If you’re looking to book a room for Fido on the fly or want to see photo updates of your canine companion while on the road, then DogVacay might have just the app for you. The collaborative consumption startup, which pairs perspective dog boarders with dog owners (and their pooches), launched its first customer facing mobile app today, bringing all of its online services into the iPhone.
DogVacay already had an app for its dog hosts that allows them to manage their bookings and communications with customers. The new iOS app, however, is intended for dog ‘parents,’ which from personal experience I can assure you are a rather obsessive lot when it comes to their pets.
According to co-founder and CEO Aaron Hirschhorn, the app allows you to perform all of the same actions on the DogVacay website – create profiles for your pet, research different hosts, and reserve and pay for sitting dates – but it’s also meant to be an instant communication tool. Customers can call or e-mail their hosts with one click from the app as well as receive push notification photos of their pets during their stays.
Like many of the collaborative consumption startups out there such as Airbnb and Lyft, DogVacay isn’t focusing on professional businesses – just ordinary people who have the space, time and desire to take care of other people’s pets in exchange for a fee. Hirschhorn said that the upper limit of rates boarders can set is $100 per dog, but the average rate among its 10,000 hosts is just $28 a night, far cheaper than any kennel.
DogVacay supplies the insurance, handles the billing and payments and provides emergency support service, but there’s an upper limit of three dogs any given host can care for at once. No one is going to get rich being a boarder on DogVacay. This isn’t a network of professional kennels, Hirshhorn said, it’s a collection of dog lovers, many of them retirees.