May 30, 2024

Designing Your Pet Care Offer

Designing Your Pet Care Offer

In my last article, we discussed the psychological principles behind that guide consumer behavior. In this article, I want to go a step further into the practical aspects of designing your offer and look at how room types, services, and add-ons are combined to create compelling offers. Every facility will approach this process differently based on how they're set up, what room types they have available, and what services they offer. I always recommend starting by taking inventory of what you already have or could easily offer — rather than trying to add complexity with new services or offerings. This approach allows you to work within the confines of your normal operations without upsetting your existing processes.

Room Types

Your offering starts with the rooms that you have available. If you have multiple room types like Safari Pet Resorts, you naturally have a distinction between each offer. For example, the Private Garden Suites at Safari Pet Resort have an additional patio with garden views.

If you only offer one room type, you can get creative by utilizing additional services or add-ons that appeal to different customer segments. For example, your premium offer may include more ‘high-end’ offerings, such as a doggie bubble bath, a daily one-on-one play session, and a special treat. The Uptown Hound has an all-inclusive bundle that they fittingly call “Paw Inclusive” which includes, among lots of other things, additional daily play, daily hikes, pool time, enrichment toys, premium snacks, and additional 2-way messaging throughout their stay.

Go Paw Inclusive to get everything in your stay.


In addition to boarding and daycare, offering services like grooming, training, or nature walks can create unique offers that increase the customer order value while providing more customer value - it’s a win-win.

Grooming helps eliminate additional trips (and the painful scheduling) around getting a dog groomer and adds a layer of convenience and value to the customer. Even if you don’t have a full grooming service, you can still offer some level of grooming service; the most common service is to offer a bath or nail trim at the end of their stay. This kind of offer is relatively easy to bundle and ensures that pet owners get back a tired, happy, and nice-smelling pet.

Nothing beats a happy, tired, and nice-smelling pet.

If you offer it, training can be used to further distinguish your offers. For example, if you have an offer that is specifically built for puppies, training is a natural extension of that theme.

Tip: Go the Extra Mile

Services can also take the form of small upgrades to the experience. These “extra mile” services include things like additional bedtime tuck-ins, more frequent video or photo updates, or an extra night-time potty break.


Over the years, I’ve realized that customers think about add-ons very differently than the primary offer. In the first instance, they might be looking to fulfill a need. I need to book boarding for my dog and have to find a place with availability. When they are in this mode, they are primarily concerned with the practical aspects of booking daycare or boarding for their pet. Reason rules their decision-making process - they are comparing offers and trying to make the “best” choice. Once they have made that initial commitment, I’ve found that their attitude tends to shift to “what can I do to make my pet more comfortable while I’m not with them”, or more realistically “how can I get over the guilt of boarding my pet.” Reason sometimes flies out the window at this point.

Here is a clear example of this: let’s say that you may have a basic and an upgraded offer on your primary page. Your upgraded offer includes additional play time and costs $6 more. What you are likely to find is that your budget shoppers (and people who default to a lower cost option) will overwhelmingly choose the basic offer; however, if you were to also offer the additional play time as an add-on on the next page, you might find that many of the very same people will select this add-on. Of course, they could have chosen the upgraded offer in the first place! Even more amazing, is that I’ve found that you can price these things differently as well. The very same budget shoppers will spend $8 on the upgrade add-on versus selecting the bundle (with a $6 upcharge) from the very beginning and still feel like they are getting a better deal.

I tend to think of add-ons in two separate categories: you have room-based add-ons, which are upgrades to the room or the stay, and individual add-ons, which includes a la carte services targeted toward individual pets. Breaking it up in this way is especially important if you have multiple pets who share the same room. A room-based add-on applies to all the pets who share the same room; whereas an individual add-on needs to be applied to each pet. For example, if a room-based add-on was an exercise package, then both pets who share the same room would get that benefit but you would only charge the pet owner one time for the upgrade. Similarly, if you had an individual add-on like a nail trim, then you would need to charge the pet owner for each pet.

Exercise packages can be used as a room add-on

Here are some examples of individual add-ons:

  • Puppuccino (of course)
  • Filled Chew Toys
  • Swell Gelato™
  • Private Play
  • Nature Hike
  • Departure Bath & Brush
  • Nail Trim
  • Ear Cleaning

Here are some examples of room-based add-ons:

  • Exercise packages
  • Room features - like a big-screen TV or a Twin Bed
  • Tuck-in w/ bedtime story
  • Daily text or video updates

At this point, you might be thinking, with all these add-ons and upgrades, won’t customers be annoyed? Or feel like you are nickel and diming them? Unless you are really going overboard, the answer is a resounding “no!”. We believe that consumers love to buy - but they hate being sold. Add-ons allow pet parents to make purchases on their own terms, without pushy sales tactics. They tend to appreciate options that allow them to spoil their pet (and offload some of the guilt of leaving them behind).

Add-ons alone are a compelling reason to push more of your booking process online. The online shopping experience provides more opportunities to buy. You can provide more context to sell the service with images, video and compelling descriptions. If you are taking reservations on the phone, you’ll quickly learn that:

AMost people hate being on the phone longer than they need to

BIt’s really hard to upsell someone who is trying to hang up

Bringing your offers and your upsells online can have a dramatic impact on your average customer value.

So far, we’ve covered a lot of ground - we’ve looked at how psychological principles guide consumer behavior and we’ve discussed how you can design compelling offers around your unique services. We’re not done yet! Next, we’ll look at how we should think about pricing our offerings.

Chris Tilson