An increasing number of Americans are planning more leisure travel in 2014 than 2013, according to an American Express Spending & Saving Tracker report released earlier this year. Are you ready to provide a safe haven for your client’s pets?
During the economic downturn, Americans perfected the “staycation” that kept the family pet at home. This pent-up demand for hitting the road and the air can spell opportunity for professionals who board pets.
Making a plan
The first step is reminding your clients you are available and have space. This is also a good opportunity to update your pricing to current standards.
Look at your overnight packages, especially the week-plus stays. Consider adding value to the stay with perks, such as a bath or nail trim. An early-booking discount can help you plan.
Some email advisors suggest putting the information into a text-only email to prevent spam blockers. Others indicate your clients have given you permission to email, so a PDF attachment should get through and be more helpful.
When your email is ready, send at a time of day you know most of your clients will have time to consider the information. For some, that is the evening. Others will choose a Saturday or Sunday morning.
After you press send
Be prepared to answer questions about the email both by phone and email. If there are several staff members, hand out sheets with basic facts about the promotion and how to book stays.
Pet owners frequently use the Internet to research options. A Humane Society article on choosing a boarding facility is a good resource for pet owners and will help you be prepared for the kinds of questions you might receive.
Think like a hotel, and offer to email out a confirmation with reservation dates and any information the pet owner will need to provide. List formats are helpful to pet owners, so consider the “box” check list.
Try to track your success. Even a simple tally sheet near the main phone can give you good data.
Planning for your guests
What do you do if you have more demand than space? Be happy! This means the great service you have given your clients during the economic downturn has converted into goodwill for your business.
Our Shor-Line team manufactures a line of high-quality, stainless steel cage banks that can wheel into a boarding area and then store when demand is lower. These cage banks also make great “rest areas” between play times at doggie daycares or in veterinary facilities with training or play areas.
To meet summer demand, Shor-Line is making available three- to four-week turnaround times on shipping a number of popular cage assemblies. (Call 800-444-1579 to talk about how cages can grow your business.)
If you do decide to increase your capacity, don’t forget that your customers are depending on the same great service for their pet that they’ve come to expect. Be sure you allow time to give pets love and attention in addition to regular walks and feeding. Besides, making pets feel loved is why most people get into the business!!
Sending the pet home
How pets leave your facility makes a lasting impression on whether the pet owner will board there again. No matter how busy your facility is, make sure the pets go home in the same condition (or better!) than they came in.
Consider what simple handouts or information you can provide. You can take ideas from human daycares. Pet owners love to read about THEIR pet, so maybe a short report and a picture of their pet having fun.
Little touches and happy pets reinforce the positive decision to leave a pet in your care.
Make this the best summer for the pets in your care.