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Rise in demand for ‘tailored’ pet travel

OUR TENDANCY to treat pets as members of the family has led to a rise in demand for tailored pet travel facilities in the UK. This is the conclusion of a Euromonitor report published for the World Travel Market London 2007, Travel Industry Exhibition taking place this week at ExCel London.
According to Euromonitor, (and without defining individual species of 'pets'), the UK pet population rose to 49 million in 2007 from 47 million in 2002. The report says there is a significant lack of supply to meet demand for pet travel products and services, with hotels being the only sector to actively target pet owners.

The statement has been disputed by the self-catering cottage rental sector and The Caravan Club, both of whom point out that they have been catering to the pet owner for many years.
Natasha Shane, Head of E-Commerce, The Caravan Club commented: ‘The Caravan industry already embraces this, offering pet owners great flexibility and choice to take their pets with them at no extra cost and we even insure them when on holiday.’

Euromonitor says there is no transportation or tour operator service offering packages specifically targeted towards this consumer group. Dogs represent almost 80% of pet travellers, and their owners, says the report, will be prepared to pay a premium to guarantee the health and well-being of their canine companions, as much as 30% on standard prices.

With pet travel expected to grow by an estimated 6% per year for the next five years, the report predicts that the next two years will see many more hoteliers coming onto the scene to offer pet-friendly services.