A look inside South Africa’s first “5-star” luxury hotel for dogs

Small businesses contribute 30% to South Africa’s GDP – while this a significant portion, it is still less than the 50% seen in more developed economies.

Enterprising individuals are looking to unique and interesting gaps in the market, and finding opportunities to build businesses to close this gap.

One such venture is a luxury hotel for dogs in Cape Town – atFrits – the self proclaimed “Hilton Hotel for dogs”.

The hotel offers day, night and overnight care packages, with private rooms – styled in a variety of ways – as well as shared living space. It also offers “spa” services for pets as add-ons.

Prices range from R155 for daycare, R100 for evening care, and between R280 and R530 for an overnight stay. An additional pet draws the same cost with a 10% discount, while “day pass” packages are also available, giving a rate for a number of days’ access (5 to 20) over six months.

atFrits owner, Yanic Klue, said she identified a gap in the market for luxury pet care and accommodation, and started working on a concept and planning for a dog hotel.

However, one of the key areas where entrepreneurs often fall flat is in marketing their products, Klue said.

“Entrepreneurs are sometimes too impatient, and end up starting their business prematurely. They don’t think through all influencing aspects, and how they are going to reach their target market and create trust,” she said.

“For us, most of these dogs are people’s kids. You won’t leave your children in an environment that you yourself will not feel comfortable in. At atFrits it’s all about how the brand looks, feels, sounds, smells and the quality of service we deliver. Trust and consistency is everything.”

Live cameras are installed in all the rooms, so worried ‘parents’ can tap in and keep an eye on their pets, remotely.

The hotel opened in December 2015, and has since seen an occupancy rate of 90% all-year round.

Klue employs 23 staff members at the atFrits in Cape Town, and has signed up two new franchises which Klue hopes will grow to the same scale, and employ the same number of people.

Read: SA Fintech startups to watch

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A look inside South Africa’s first “5-star” luxury hotel for dogs