Dog-friendly businesses are best placed to gain access to our pockets, according to a survey by the Kennel Club
When business isn’t booming, how do you lure punters through the door? By appealing to their four-legged friends. Results of a Kennel Club survey suggest that however far the FTSE falls, the “paw pound” is holding up nicely.
Dog owners are more likely than most people to patronise local shops, it seems, and 6 per cent more likely to take holidays in the UK. Their holiday spending is also higher than average, though not everyone is keen to secure their custom. More than half the owners surveyed said they would spend more if shops were dog-friendly, and one in five would take more UK holidays if their dog was welcome (more than a third thought that this wasn’t true now).
With eight million dogs in the UK, that’s a lot of owners sitting on their hind legs, waiting to be patted. So who bothers to make a fuss of them? The Kennel Club has an annual competition to find out, inviting the public to nominate dog-friendly enterprises in several categories.
On the high street, best of breed is Metro Bank, with hundreds of dog owners praising the supply of water bowls, dog biscuits and even bandannas in branches. “We’re thrilled to win this award,” said Craig Donaldson, the bank’s CEO. “Our mantra is, ‘Dogs Rule’.” If he had a tail, it would be wagging.
Others on the winners’ rostrum include Laverock Holiday Cottages in Egglestone, Co Durham, which has a 120ft “dog agility area”, and Low Nest Farm in Keswick, Cumbria, where they provide heated kennels and a canine crèche for guests. At Pet Works in Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex, staff are allowed to bring their dogs to work “to promote a calm and productive environment”.
In these recessionary times, the message is clear: if the next person through the door happens to be accompanied by, say, a Great Dane, smile warmly and give them both some space. The one without the studs in his collar could be your best customer.