Paws for thought when you book your holiday!
Whether it's cats and dogs or lizards and snakes ... ANIMALS AT HOME signs up with Thomson and First Choice to introduce a discounted holiday pet care service
It's a dog's life for pets when their owners go away on holiday. But a new pet care partnership agreement between Animals at Home and two of the country's leading holiday companies aims to relieve the stress – for pets and owners alike.
Since the start of February, First Choice and Thomson customers have been made aware at the time of booking their holiday of the specialist services available from Animals at Home via its 50-plus area franchises. And if they take advantage of what Animals At Home has to offer, the holiday-bound owners qualify for a 10% discount. They'll be guaranteed quality holiday care from the trained Animals At Home operatives for their pet – whatever it is.
The offer from Animals at Home applies for all domestic animals, from cats and dogs to lizards and snakes – and even to smallholdings! Services provided by the Animals at Home franchises range from dog walking to general pet care – either in the animal's own home or, in the case of dogs, at a registered foster home.
All Animals At Home operatives are fully trained and each franchise operates an animal ambulance / pet taxi specially equipped to the highest of standards for the movement of both healthy and sick animals. Each vehicle is licensed for the job by the UK State Veterinary Service (part of Defra, UK - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), as required by European law. "Between them, First Choice and Thomson sell more than two million holidays each year," says Mark Booty, who launched the fast-expanding Animals at Home network on the Isle of Wight six years ago with business partner Denis Chirgwin. "We estimate that around 900,000 of these will involve the need for pet care for more than seven days. The potential market is vast. It's a huge opportunity for us. "For each percent of the new business created, we anticipate that the deal with TUI UK could be worth around £1 million to Animals at Home and generate 230-plus new jobs across the country." Describing the agreement with the holiday companies as a "major step change," he adds: "The opportunity is not only there for our existing franchisees to expand their business – it's also a huge additional incentive for those people who are thinking of setting up a new franchise." The flourishing Animals At Home network is expected to grow by a further 14 franchises during 2009, bringing the total up to 65, "The link with First Choice and Thomson places Animals at Home firmly at the forefront of pet care provision in the UK," says Denis Chirgwin. "We are delighted to sign this agreement, which will make Animals at Home the only pet care providers introduced to their customers by First Choice and Thomson Holidays."
Senior Innovation Manager for First Choice and Thomson, Andrea Josse, is also delighted with the partnership. She explains: "Our customers have told us that care for their animals is one of their biggest worries when they go on holiday. Now, they can go away with the peace of mind that their beloved pets will be looked after by the best animal care company in the UK." The agreement with First Choice and Thomson – part of the TUI UK group – is the latest in a series of Animals At Home partnerships with major UK commercial concerns, underlining the extraordinary strides taken by Animals at Home in its short existence. The other partnership agreements signed by Animals At Home include one with Companion Care Vets, the veterinary subsidiary of the Pets at Home superstore chain.
Forty-eight of its 200-plus stores have Companion Care practices on the premises. Each of them recommends Animals At Home for veterinary transport and holiday care services. Meanwhile, Animals at Home has just signed a pet nutrition partnership agreement with Nestlé Purina, who are training Animals At Home franchisees to a high level of awareness, enabling them to offer sound nutritional advice to their customers and, if they wish, act as an outlet for Purina's Pro Plan range of food for cats and dogs.
Text supplied by The Word Service (Isle of Wight)
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