One hotel helped at least 60 dogs find forever homes.
A Hilton Home2Suite hotel in Mississippi was looking for new ways to attract long term guests. They wanted to give guests a unique experience that differentiated them from other hotels in the area. Teresa Johnston, the director of sales in the hotel, thought of an out-of-the-box idea. What if the secret ingredient was a cute dog?
Hotel to home: How guests become involved
She partnered with a local humane society and turned the hotel into a foster home for furry animals. The hotel runs a fostering program which takes one foster dog and allows their guest to take care, feed, and walk the pup during their stay. She found that both guests and employees developed special bonds with the pets and would often decide to adopt them after leaving. The hotel would then bring in a new dog. This way, at least 60 dogs have found forever homes since October 2018.
Teresa believed that dogs made many of the guests feel at home. This Home2Suite now had personality.
Success stories of ‘Fostering Hope’
Vincent Nargot, an employee, found his sixth dog through the hotel’s unique programme, named ‘Fostering Hope’. He named him Chico the Chihuahua. Nargot remembers getting a call from Teresa when she found Chico. He fell in love with the dog on sight. Nargot adopted the dog immediately. Other staff have also found dogs this way.
Everyone has a story or dog anecdote to share. Nargot recollected an incident when a dog ran at the sound of men, and would only answer to a female voice.
The hotel has learnt a lot too.
It is not easy to take care of dogs. They come with issues too, such as abandonment, anxiety, or fear. Many guests have stepped up when things get difficult. The hotel provides an extended stay for guests who are extra supportive. The guests babysit the animals, keep them overnight, and even bathe them.
Other hotels can implement this too.
Fostering Hope has received attention for their unique initiative. Teresa hopes that the program extends to other properties, making them pet friendly, just like Home2Suites.