Guests want ‘pet-friendly’ fa­cil­i­ties

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - WEEK­END ARGUS RE­PORTER

DOG lovers were “woof­static” when the city’s first five-star ca­nine ho­tel, @Frits Dog Ho­tel and Day­care Cen­tre (121 Cas­tle Street, Cape Town), opened, com­plete with a concierge ser­vice, spa, day­care, pre­mium rooms and even day tours for furry friends.

For many pet own­ers, noth­ing beats tak­ing their pooch along on the fam­ily hol­i­day.A re­cent global study found 57% of peo­ple in­ter­na­tion­ally have at least one pet. And it seems own­ers are in­creas­ingly will­ing to pam­per pets with tai­lored di­ets, ad­vanced vet care and spe­cial­ity ser­vices. They of­ten want pet-friendly ac­com­mo­da­tion and fa­cil­i­ties.

Dale Simp­son, Cu­ra­tor of Radis­son RED Ho­tel V&A Water­front, Cape Town, says the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try ei­ther has to to cater to this need, or lose po­ten­tial guests.

“Not so long ago, trav­el­ling with your pet wasn’t re­ally a vi­able op­tion – lo­gis­ti­cally. How­ever, as air­lines, cruise ships and doggy-carseats con­tinue to make it pro­gres­sively eas­ier to travel with pets, more pet-par­ents in­sist their fur-chil­dren be al­lowed to va­ca­tion too. There is also grow­ing con­sen­sus among this mar­ket that bring­ing their pet along will ac­tu­ally en­hance their hol­i­day, as it erad­i­cates the over­whelm­ing guilt that is com­monly ex­pe­ri­enced by hav­ing to leave them be­hind in a ken­nel,” Simp­son said.

While the in­ter­na­tional hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try was quick to cater to this mar­ket, South African es­tab­lish­ments don’t seem to be adapt­ing as swiftly.

Ac­cord­ing to Ho­, a book­ing plat­form that of­fers the choice of hun­dreds of thou­sands of ho­tels in more than 60 coun­tries, one-third of the ho­tels listed on their site wel­come guests with pets.”

Simp­son says this is why the soon-to-launch Cape Town Radis­son RED ho­tel opted for a lib­eral pet pol­icy.

“RED’s mas­cot is a Bos­ton Ter­rier named Bax­ter, and Bax­ter in­sists that guests’ four­legged friends be in­vited to the party,” Simp­son said.

This pol­icy al­lows dogs and cats that weigh un­der 8kg – no more than two per room – to join their own­ers on hol­i­day if they’ve booked a pet-friendly room, and pets are kept on a leash or in a car­rier out­side the room. RED’s pet pro­gramme in­cludes a ban­dana, bed, food and wa­ter dish.

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