What does pet-friendly service mean?
In a literal sense, pet-friendly means accepting pets in a facility. In practical and business language, the term “pet-friendly” means the reception and welcoming pets and the term is most often used when talking about the hotel and catering industry. As tourism is one of the areas that define trends at the global level, it is understandable that the implementation of pet policies in Serbia starts from there. In addition, pet-friendly services and products can be represented in activities related to tourism, such as transport services, but also crafts, arts, education, etc. Transport, accommodation and various entertainment facilities, pet sitting, grooming, and clothing – are all segments for which demand is growing and their implementation depends on the way they fit into the business policy.
Although according to the official data of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, there are over half a million microchipped dogs and over seventy thousand cats in Serbia, animal rights are recognized more formally than practically and there are many open topics and questions.
That way, while, e,g., the transport of animals by plane (with certain restrictions) and by train is allowed, owners are still unable to board passenger buses with their pets, even with transporters. The law on road transport prohibits the transport of animals by passenger buses.
You can read more about the conditions in public transport.
Even though more and more places are pet-friendly and their number is increasing every day, others still do not want pets, explaining it with hygiene rules, sanitary regulations, noise restrictions, etc.
How to organize pet-friendly facilities and what facilities can be pet friendly, is an important question for those who want to allow access to pets.
Local governments within the Decisions on keeping domestic animals and pets define the obligation of owners or users of facilities in public use (cafes, grocery stores, transport…) to display a notice of free access or prohibition of pets in the facility on the spot. In other words, it is up to the owner to allow or restrict pets. The choice is based on the clients’ profile, the relationship between income and responsibilities, and personal emotions towards pets.
This brings us to one of the biggest problems, which is the type of service that everyone offers in their own way, where there are often no pet policies that would equally protect both providers and users and thus facilitate its implementation.
While e.g. in Germany, Austria, and France, more than 40% of hotels are pet-friendly with more detailed rules, the amount of possible additional costs and deposits, information about areas where pets are allowed, etc., in Serbia the rules are usually not set.
Taking everything we mentioned into consideration, the answer doesn’t have to be “yes or no” but it can be a set of rules of admission. The solution is in the adoption of norms or standards that define equal frameworks of the Pet Policy document for all caterers and guests, taking into account the needs and wishes of both parties. Such a system is implemented through Pet Travel Advisor certification and through it each service provider acquires qualified staff who apply, implement and control the standard.
As for tourism, it is important to point out that people who have four-legged companions usually take a few shorter vacations during the year, and at the same time are willing to pay more for a pet-friendly service. This practically means that the number of visits increases even out of season, and more visits within a year means higher income for hoteliers and caterers, as well as for other services providers. In addition, research shows that people who travel with pets are more willing to leave positive comments on the Internet and share good experiences with the same interest group of travelers.
You can read more about this topic here.
Positioning and presenting pet-friendly facilities bring a long-term benefit when it comes to attracting not only domestic but also foreign guests.
More rights, logically, imply more obligations, so the responsibility of the owner is a must and we will write about the issue in the following blogs.
The basis of the pet-friendly service is to accept pets as regular guests and make sure they are satisfied and accepted in the best way.
In case you have any doubts, the Pet Travel Advisor team will give you answers to them.
Become a prominent pet-friendly location with an official mark of quality and trust guaranteed by the PTA Certificate!
You can see more information here.
Author: Marina Stancevic