Stepping up your boarding game

SupplementsHospital Design360 June 2020
Volume 1
Issue 1

If you’re considering adding boarding facilities in your veterinary practice, here are some tips for improving accommodations while also marketing your services.

It’s no secret that boarding facilities are a growing trend in the veterinary market. Higher-end pet resorts are being franchised all across America. And with more and more pet owners requiring “supervised” boarding with medical attention for their pets, providing facilities that meet those needs without sacrificing the “camp” or “spa” feel can provide additional avenues of income.

The increased traffic from these services can bring potential new clientele not only for boarding but also for routine annual care and other future medical needs. From luxury boarding to doggy daycare, these services can help increase earnings in a new or existing practice. And thoughtful design work can generate a number of ways to provide housing options that double as marketing tools.

Make an impression

Luxe accommodations

Just a few luxury accommodations can go a long way in marketing what your practice offers. Advertising these suites can leave the impression with potential clients that your facility is a step above the competition and provides top-quality care for their loved ones. Even if those clients choose not to pay the additional cost for a suite, they may decide to board their pet through the other housing options at your facility because they feel that you will go above and beyond in the service you provide.

themed boarding rooms

Themed luxury boarding rooms. (All images courtesy of BDA Architecture)

log cabins

"Log cabin" luxury boarding room.

Luxury multilevel cat condos.

No more ‘doggy jail’

Along with offering luxury suite accommodations, the use of glass run gates rather than “bars” in your standard housing will portray a higher-end atmosphere. And removing the feel of “doggy jail” can be done at nearly the same cost. Likewise, incorporating different-sized enclosures will allow for broader coverage of patients’ needs.

Pops of color

The use of brightly colored housing units also gives a nonclinical feel that will resonate with pet owners. Most of the run manufacturers in the industry provide side panel options that come in a variety of fun colors.

glass doors and colored panels

A boarding room with glass doors and colored panels.

Another benefit to using a pre-manufactured dividing panel rather than a site-built wall such as concrete block is the amount of space you will save. Over a stretch of six runs you may be able to recapture enough space to include a full additional run, which will increase your potential revenue by 15%. With the ever-increasing costs of construction, getting the most out of every square foot is important.

Let them play

Providing play yards can be an important step as well. Even a small enclosed area tells clients that playtime is available for their loved ones and that they won’t be cooped up all day. Both exterior and interior play areas need special attention in their design to deal with odor and drainage, but they can offer year-round amenities that separate your practice from your competitors.

Wide open indoor play space with garage doors leading to outside play areas.

outdoor dog runs

Sectioned-off outdoor exercise yards.

Since joining BDA Architecture in 1999, Dave Gasser has specialized his architectural degree in the design of animal care facilities. Now a partner in the firm, Dave has completed over 100 animal care facilities in the past 20 years, with several receiving hospital design awards.

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