Pooch owners in doghouse with agents over holiday booking havoc

By Lisa James
Home » Pooch owners in doghouse with agents over holiday booking havoc

Agents say clients are making them work even harder for their money by requesting changes to holiday dates so they can fit around finding someone to look after their pooch.

After settling on the perfect holiday option, agents say clients are then checking that their dog-sitter or local kennels has availability before confirming the booking.

By the time they confirm – which is often several days later – the holiday has gone and the agent is back to square one.

A combination of a rise in the number of households now owning dogs, plus the fact customers now expect more flexibility in bookings since COVID, means the situation has reached ‘a-paw-ling’ levels.

Agents, who are already contending with flight cancellations and other holiday headaches that make their job harder, are also having to amend the bookings to a different date to fit around dog care and, if the original choice is not available, to a different hotel, brand-new destination or even pushing the getaway back to next year.

One agent posted on Travel Gossip’s Facebook group to say she’d thrown ‘nearly two weeks’ work down the swanny’ because, by the time the client had checked with the dog-sitter, the holiday had gone.

She said she waited eight days for the client to come back to her, who then expressed disappointment the dream holiday had gone. She then found another option, and had to wait another 24 hours for the client to check with kennels. Once again, by the time the client had confirmed, the holiday had been snapped up by another customer.

She urged: “Note to clients – please will you check with your dog-sitter FIRST so that when I tell you that your dream holiday is all available, I can book it there and then?”

Another agent said clients had to rebook for next year because the dates didn’t fit with in with the dog and there was nothing else available for summer 2022.

The situation appears to have got worse since COVID – firstly because many households got ‘lockdown puppies’ but also, as one agent put it: “Customers had so much flexibility during COVID they’ve been spoiled and expect it all the time.”

Another said she is still waiting after spending days researching the perfect holiday for a family with special requirements.

“I’m going to start asking people are you ready to book now if I find something? At least we can prioritise if we do that,” the agent said.

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