A new 128-room designer hotel popped up this month in Richfield, near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, although travelers will be hard-pressed to find a room. It’s the fourth hotel in a chain founded by John Sturgess, a former Carlson Hotels Worldwide executive with more than 20 years in hospitality. Sturgess likens his lodging to a Marriott, but his clientele have gone to the dogs—literally.

“If there’s anything I learned from the human hotel business, it’s that service is not just about a smiling face,” he says. “We want people and, of course, their dogs, to feel like they are going to a boutique hotel rather than a kennel.”

At Adogo Pet Hotels, which first opened in Minnetonka in 2011, dogs can get a room for the day or night, get groomed and pampered at the spa, and romp among the other guests. These amenities, as well as a webcam offering reassurance to helicopter parents, have established a loyal customer base. Adogo is not the only upscale boarder, but its large rooms and TVs set the brand apart.

“Ninety percent of our day care customers are regulars,” Sturgess says. “There are some who come to us four or five days a week.” Among all four locations, Sturgess says 2017 revenue is projected at $4 million to $5 million.

Now Sturgess looks to collar business from the 36.5 million pet-owning travelers passing through MSP airport each year.

“With the MSP airport location, we’ll be at about 65-75 total employees, the majority of which are part time,” says Sturgess. The airport location will also offer shuttle service for customers within a 10-mile radius. “That means we won’t only pick up your dog,” Sturgess says, “but we will pick you up and take you to the airport.”

With pet owners spending upward of $5.4 billion on grooming and boarding for their pets, according to the American Pet Products Association, Sturgess suggests Adogo may soon hop the fence into new markets, such as Dallas, Denver or Chicago.

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