4 Steps to Making This Your Best Summer Ever
By Laura Laaman
At long last, we’ve made it. And, as predicted, the travel industry is roaring back. American travel and tourism are on track to exceed pre-pandemic levels by six percent with a whopping spend of $2 trillion.
Nearly all major airlines have reported increased passenger sales and interest in the final quarter of 2021 as travel restrictions are being lifted nationwide.
The boomerang is coming back around, and you can snatch it up for the best summer your business has ever had…but only by taking these essential steps:
1 Have a Strong Staff
As you know, quality pet care depends on the people providing it. Staff shortages and shifting worker priorities have put pet care business through the wringer. Now that we’re emerging on the other side, staffing is among the biggest challenges to conquer. It’s more important than ever that your team is made up of professional, growth-minded individuals dedicated to providing human and pet care you’ll be proud of. Whether you use an outside service to hire or do it internally, here’s how to attract and secure the best of your market:
- Write a fantastic job ad. A job ad is your opportunity to “sell” your business as the best option and lay out the expectations of the job. Inform job seekers who you are as a company, the value of the job and of any career advancement opportunities. Be sure to clearly outline the job’s requirements, responsibilities and duties.
- Post and monitor your ad. Almost all hiring is done on digital marketplaces today, and it’s often necessary to cross-post on several sites to reach the most applicants. Some of the leading job sites include Indeed, LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, Monster and Glassdoor. Many job seekers will also check your website to apply directly, so having an employment section on your website might be worth your while.
- Respond quickly and smartly. No matter where you post, it’s critical to check and respond to applicants shortly after they come in—ideally within minutes. By contacting a candidate quickly, your company is still fresh in their mind. Some statistics suggest it can take an average job seeker 100 or more applications to get a job, so you’re only on their radar for a brief window. If the candidate seems interesting, try to schedule an interview for the following day; the sooner, the better.
- Conduct organized interviews and hiring processes. Having an organized interview and hiring process can help ensure you’re bringing in the best people. Prepare a list of questions to ask each applicant so you can easily compare their answers. Be sure to take notes as you go along so you can reflect if candidates start to blend in your mind. Many successful pet care companies start with a simple phone screening, then a first interview and then a second interview if needed.
2 Set Appropriate Prices
Have you reevaluated your pricing recently? The economy has gone through wild and frequent changes in the past two years, so even if it hasn’t been too long, it might be time to take another look. The most successful pet care businesses constantly evaluate prices and make changes when needed—but only with the utmost care.
Changing prices is highly delicate and the smallest miscalculation could sabotage you. However, even a small price change, if it’s appropriate, can vastly improve your revenue generation. Important considerations include market analysis, regional demographics, the amenities you offer, and even the age and layout of your facility.
So, what should you be charging? It’s not possible for most privately-owned pet care facilities to charge the lowest rate on the market—especially against digital pet sitting companies like Rover.com®. Price also directly communicates value. If you’re providing the best care in your area, your fees should communicate the experience pet parents can expect—like a Comfort Inn versus a Hilton. Once you decide on your pricing—especially if it’s “Hilton-esque”—it’s essential you explain why you charge what you charge. This should happen on the phone, during tours and in your marketing.
3 Step Up Your Marketing
It may be time to step up your marketing. Yes, I know many business owners think this advice is crazy, but marketing is ALWAYS important. It is necessary to ensure you not only have the proper quantity of inquiries, but the proper quality as well. You may not think you need it today, but you will need it soon.
If you’re going to raise your pricing, you’re likely to lose customers. And believe it or not, that might actually be a good thing. High-quality pet care facilities should not be the cheapest on the market. In addition, the most valuable customers aren’t looking for the lowest rate. Conscientious pet parents who want a customized experience are often the most lucrative to your business. To capture these valuable pets and parents, you can:
- Focus on selling the experience at your facility. What special amenities do you provide? Why is your facility the best option?
- Ensure your website is strong. It’s often the prospect’s first impression of your business, so include the most compelling photos and messaging.
- Post on social media. This is another chance to show off the fun and amenities at your facility and interact directly with a wide audience.
- Monitor review sites. A recent study showed as many as 97% of shoppers relied on reviews when making purchase decisions. Keeping a high-star rating on the big review sites like Yelp and Google is an important strategy for maintaining a strong online presence. Proactive companies will also reply to negative reviews appropriately and quickly.
4 Have a Quality Phone Team
Pet parents of all ages will often choose to connect with you on the phone. Pet care is an extremely emotional decision, after all. They want to speak to an actual human when choosing who to trust with their family member. Allowing just anyone to answer precious prospective client calls can be one of the costliest decisions in this business.
Leading pet care companies have specially-trained staff members designated for the job to make the most of every call. We call these very important team members “Reservation Specialists” or “Revenue Rainmakers.” These highly-trained, skilled and talented people make sure all prospective calls convert at the highest possible rate and for maximum revenue—short term and long term. They do this with the ideal mix of telephone sales training, compelling and consistent messaging, and naturally-strong telephone manner.
But, not just anyone will perform well in the role of a Reservation Specialist. Reservation Specialists are enthusiastic, articulate, professional, motivated, result-driven individuals. A properly-trained Reservation Specialist will quickly establish a connection, promote the superiorities of your company and its care, and book (or attempt to book) a reservation on the very first call. They’ll also make strategic outgoing calls to drum up business across your services. When new customer prospects are the lifeblood of your revenue, you can’t afford not to man the posts with specially-appointed experts.
While each of these strategies can make a direct impact on your revenue, they’re designed to work together to skyrocket your company ahead this summer.
These four steps have driven Outstanding Pet Care clients to roaring success. If you’d like help in any of these areas, schedule an individual consultation with Laura Laaman or one of her team members. Call Outstanding Pet Care at 1-888-735-5667 or go to outstandingpetcare.com/contact.