Briefing: Experience Columbus Puts Out the Red Carpet for Fido

Bob Vitale
Columbus CEO

Experience Columbus, already reaching out to market segments that include LGBT travelers, foodies, beer aficionados and coffee connoisseurs, is starting a new initiative in May to offer visitors information about dog-friendly hotels, attractions, businesses and parks.

Officials cite research by the American Pet Products Association that shows 37 percent of pet owners take their animals with them on trips, nearly double the amount from 10 years ago. And given Columbus' popularity as a weekend destination for travelers who live within driving distance, it's safe to assume that many would like to bring the dogs along.

About 90 dog-friendly places are in the Experience Columbus database, says Kari Kauffman, vice president of tourism. They'll be featured on a new website,

DogsInCBUS.com and receive “Dogs Welcome Here” signs for their windows.

Kauffman says the initiative is strengthened by the number of businesses that welcome pets already, but she hopes it encourages more to adopt pet-friendly policies as well.

Lauren Greer, social media and partner relations manager for BringFido.com, a site that offers pet-policy information, reviews and hotel bookings for people traveling with their animals, says hotels in particular have gone far beyond merely tolerating pets on their premises.

“Not only are they pet-friendly, they cater to pets,” she says. Some offer a room service menu for pets, according to Greer, and some offer dog-walking services. At Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph, dogs get their own beds—and owners get cleaning supplies.