LONDON, England – With the results of the Brexit referendum overshadowing holiday plans this summer, almost half (49.4%) of 2,000 Britons surveyed are worried about the cost of travel. And 43.6% believe they will turn to the sharing economy to make travel more affordable following the decision to leave the EU.
The survey, conducted by 3GEM for TrustedHousesitters, a website which matches pet lovers with free house-sitting opportunities around the world, also reveals that after finances, pets are the single biggest factor stopping people from going on holiday more often. More than half (50.7%) said they would travel more frequently if they had better pet care, with over one third (37%) taking at least two more trips abroad each year.
Andy Peck, CEO and founder of TrustedHousesitters said: “In times of economic uncertainty, when the cost of travel appears prohibitive, it is an extra burden to pay for pet care on top of flights and accommodation. Aside from the costs, our survey found that 88% of people say their pets are happier at home keeping the same routine than being put in a kennel.
“The sharing economy has grown massively in recent years, with more and more people realising that it is not just about saving money – sharing for mutual benefit can also lead to far richer life experiences. What we offer is a pure play version of the sharing economy because no money changes hands between house sitters and pet owners. This win-win approach to sharing builds a strong bond of trust, and at a time when people are concerned that politics is driving us apart, this is an example of how helping each other can create strong altruistic relationships. Regardless of whatever happens politically, we’re doing our bit to enrich lives and build trust amongst a growing global community.”
Richard Branson, who awarded the company with his Virgin Media GREAT Business award last month*, said: “As people’s access to the internet grows we’re seeing the sharing economy boom – I think our obsession with ownership is at tipping point and the sharing economy is part of the antidote for that.”
Also in the survey, 72% of people admit to loving their animals as if they are children, with the majority saying their pets have helped them get through a difficult time like a bereavement, health problems and work worries. In spite of this, only 6% travel with their pet when they go on holiday.
Most of those who do use kennels and paid-for pet-sitters say that they find the services expensive with one fifth spending more than £40 per night. More than 73% say their pet knows when they are about to leave for a holiday.
Dr Scott Miller, best known as the vet on the TV show The Vet on the Hill, said: “Animals do respond to a new carer better than a new environment. Most animals are particularly bonded to their home and the smells that are present there and also the smells of their owners, even when they’re not there. So for me, it’s best if they can stay put, stay in their own surroundings, and be looked after by a carer. And that’s what TrustedHousesitters provides.”
TrustedHousesitters has already helped members to save over £150m in pet care and accommodation. The site operates in 140 countries and has tens of thousands of house sitting opportunities abroad or closer to home for the ultimate low-cost staycation, as well as thousands of house sitters registering each month. House sitters build a trust profile, including previous pet care experiences, third party references, criminal background checks, video profiles as well as being rated by existing members. Home & pet owners choose the sitters who best match their needs.
Peck continued: “Many of our house sitters are retired and may have owned pets previously but are now at a life stage where they don’t want to commit another decade or two of ownership, but they still love animals and want to travel, so this helps fill a pet shaped hole for them. A growing number are in their twenties to fifties and they live online lifestyles, meaning they can work anywhere in the world – but they don’t always want to stay in hotels. And of course it’s a brilliant way for families to have authentic travel experiences that money can’t buy, especially helping summer break price hikes and for everyone to enjoy the fulfillment of looking after an animal that will welcome you into its home while being spared the stress of foreign travel or a new living environment.”
Andy Peck, CEO and founder of TrustedHousesitters.com, house sitter Charli Moore and home and pet owner Kathy Robinson explain why house sitting is a great solution for travel.
Kathy’s pets, George the black Labrador and Charlie the ragdoll cat, star in a new video showing the goodwill that makes house sitting such a success.
* Survey of 2000 UK adults by 3GEM for TrustedHousesitters. July 2016.