Episode 19: Elena Dede – Woof Together

Elena Dede

Woof Together is a startup company establishing the standards in pet-friendly hospitality. Embracing a global travel trend, our company assists hotels and rental properties in Europe and the US in delivering unique pet-friendly experiences to travelers with pets.

In Woof Together, we assess, certify and provide training for pet-friendly hospitality businesses and we act as suppliers for pet amenities. We dream of a world where dogs are welcome everywhere and dog parents are empowered to explore every destination along with their furry companions. Our passion is pet-friendly hospitality and our mission is to revolutionize pet-friendly travel.

 

Learn more about Woof Together:

Check out their website at https://wooftogether.com/.

 

Follow Woof Together on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wooftogether/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wooftogether

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/wooftogethercompany/


I’m Alina, they like co founder and Ceo moved together from Athens Greece and I’m really happy to be at the Animal Innovation show. You’ve tuned into the Animal Innovation show where we feature people, products, services and ideas that are helping animals and the people who care for them live better lives if it’s innovative and if it helps animals you can find it here first. So get ready. Here comes this week’s newest innovation for animals. Yeah, perfect. Thanks for coming on today, Elena, you’re our first international guests on the Animal Innovation show. So, congratulations on that, wow, why don’t know notice. Thank you so much. So tell us a little bit about who you are and tell us a little bit about your innovation and how you’re helping animals. Okay, obviously I’m an animal’s person. All of my entrepreneurial attempts had to do with animals either managing stray animals or facilitating pets traveling with. They’re bad parents and exploring the world hassle free. This is the mission of move together at the moment. So I am also the founder of the biggest NGO for stray animals in Greece. I’m a lawyer. I started law in Athens and the UK. And my commitment and my passion is to make life better for people and animals. So this is how we work together basically was born. Yeah. How does work together work? What’s the concept? Okay, so go together is a pecker startup within the travel and hospitality industry. What we basically do is that we raise the standards for pet friendly hotels and properties. We know that people are very much disappointed sometimes with large pet fees that don’t, you know, corresponds to a pet friendly service or they have to move along their dog beds and their dog balls. And they have a huge excited sometimes if their pets will be truly welcome. So we wanted to make the standards for what a pet friendly accommodation actually means because at this point each hotelier and its host have a totally different opinion on what the friendly actually means. So for us you cannot claim that your pet friendly property if you don’t have some basic amenities for the pet. It’s really irrational to me to expect people carrying their dogs stuff along wherever they go. Yeah, we do it anyway, right? We do it anyway. I mean they’re kind of like our Children, so we’re always packing a bag for the dog. But I totally get your point. It’s a bigger deal when you’re traveling and staying in a hotel. Yeah, it’s crazy to have to carry all these things. And what is more frustrating to me is the fact that you’re not aware of the pet policy beforehand. I mean the pet policies online are so limited to some basic stuff. For instance, the dog size allowance or the best way, of course. So it’s not just that. I mean, there are so many other things that comes as surprise is when you finally get there. And I think this is very unfair to quit parents. And during Covid the special human pet bone was so much strengthened. So I believe that the new era of traveling will involve a lot of people going around with their pets. And I believe that our responsibility is to prepare the industry to create very nice and complete experiences for these people. And that goes to tours and activities that goes to a hotel being prepared for a pet emergency, like a medical emergency. Of the way hotels are prepared for a medical emergency for people they should be prepared or a pet medical emergency and things like this. And I don’t believe that this is very you know, utopian or a man thing. I think that this is how the hospitality and travel industry should think today, like niche markets for niche needs and for different types of travelers. I absolutely love that and I agree it shouldn’t be an afterthought, It should just be part of what they do right there catering to people and we all love our animals. So why not cater to both of them? So how does a business? So if there’s a hotel that’s listening or whatever, how do they go about getting to be a part of this program? How do they get rated? How do they get certified? What would you do if your cat stop breathing? Would you be able to check their pulse or perform rescue breathing and cpR in time to save their life. Getting certified in cat first Aid and CpR is essential to being prepared in case of an emergency. That’s why the Animal Rescue Professionals Association teamed up with Denise fleck the pet safety crusader to bring you the courses and certifications. You need to be prepared. Their cat first aid and CPR course will teach you what you need to know about how to find your cats, pulse and respiration rates and how to conduct rescue breathing and see pcr if required. You also learn how to deal with other emergencies like snakebites, bee stings and tick removal. So you can render the age or pet requires, learn more at www dot animal rescue professionals dot org and get certified today. Okay, So we are 3 60 full service and we have a pet amenities. We act as pediment suppliers. So for instance, if a hotel lacks some basic pet amenities, we don’t supply them with pet amenities they need. And we have also a variety of clinic products that are dedicated to remove either pet here or pet dirt or pet adores. This is the most challenging part for hotel is and host there so much afraid of all these small damages a dog could live behind. Most of them are silly and they’re very easily removed. Another thing is that we have the move together academy. This is the service that I’m mostly proud of because it’s the first full online professional training curriculum for pet friendly businesses and for hosts and hoteliers. We have 25 episodes and this training tutorials, they cover housekeeping, revenue management, from desk marketing, how to communicate your pet policy, online crisis management. Let’s say that we have a very disturbing uh, pet, those are the statues should follow. And this is the first time that we, we created some, you know, a framework to all these pet related operations within a hotel. And I’m really proud because our team worked very hard about that, There was nothing relevant before. So we had, you know, to put our all of our inspiration and, and of course ask great hoteliers and people in the industry and consult them as well as professors in traveling touring schools. So we came up with the school or friendly hotel years and I’m really glad about it. And the third part is that we partner with an international certified here. This is to Austria. They’re very well acknowledged company all over the world. And we launched the first official certification for pet friendly hotels starting mostly medium and large sized hotel chains. So if hotel chain is doing well on, you know, accommodating pets. Some of these hotels, they have their own products, you know, branded dog beds, which is super cute and nice. Um, so we certify that they meet international standards to accommodate travelers with pets and to deliver a full experience. And this is basically what we do basically write a lot of work. I really love the fact that you approached it from the standpoint of helping these hotels to be successful. So it wasn’t just, hey, we’re going to give you a rating. It’s no, here’s all the elements of what it means to be pet friendly and here’s how the revenue model works and here’s how the cleaning works and here’s how you deal with difficult situations. I really love that you took that holistic approach so that they can be successful in doing this. Absolutely. And you’re not chris what is the most fascinating part of our training program is older revenue chapter, because hoteliers are getting fascinated and on how many revenue, how much revenue they miss from neglecting the pet audience. There are some behavioral trends around pet parents that are so strong that you meet them very early within the travelers community. And I will start with the most fascinating of all pet parents are eight times more engaged in living a five star review. If their pet was well treated at a hotel or property, this means this means that you could have five star or 10 out of 10 reviews just because their pet was well treated and they could, you know, miss some other points of their experience that was not equally excellent, but they feel so happy and so satisfied when their pets are treated as family because this is what pets are today for people, their family. So they are the best reviewers of pet friendly accommodations. One, the experience, of course is reliable and excellent. And you should translate this into the following statement. If a hotel increases their rating score by 0.1, they increased their annual revenue by 25%. Yes. And this is this is not my personal point. This is an official survey from Harvard Business School. So it’s great to see that going after good reviews. It’s about delivering a great experience and that that’s not of course exhausted for pet parents when they travel. It’s about every type of travelers about all audiences, but pet parents and so much more engaged in acknowledge the fact that they were well accommodated. So it’s a great audience to target at the end of the day. Yeah, I really love your business focus. Like you’ve really thought about this from that economic standpoint, because it is that’s what hotels are trying to do right there, trying to cater to us for an experience. And a lot of us don’t have kids and our pets are our kids, right? So having that experience, being able to travel with them knowing that they’re going to be well cared for, it fits in with the hotel so that it’s not just oh we’re going to charge you $80. Have your pets sleep in the same room with you? The hotel is is focused around making a good experience for me with my animal. So now when did you guys launch this and how’s it going? Well, we found in this company in november 2019 just three months before the pandemic hits. Travel industry like anything before. So someone could say that this is not a perfect timing, but during this year we were able to observe the trends, the uprising trends in the travel industry. And there are three trends at the moment that we could actually invest on and help not only our business to grow but also the industry to elevate. So the first trend is that people are so much more attached with their pets. So traveling will be think the next year that’s a fact. Again, there are other surveys marks pet care better cities for pets. They made a huge survey and 60% of people said that they will travel along with their beds when travel is again released. This is a huge percent that of course it’s just us, but it’s not very different in europe too. Second trend is that people are much more sensitive about the social, corporate responsibility of the travel industry, so they are much more into sustainable tourism and they are much more into give back programs. So we incentivize our hotels to create a give back program to local animal shelters and advocate about these programs and being proud about them and do marketing campaigns, you know, presenting their animal friendly profile and this cannot go without a reliable pet friendly experience. And the free trend in the industry at the moment is that travelers are segmented to smaller groups and they have MS needs that the industry should accommodate separately. So family traveling is one thing, but traveling is another thing. Solo traveling is another thing. Um, the elder people traveling is another thing with other needs to be accommodated. So it’s not a model that fits everyone. It’s as a hotel, as a business, as a unit. We need to provide for accommodating different, different needs. And first we need to map this needs to acknowledge this needs to recognize that these people will deserve an experience that we have to deliver at some point. So bringing these trends together, this is how we move together, came up with this type of services and despite the fact that we have a global pandemic, we managed to get funded, we managed to have clients in 14 countries at the moment and amazing. Yes, and we hope that thank you so much and we hope that after june things will get so much better for us when you know hotels are back in business and people will start traveling again. We know you love animals, but maybe you’re not sure how you can get involved to help save the hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs needlessly euthanized every year. Did you know there’s one place you can go to to sign up as a volunteer transporter foster or even social ambassador for Rescue animals, Joubert dot com is custom built by animal rescuers for animal rescuers. You simply create a profile and choose the ways that you can help do. But is proud to support more than 5000 rescues and shelters and more than 30,000 duper tears just like you working to save animals join us and you can save lives, simply go to www dot google dot com to get started today. Very cool. It seems like you said you’ve turned they always turned Lemons into lemonade, right? I mean you can’t predict something like a pandemic from a timing standpoint, but it sounds like you guys have really made a lot of progress. So I’m curious. I mean what’s your background? How did you come up with this? Because this is so thought out and so well researched and orchestrated. I mean what’s your background? I’m a lawyer, myself and my co founder George, he’s a marketeer. He has a huge experience in the advertising industry. Of course we consulted experts in the industry. This is how it goes. So we we were one of the 30 finalists in the World Travel Organization. This is a U. N. Subsidiary on sustainable tourism. So we were one of the 30 finalists in the hospitality challenge. We get access to the resources. So we reached out to experts, their professors in schools and hoteliers running you know, huge hotel companies at the moment. And we put all this intelligence under you know, a team creating the standards building a training program. That makes sense for the industry and really helps people attending it. So it’s a teamwork as every successful process I think. So it’s a teamwork and we we understood that we need to get in the depth of what pet friendly really is and not just staying on the surface of, you know, having some basic pet amenities. And that’s all I know. It’s deeper and a very well prepared hotel makes a difference in terms of a hotel that people were never trained to know how to handle specific circumstances. And then we said, we need to reward reliable pet friendly hotels. We need to make them stand out from competition. We need to make them known to the public. We need to reward them and we need to advocate for them as uh, leaders in the industry and as a good parenting for others to follow. And this is how our model is built. And we’ll see how pet friendly hospitality will grow next year mostly. But I’m really optimistic about businesses realizing the potential and also the opportunity they have missed all these years. Yeah. So what’s next for you guys? I know you’re in 14 countries. I’m sure it’s rolling out to even more. But what does the future look like? What are you going to work on? Well, we are modest this year because of the pandemic. It’s not over yet. You know, everyone is making predictions. And the industry, you know, there’s so many profits but we’ll never know if uh if a specific percentage of the global population is not vaccinated, then we cannot really discuss about reopening traveling. So we’re focused on launching the move together. Academy more aggressively to the United States and Australia. Were focused on expanding our certification model again in the US and Australia more because we have a bigger market share in the european market at the moment. We are mostly, you know, we are muslim, the european market so we want to come out with louder with the Academy and the certification model. And then I believe that 2022 will be greater year and the pandemic will be much more controlled and other, you know, changes will open for other, you know, big players and stakeholders in the travel industry for us. No, I think that’s a good prediction, right? We all want to just put 2020 behind us. 2021 is kind of that transitional year and 2022 has got some brighter features for what we all want to do, right? Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. This has been really cool to talk to and I’m really excited to see what you guys were doing with Wolf together because I, like I said, I feel like it’s really well thought out and it’s not just, hey, get our badge, get our certification, there’s really some really well thought out processes and support and stuff that’s built into that. So if people want to learn more about it, they want to get a hold of you, where should they go? They should go and move together dot com. And we have all of our emails there. They could get directly in touch with us or on lending or in every social medium. So yeah, we, we were more than happy to ask any questions and give any feedback and share what we’ve learned so far from working with pet friendly hotels all over europe and how we believe we could be part of the solution, making every dog feel welcome everywhere in the world. Very much. I love that. I very much love that. That’s a really great way to close things out. So we remind our viewers and listeners if if you’ve got an idea for an innovation or know somebody I should talk to go to innovations that show and let us know about it. Maybe we’ll have him on the show. So thanks again, Elena for coming on. It was really great to talk to you. Thank you chris for inviting me. Thank you so much. Thanks for joining us for the animal innovations show. If you want to volunteer to help animals, check out Dilbert dot com where you can join tens of thousands of do for tears, supporting rescues and shelters around the world to help animals. And if you know if something or someone innovative that’s helping animals, let us know by going to www dot innovations dot show. Mhm.

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