Pet-Friendly Accommodation is a popular website and blog created in 2013 by the author, Carla Francis. The site aims to provide helpful tips and information about where you can take your four-legged friends.
The company believes that life is better when shared with a pet. With this in mind, they have created a directory of places that offer suitable accommodation for your pets while traveling during a holiday, family outing, or business meeting.
It provides visitors to the website with a user-friendly search feature that enables them to enter a location, and the system will automatically display all the pet-friendly establishments near the area you have entered. It ensures that your planned family outing and holidaying experience can be shared with your furry friends.
Furthermore, its blog section gives visitors valuable advice, instructions, and tips about different topics on how to take care of your pets. Its other features include various helpful articles such as 4 Essential Skills Dogs Need Before Travelling, Travelling with Nervous Pets, 5 Ways To Prevent Canine Obesity, and 10 Christmas Gifts for Pet Lovers.
Moreover, ‘Pet-Friendly’ offers partnerships with various companies to promote their product and services with a wide variety of services that include the following:
The service lets businesses promote their product or service with a carefully created blog post.
‘Pet-Friendly’ can organize an Instagram Loop or Facebook Giveaway to increase followers.
Companies send their products to the team at ‘Pet-Friendly’ and they create a review for them on their site.
Free non-profit promotion:
For charity and non-profit organizations, they can promote your fundraising event to help animals in need.
The company will represent your brand as a brand ambassador. This service can be done through a series of blog posts, social media mentions, or in-person appearances.
The founder or in-house writers will create content for your website or print publication with this partnership service.
Founder’s story and what motivated them to start the business
Carla Francis, the founder, and owner of Pet-Friendly Accommodation is an entrepreneur and internationally recognized author of the popular guidebook, ‘Travelling with Pets on Australia’s East Coast,’ which has been extensively featured and published across Australia, on SBS and ABC radio, in Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph, Gold Coast Bulletin, Dogs Life, Australian Dogs & Pets, and The Courier-Mail.
Carla has also made noteworthy contributions to the Japan Times, Blackhawk Pet Care, VitaPet, magazines such as Caravan World, Horses & People, Pets Bar, Camper Trailer Australia, and online at the Pet Directory and Go See Australia.
Her second book recently won an award at the International Book Awards, sponsored by American Book Fest.
A Sydney-based writer and animal lover who likes traveling, reading, and doing Yin Yoga, Carla is passionate about collaborating with pet and travel brands to assist them with promoting their products successfully. It motivated her to create the ‘Pet-Friendly’ blog in 2013 after realizing the need for reliable pet travel information.
A dedicated pet owner, she has made it her mission to create a quality book and website. Besides focusing on accommodation, it also covers dog-friendly beaches, camping, caravan parks, pubs, bars, wineries, and doggie days out.
The challenges the business/market is facing
In every business, there are always numerous roadblocks and obstacles that need to be overcome. In the pet travel site industry, Pet-Friendly Accommodation faces balancing between providing its users with recommendations that are 100% beneficial to pets and ensuring that their partner companies’ contracts are appropriately fulfilled.
Because Pet-Friendly Accommodation offers partnership services, some of those clients may ask the company to recommend their products and services to the site users even though it may not be the best one for their needs.
A unhelpful recommendation may ruin the site’s reputation, which could result in losing the trust of their followers, which could impact their business. Therefore, careful research and selection must happen to make sure the brand does not suffer.
However, they also need increase profits to cover the operational expense of maintaining the website and other costs, which will means every effort must go into conducting research before agreeing to review a pet product.
The closing of many businesses due to the pandemic and border closures, means many of the recommended places and establishments that Pet-Friendly Accommodation have in their database may have ceased trading or were forced to sell to a new owner.
This change of ownership may mean pet policies have been altered. Because of this, the site had to review every location and establishment in its database to provide accurate and reliable information to its users.
This process may have caused the company financial loss and resources to update its database, which is very difficult due to the slowdown of the economy brought about by the pandemic.
The opportunities the business/market is facing
The pet and travel niches are two major advertising markets online. And fortunately, there aren’t too many sites that provide the same type of service that Pet-Friendly Accommodation offers to its users.
The market is basically untapped and provides many opportunities for the site. The site can earn a lot because they offer partnership programs that promote various pet products and services to its many followers. As well as several afiliate programs. What’s more, they can also cover some travel-related companies that wish to expand their services to the pet travel market.
In addition to that, they also promote pet books and other materials on pet topics. They boost their income by adding pet-related products to their e-commerce shop to their website.
It is an excellent opportunity for them to develop and market their own product like pet travel bags, first aid kits, and accessories. They can also implement a commission-based service for all the businesses they bring to travel-related companies.
Lastly, due to the number of followers they have gathered, they are often approached by companies to run giveaways on their social media accounts, which have seen a huge increase in recent years. This is also a good way to stay connected to their users.
A survey conducted by Real Insurance revealed that “Three quarters of Australian pet owners say they’d rather travel with their furry friends than their human partner.”
The pet travel industry is thriving and the opportunities are limitless.
Advice to others about business
Starting a new business need not be that difficult with some help and advice from veteran entrepreneurs and long-time business owners. Knowledge and information on running things properly are much more valuable than unlimited resources and manpower.
Without proper guidance and information, your business will quickly fail and force you to lose time, money, and resources. Here are some tips and information that you can follow when managing your business.
Have a Specific Goal in mind
In business, having specific goals is vital to your success. These help you with decision making and driving your actions. It enables you to focus on achieving the task at hand to help your business grow and become successful. Otherwise, you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed with all the things fighting for your attention.
You could try strategies like combining tasks that are of a similar nature and only working on them during that designated period, turning of your cell phone and email notifications. The temptation to multitask is high but can reduce productivity!
Being self-employed means you need to understand that no one is an island. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Teamwork is crucial, and because of this, you need to delegate tasks whenever possible so that you can concentrate on things that matter and that you are good at. A colleague once said if you need to repeat your instructions more than once, type them up and hand them over to someone to complete. In other words, spend your time wisely, not on tasks that can be easily delegated. This was invaluable advice when we had apprentices working for us. It stopped us having to repeat instructions and made it easier for new staff to follow.
Keep Overheads Low
Keeping your overheads and operational cost low is synonymous with increasing your profits and revenue. You need to be a savvy spender and make sure that you only spend money on things that can help your business. For example, while social media campaigns are vital to the success of a company, there is more than one way to do it, and needs constantly updating to see which campaign is yielding the best results. Prioritize and analyze what is needed first and what you can currently afford. It will help your business become more solvent, especially during a financial crisis.
Find Your Niche—Find Your Purr-pose
When starting your business, you mustn’t try to do too much too soon. Focus on a particular product, service, or niche that you are good at. Carla says, “I am a big believer in the Japanese concept of ikigai or life purpose; a combination of your passion, your mission, and your profession. Choose something that you are great at and has the potential to be significant.”
Finding your niche and continually innovating around that niche is the path to success.
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