In years past, most clinics that boarded pets had waiting list. In many practices, this is no longer true and cages are empty during a time when a clinic should be having waiting list. In my opinion this is due to the plethora of places to board animals. Among them are Doggie Day Cares, Petco and Banfield Boarding and upscale boarding facilities. Given the low price of gas for the holiday season, AAA believes more people will be on the road and the potential to fill holiday boarding can be very successful especially with a little marketing to your current clients.
Prepare for the Holiday Season Boarding
- Decide on value added services for the pets that board and create a consent form:
Very Important Pet (additional walks/treats)
Reduced bath if stay X days
% off of grooming
- MONEY MAKER– Make sure Boarding forms are updated to show all services pet could get. “A practices” will create an individualized boarding check in sheet that will show last HW test, last internal parasite and last dental.
- Send email to all clients seen with in the last 18 months informing them that the clinic expects the boarding kennel (spa/doggy day care/barkfest) to be full and reservations are needed ASAP to reserve space. Unless you have separate ward for cats, sending anything to cat owners for boarding will have a very low yield.
- Create a report on all pets that boarded at your hospital over the year. Most practice management software will mark if the pet was euthanized. If your practice management software does not show this on the report, it is usually checking a box on the report builder and tech support should fix it quickly.
- Once the report is verified, call these clients. If they had a positive experience then they appreciate you calling them and reminding them. It is also great PR.
A sample script: ______________________ (Clients name), this is ______________ (phone caller’s name) calling from the XXX Veterinary Hospital. You have boarded _________ (pet’s name) in the past at our hospital. We are calling to see if you need to reserve a boarding kennel for the holidays. Our kennel reservations are filling up fast; so if you would like to reserve a space, please call us at (XXX) XXX-XXXX.
- Client’s that make a reservation, call them 3 days prior and ask if they would like their boarding form faxed or emailed or send the link to fill out online. Having the client prefill out the form will significantly decrease the chaos at the front desk during drop offs.
- MONEY MAKER -I recommend the clinic collect a nonrefundable deposit for the first night of boarding. Some clinics require all nights prepaid and some require no deposit. Changing your policy to a deposit results in fewer “No-shows”.
- MONEY MAKER – Office manager or lead tech reviews the medical file on all boarders to makes sure all medical recommendations (Dentals/lumpectomies/Health Profiles) are discussed with client to see if they want to do these procedures while the pet is being boarded. If possible, if a medical procedure was recommended then have dr. or tech talk to the client. This is by far the greatest increase in services while a pet is boarded. THE CLINIC MUST MAKE AWARE THE NEEDS OF THE PET PRIOR TO THE CLIENT LEAVING.
- Clients that make a boarding reservation, send an email with an attached boarding forms. In the email put a link for the client to go directly to the form on your website. DO NOT SEND THEM TO YOUR HOME PAGE. (Note: 30% of emails will end up in the spam filter). On form, it would be good to have a time they are planning to drop off the pet and pick up the pet. Breakdown the times for drop offs by 1 hour increments.
- Pre-print out 3 (Three) labels for each pet. Cage card and items that are left (Leash/bed)
- MONEY MAKER – When person brings their pet for boarding, a tech (or doctor if the pet needs dentistry) takes the owner into the exam room to do a brief physical (Ears, eyes, teeth, temp, check for fleas/ticks) and go over the form. “A Clinics” use a boarding report card.
- “A” Clinics will take a picture while pet is being boarded and email it to the client. Subject line: (Pets name) is enjoying their stay at XYZ Veterinary Medical Clinic.
Text: The Drs. and staff at XYZ Veterinary Medical Clinic want you to know how much your pet is enjoying their “Home away from Home”