For VND500,000 (US$22) a day or less, pet owners in Vietnam who will be away from home for the upcoming Tet holiday can have their pets tended to by professional pet sitters.
The recently-emerging service is most commonly available in big cities including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang, where demand is high.
Tet, or the Lunar New Year festival, is the biggest public holiday in Vietnam observed around late January or early February, when people celebrate the coming of a new lunar year.
This year, Tet falls on February 5, with public workers given a nine-day break ending February 10.
Many Vietnamese people are away from their regular place of residence during this festive season, either to travel or to visit their family and relatives who live in other provinces and cities.
This creates a market for the pet sitting service to cash in on.
Calling themselves “pet hotels," these facilities feature air-conditioned rooms designed specifically for keeping pets, tapping a growing need of city dwellers to have someone look after their pets while they are away for the holiday.
CCTV cameras are installed in each room so owners can keep an eye on their pets over the Internet, while veterinarians and pet care workers are available 24/7 to feed, bathe, play with and provide medical checkups for the animals during the course of their stay.
A regular room, fit for one animal, can set the owner back VND150,000 ($6.5) a day during the Tet holiday, while a VIP room can cost twice as much.
For large pets weighing up to 40 kilograms, one night’s stay at a pet hotel can cost up to VND500,000 ($22), according to the owner of a pet hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.
Lower rates of around VND8,000-45,000 ($0.35-1.95) a day are charged for small animals such as hamsters, hedgehogs, squirrels, guinea pigs and rabbits.
Pet hotels also offer additional services such as grooming and spa for the animals, which cost an extra VND100,000-650,000 ($4.30-28) per service.
Ho Trung Truc, an employee at a pet hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, said demand for pet sitting during this year’s Tet holiday has grown 50 percent compared to 2018.
Customer retention remains high at around 80 percent, Truc said.
“We have imported new, modern pet houses that are equipped with automatic air purifiers and humidifiers,” he added.