Befriend the Trend:
way that Airbnb solved the problem of finding a place to stay that isn’t an exorbitantly priced hotel, canine canin hosting site DogVacay.com – dubbed ‘the Airbnb Airb for pets’ – relies on a similar business model an and connects vacationing animal owners with safe and a affordable local sitters looking to make some spare cash.
The Los Angeles-based Ang start-up, which launched in March 2012 and now has 42 full-time staff, has proved s so popular that it recently raised a decent $15m from fro investors to help expand and enhance the company’s comp current offerings. According to ABC News News, investors associated the business’s approach w with other online pioneers that were desig designed around sharing economies, like eBay. How does doe it work? The site, which so far has abou about 10 000 hosts across the US and Canada, Cana allows anyone who wants to host dogs do in their home to apply for a listing on t the site. DogVacay takes a service fee from fro hosts, which typically ranges from 5%-10% 5% of the booking fee and charges $1 per dog per day for all bookings ma made through the site.
Hosts are checked out and interviewed by DogVacay and like Airbnb, the hosts are reviewed rev by animal owners who have trusted them with their pets in the past.
Rates start at $ $25 per night (depending on the location and the extent e of services offered during the dog’s stay) an and all reservations include free pet insurance, 24/ 24/7 customer support, daily photo updates and a 100% money-back guarantee. Why host? host Whether you’re a professional dog si sitter or just a regular dog-lover, DogVacay Dog makes it easy to earn money, mo on an informal basis, in the th comfort of your own home. Average A monthly earnings could amount a to $500 and above – depending de on how popular you become bec as a host. And forf dog owners, the service offers a via viable alternative to kennels. If With millions of dogs in SA, there is an opportunity for a platform that helps people take care of them. “It may be a little slow to catch on in the beginning, but there is definitely a need for it,” says Wesley Lynch, CEO of Realmdigital. “If users trust the service, and have full confidence in the safety of their pets, there is definitely room for growth here.”
Trust is one of the largest factors that concern people when using sharing economy services such as Airbnb and DogVacay. Similarly to Airbnb with its home owners and occupants, the key to DogVacay’s success is to have pet owners place their trust in sitters.
Says Lynch: “Security is the primary concern when a service such as this is offered. The user must feel 100% safe about leaving their pet with someone else. Having the service approved by the SPCA, for example, may give it some clout and further proof of its reputability.
“There needs to be an established bond and sense of security. The service would need to verify all pet sitters and clear multiple security checks as part of the application process.”
For a while, there were no established business models on the Internet – it was believed to be a state of flux without strict business rules. Now, business models have been created specifically for online and established brands have extended their business model to incorporate digital platforms.
The user-to-user online community business model, which platforms such as Airbnb and DogVacay are common examples of, has exploded internationally as technology makes it easier for people to rent items to each other. The success of this model is based on building strong communities and developing a sense of trust within them.
However, according to Lynch, the user-to-user business model is taking off in SA as well. “Take, for example, sites such as Gumtree and Bidorbuy where the marketplace platform is provided and the actual sale then rests with the users. I believe that many people are still wary with regard to this and exert caution, but having said that, many people were wary about e-commerce and it has grown substantially in SA over the last few years.”