Just one of the articles from Pet Care Pro Quarterly, IBPSA’s digital magazine for pet care services professionals. Read the current issue online here.
bo͞oˈtēk | noun | a business that serves a sophisticated or specialized clientele
Hotel News Now, a news outlet for “hotel decision makers”, identified “5 trends in the boutique business”:
- Guests want what they want
- Location less important
- Togetherness and technology matter
- Distribution is now democratized
- Lenders have bought in
Does any of this sound familiar? In the world of pet care services, we are very familiar with guests who want what they want. That bone. That spot in the pool. The food out of that bowl, not this bowl. And we know that their owners will travel outside their immediate area to make sure they get what they want. Togetherness and technology are certainly an integral part of pet care services today thanks to video cameras in enclosures, text updates and social media posts of happy, funny pets for “parents” to see, and televisions for entertainment in high-end suites. While big chains can make a nationwide splash, local pet care businesses have an equal opportunity to capture customers thanks to the internet (democratized distribution), and their lenders will buy in on a sound business plan that leverages the solid data and robust growth in the pet care services industry.
In short, whether for two-legged or four-legged clients, these lodging boutique trends reflect that it’s not the size that matters, but the services offered, the clientele to whom they’re being offered, and how those services are delivered.
“Cats are connoisseurs of comfort.”
– James Herriot
And many might argue, Mr. Herriot, also the very definition of “sophisticated or specialized clientele”, which is why MeowLux, a Luxury Boutique Cat Hotel, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, could not be more purrfectly named. With ten suites featuring amenities such as a flat screen TV, films of fish and birds, a cat-cam, a premium cat tree, climbing shelves, hiding places, and toys for hours of cat-inspired entertainment, MeowLux is taking boutique lodging trends to the next level.
The masterminds behind MeowLux are Ana and Joey Lampert – no, they’re not the cats. The couple, who live in Fort Lauderdale and love to travel, have had cats all of their lives. Unable to find feline-only facilities, as are far more common in Europe, or other pet care facilities that met the needs of their cats and the standards of care they desired, they found themselves dependent upon friends to care for their cats while they traveled.
In a tale that may sound warmly familiar to other pet boarding facility owners, the lack of suitable lodging for their cats led to the realization there was an opportunity to create a specialized business that met their standards for pet care. For Ana and Joey, a place where cat boarding was not second to dog boarding. And, so, MeowLux was born.
“If you’re going on vacation, your cat should, too.”
Ana and Joey’s love of travel is seen in the MeowLux suite themes. From New York to London, a mountain lodge to a tropical rainforest, not only is each suite a different destination spot, but each offers different accommodations. The Rome Suite, for example, caters to an older cat with furnishings that would make it easier for a geriatric cat to move around.
Each suite can be adjusted based on each boarder’s preference to include lighting, climbing, and hiding behavior. To better serve the needs of the pet, the client owners are interviewed to learn the cat’s preferences, personality, and character, along with any special needs. This interview process ensures that the right room placement is achieved.
Because Joey and Ana understand the stress that felines experience when moving to a new environment, MeowLux tries to create a room that is most like the cat’s home. Each suite has a separate eating and elimination area. TVs are standard, and specialty videos are chosen to keep the cat entertained. Suites can also be connected to accommodate homes with multiple cats. To further decrease stress for feline and owner, a “cat cam” is available. Talk about “technology and togetherness”, the MeowLux live two-way interactive cat cams have an integrated phone app laser toy and voice so the cat can play with and hear ”Mom” and “Dad” even though they may be thousands of miles away. The camera also has night vision properties so the play and interaction can happen 24/7.
Standard services and ammenities at the facility include twice daily cleaning, climate controlled air purifier, cat toys, purified water, and premium bedding. With only ten suites, more attention can be given to each pet, helping ensure the same level of love and attention received at home.
The other trend in the boutique cat hotel business
MeowLux may be a boutique cat hotel, but Ana and Joey’s efforts and attention to detail for their sophisticated and specialized (and fluffy) clientele follow the general trends for a successful boutique hotel – cat or otherwise. And, when MeowLux joined as an IBPSA Member in February of this year, they became part of the association’s small but growing membership trend of cat-only boarding facilities. It’s an exciting time in the world of pet care services as providers like MeowLux find new niches in the market to provide quality care.
To learn more about MeowLux, visit meowlux.com.