Whether you're just starting out or looking for ways to grow your business, here are ten simple tips to become a successful Host.
1. Download the DogVacay app.
Use our mobile app (available on iOS and Android) to stay connected to your Guests and manage your bookings when you're on the go.
- Notifications for new Guest inquiries + full messaging capability
- Manage your bookings
- VacayCam to take fun photos and then send them to your Guests
Download the app here.
2. Keep your calendar up-to-date.
The best way to attract new Guests is by letting them know you're available.
- Plan ahead and set your Hosting availability weekly via your calendar.
- Confirm your weekend availability, and we'll highlight your profile in search results with a special banner.
3. Get the badges.
Guests are drawn to Hosts with badges because they show your commitment to education and their peace of mind.
The four MOST important badges to get are:
- DogVacay University 101
- DogVacay University 102
- Web Training
- Background Checked
They're all free and available to you as a Host. As you build your business, you'll unlock more badges. Learn more about badges here.
4. Sign up for Pack Promoter.
Pack Promoter is free marketing tool to help you build new business.
- Create a custom URL for your business
- Share via email and social media
- You can even order custom marketing materials from our DogVacay Store
The link will take them directly to your Host profile and they'll earn a discount off their first DogVacay booking. Want more tips on how to use Pack Promoter to boost your business? Check out this article.
5. Respond to every inquiry and request.
Whether it's a General Inquiry, Meet-n-Greet request, or Reservation request, it's important to respond to each and every Guest message as quickly as possible.
- DogVacay policy requires that Hosts maintain a 95% Response Rate (meaning you respond to at least 95% of all new Guest inquiries) and respond in under 24 hours.
Even if you aren't able to accommodate a Guest, let them know you're unavailable or not the right fit so that they can keep looking for a Host who meets their needs.
6. Pay attention to detail.
Here's a tip from one of our expert Hosts:
"I never misspell an animal’s name. As a vet tech of 20 years and pet owner myself, how a name is thought up, how it's spelled, and what nickname the owner prefers is vital. It creates trust between owner and caregiver that the details are important."
-Beth C. (Terrace, WA)
7. Ask your Guests for more information.
Want to give your Vacays a special touch? Ask your Guests some dog-specific questions to help you provide the best experience for their pup. Here's an example from two of our Hosts:
"We ask for detailed descriptions and instructions about each pup's daily routines and preferences so our furry guests can feel at home with us. The majority of our regulars are rescue dogs, and they often have unique challenges that can be worked on in our "camp" setting. We love to send updates that show these dogs overcoming any issues they may have."
-Cheryl & Carmen A. (Pacifica, CA)
8. Send regular updates during the Vacay.
Owners want to know that their pup is safe, well-cared for, and having fun. Sending daily photos or videos updates, besides being a requirement for Hosting, can be a great way to showcase the quality of a Vacay with you and make them want to book with you again and again.
- Set expectations with your Guest on how they want to receive updates (i.e. text or email) and how many they want to receive daily.
- About 30 minutes after drop off, send the first photo update to put a new Guest at ease.
Not sure what makes a quality photo or video? Here are some more tips.
9. Follow up after the Vacay.
Many of our best Hosts stay engaged with Guests even after a Vacay has ended. Here are a couple ways they do that:
"The day after your first-time guest pup gets picked up, post a photo of him/her in your slideshow. Then text/message the pup’s parents thanking them for choosing you as a host, mentioning how much you enjoyed their pup, and informing them that you’ve included their dog in your profile page’s slideshow. Include your Pack Promoter URL in the body of the message. Most people will share it on social media with a blurb about how much they loved your services."
-Deborah S. & Rafael R. (Los Angeles, CA)
10. Use our Meet-n-Greet and Vacay Guides & Forms to prepare for successful interactions with your first Guests. Get them here.