAA Five Diamond® Award-winning hotels.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

About Best Western

Best Western International is THE WORLD’S LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN®, providing marketing, reservations and operational support to over 4,000* independently owned and operated member hotels in 80* countries and territories worldwide. An industry pioneer since 1946, Best Western has grown into an iconic brand that hosts 400,000* worldwide guests each night. Best Western’s diverse property portfolio, its greatest strength, stems from a business model designed to give owners maximum flexibility to address market-specific needs. Equally committed to the business and leisure traveler, Best Western recently embarked on a mission to lead the hotel industry in customer care. World Vision is the charity of choice for Best Western in building the world’s largest family, as our hotels and staff sponsor children in need around the globe. Since 2004, Best Western has served as the Official Hotel of NASCAR®. For more information or to make a reservation, please visit http://www.bestwestern.com/.

*Numbers are approximate and can fluctuate.

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