April 2020 Trend Report: Travel is Down, Pet Ownership is Up
In this unprecedented time, we at Rover are dedicated to providing our community with tips and insights on how we will emerge stronger than ever together. As a sitter on Rover, you’ve likely experienced a dip in service requests. We’ve seen this too.
We recognize that many of the people whose beloved pets you often care for aren’t booking vacations or going into their offices, as they stay home with their pets and families to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
We’ve seen this both in Rover’s business but also in worldwide travel trends. As of April 23, 2020, Google Trends reported that searches for ‘hotel’ are down 39% since the beginning of March.
Similarly, searches for ‘flight’ are down 44% worldwide.
Because much of Rover’s business depends on people traveling, this results in less requests for services like dog boarding.
Worldwide searches in Google Trends for ‘dog boarding’ are also down 27% in the same timeframe.
As we think about what’s to come, we know that getting back to our old normal won’t happen overnight and that it will likely happen in increments over time. While there is certainly an element of unpredictability, we are seeing some promising trends that make us hopeful for a busy future.
Pets provide an undeniable comfort—something we are craving in abundance. Worldwide we’re seeing an increase in people both adopting and fostering pets. Searches for dog adoption are up roughly 54% since the beginning of March, according to Google Trends.
Seattle Humane reported that within three days of launching a contact-less adoption process, they received over 1,100 adoption applications and had to pause intake to allow time to get through the paperwork. They’re now working on making the process more efficient to accommodate the higher demand.
Organizations across the country are adapting to the stay-at-home orders so that they can continue to safely connect pets with new families.
“I have recently seen more applications and interest for fostering, as well as adoption,” said Emy Coligado of LA Animal Rescue. “The page of the website with available animals is shrinking—people now have the time to care for a pet.”
We’ve seen a similar trend among our Rover team, as many of our employees have adopted dogs or cats since the stay-at-home order went into effect.
Marketing Manager Angie Reynolds adopted a puppy in March and has had the opportunity to spend extra time getting her acclimated to her new home.
“I adopted her when Washington state implemented the stay-at-home order,” Reynolds said. “We’ve been wanting a second dog for so long and felt like this would be the perfect time to give one a lot of training and attention.”
For many people who have the ability to work from home, this is a great time to foster or adopt a pet. They’ll get 1:1 attention, and you’ll benefit from the extra snuggles, comedic relief, and general joy that a pet adds to a household.
At some point, these new pet owners will go back to working in their offices and traveling for work and pleasure. Whenever that may be—we’re ready to support them and connect them with you.
We’re optimistic that, as soon as it’s deemed safe, many people will be eager to go visit their family or take the trip they had previously postponed. Just like before, they will need pet care.
In the meantime, we are continuing to support pet parents at home with resources directly from Rover’s team of experts focused on a variety of topics from dog enrichment ideas to at-home training for new puppy parents. Our hope is that by supporting our community of pet parents and introducing Rover to new pet parents in particular, we’ll continue to be a one-stop-shop for not only information but also services, connecting them to a caring sitter.
We’ll continue to monitor updates from the WHO and the CDC, as well as consumer trends for the travel industry, in particular. For updates, please refer to our FAQs page or our COVID-19 Resource Guide. You can also count on an update from us on consumer trends in June.