Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Canine Concierge

A new catagory of travel consultant has been breed – the canine companion concierge. With the Internet basically taking charge of the travel business, sending the “travel agent” out to pasture, many former agents are giving themselves a face-lift to fit into this new niche by sniffing out pet-friendly places to go and things to do that owners can enjoy with their animals. And there is no shortage of pet-friendly accommodations, stores, outings and activities in a world where pets are people’s children.

Finding that clientele with a disposable income and a dog on a leash can be outdated travel agent’s return to life. This travel market is catering to baby boomers and empty nesters focused on luxury travel and exotic destinations. The biggest hurdle for the travel consultant in marketing many interesting and fun destinations is getting the group there. Because airlines limit the number of pets allowed onboard each flight (making it virtually impossible to get 30 people and their pets to a destination as a group), tours must depend on travelers making their own plans to get there; group arrangements then take shape when they are all at the destination.

For a group tour to be successful, participating pets have to be well-behaved around people and other pets. Only spayed and neutered pet tourists are accepted, well-groomed with personal canine hygiene a necessity. In recent years, the pet travel industry has overcome huge stumbling blocks, such as allowing pets in airline cabins and eliminating quarantine regulations to England and Europe. Hopefully this trend will continue. A few on-line pet-friendly resources we’ve discovered include:; Pets-Allowed-Hotels; Pet Friendly Travel; Pets On The Go;; and TravelPets.