Airbnb vs TrustedHousesitters

I am not having my first sitters and someone asked me why I don’t just rent through Airbnb. I have never done that and wonder why owners have chosen TH over Airbnb. Thanks.

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Because they’re completely different things. Airbnb is what people do when they want to go on vacation and spend all their time exploring a new location. They don’t pay you to come do work for you. Pet sitters live in the home for free and in exchange their main focus is caring for your pet and if there is time, they do some sight seeing.

I’ve had sits where, due to circumstances, literally all I did was care for the pet. I walked from the home to the vet or the market. That was it for 2 weeks. If I was doing airbnb, no way would that have happened so the HO would have had to scramble to figure something out while they were on a different continent with limited availability.


An Airbnb guest wouldn’t look after your pets or garden.

Airbnb rental isn’t as easy as everyone thinks. There’s a lot of thought, time and money invested to make it a success. There are always problems with cleaning, bed linen, towels, guests disregard for your property, things going missing, cancellations, noise……you name it and it happens.
Even, once it is set up properly it takes time and management skills to run it.


Your question is a little unclear - are you a home owner or a sitter?
With Airbnb and THS the owner invites strangers to stay in their property. Other than that they are totally different things.
With Airbnb a guest pays to stay in an owners place - They come and go as they wish and have no responsibilities other than respecting the place. The guests time whilst staying is all theirs.
With THS sitters are invited to stay as an exchange for looking after the owners pets and property in their absence. Usually the main responsibility is the care of the pets This means having to divide their time between pleasure and responsibilities.


Thank you so much.

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Were you saying that other people have said to you, “Why don’t [sitters] just do Airbnb instead of coming to your home?” or more like, “Why don’t you charge people to stay in your home AND take care of the home and pet(s)?”

Unfortunately, there are people who have the 2nd mentality.

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Hi Colin,
I am an owner and i can be more specific. I have two cats with no special needs. I know Airbnb
owners who have rented with the stipulation that, with a discount, the renter tend to their cat.
Clearly, healthy cats are easier to care for than dogs or other animals might be, and the
renters can still enjoy their vacation. I also have a vacation house I rent, and I know the pains
of renting. The two advantages I can see of being an Airbnb is that the renters are most likely
to show up, and a negative review would be pretty detrimental to their future travels. Whereas
with TH, I see a hesitancy to write negative reviews and am not sure you can write one if they
don’t show up. Also, TH has competitors to which sitters can switch.

Hi Katie,
The second. Why don’t I charge people to stay in my home and take care of my cats?

I think it comes down to priorities: which is more important? good care for your pet or making money?


My pets are a priority. So, the concern is that payers may be more reliable in showing up. I
just don’t have a plan B and it makes me nervous.

OK. So here’s a cautionary tale that may give you pause:

When Airbnb was new-ish, I was traveling a bit for work and I had a nice, 1 BR townhouse. I had only rented it out 2x and had boarded my cat during those times. A last-minute work trip came up. I had little time to plan. I listed the home on Airbnb and had an immediate request. In our correspondence, I reiterated that a cat normally lives there in case of allergies (it was also in the listing). He asked where the cat would be, and I said, “I’m looking into kennels.” This man replied, “Oh, I love cats! I will be happy to take care of him if he’s there.” I was surprised but pleased, and offered him a deep discount on the stay. We spoke and he seemed on board with the cat’s care.

When I returned to my home, my cat seemed desperate to see me. I quickly noticed why. All of the cat food I’d left out for a week (pouches, for ease) were still sitting on the windowsill. Only the large can in the fridge–that was already open and about half-empty when I left–was mostly empty. I had to contact the man anyway, because he had (oddly) left his computer monitor and a few other random things. When he came by to pick up these items, I asked him why the cat food I’d left out and told him about was still sitting there (along with the written instructions). “Well, there was a can in the fridge!” I said that that was only enough for a couple of meals at most.

He gave off odd vibes, and there was no point going further. I just said, here’s your stuff, thanks. He later sent me come-on texts, like “whatcha doin sweetcheeks?” and other random texts.

I can only imagine how this man must have ignored his pleas for food. Or, maybe he left him outside all the time (he was indoor/outdoor) and wouldn’t let him in (and it was very cold).

I should add that I know that this was all on me. I should not have gone through with this arrangement.


They may be more reliable showing up because they’re paying. that doesn’t mean they’ll take good care of your pets. People doing airbnb are doing it to go on vacation not to care for your pets. Your pets will not be their priority and will likely be cared for as an after thought. If you interview sitters and choose someone with strong references, it’s unlikely you’ll have issues.

Do you want someone who’s there so they don’t lose money or who is there because they genuinely care for animals and want to care for yours.

Personally, I would judge any airbnb host who trusted an airbnb guest to care for their pets appropriately. I would question how much they care about their pet if they’re willing to just leave it with any rando looking for a discounted place to stay while on vacation.


OK, well, it sounds like you should stick to boarding your cat/cats.

BTW, Airbnb guests’ plans change, especially with covid. Unlike THS and the like, that renter is under zero obligation to show up, stay in the place for any length of time, feed on schedule, respond to your queries, etc. I know I sure would not want to clean a cat pan and pay for the privilege!


@cmalexan I’m puzzled by your idea that renters are more likely to show up. The reverse is that I can only assume that you think THS sitters are less likely to show up. I will vouch for my fellow sitters here, who are overwhelmingly dedicated to the point of amazing many homeowners by the extent they will go to give their all to their chosen sit. No doubt there is the exception, but that’s life. Also, you may read here of sitters cancelling, but again it is overwhelmingly out of their control and governed by the pandemic.

I suggest that, if THS is your Plan B, that you embrace it wholeheartedly, give it your all in the effort you put into your listing, taking advice from what you read in the various posts. Then it’s likely you’ll be surprised by your cats’ response, in one of two ways. They’ll either be content, cared for, and happy to see you, or they’ll curl up on the sitters’ lap and you’ll feel ignored. Either way, you’ll have happy cats. Yes, you’ll have missed out on possible income, but that’s where you decide your priorities.


Hi @cmalexan - I have been an Airbnb host for 13 years, I am currently Admin on an Airbnb host forum with almost 7000 host members and have used Airbnb as a guest over 150 times.
I have been a sitter on THS 12 times.

  • They are very different things attracting very different people for very different reasons -
    Personally, I honestly would not try to mix the two. -
    I have no idea why you think a THS sitter is less likely to show up? Sitters for THS are pet lovers and take the responsibility very seriously.
    Airbnb guests that get bad reviews can easily set up new accounts.
    Airbnb has competitors that guests can switch to.

If you have a sitter from THS sitting for your cats, the most important aspect of their stay is the well being of your cats.
This will not be the case if you leave your cats in the care of Airbnb guests - their priorities are, totally different.

Trying to mix the two, in my opinion, is very risky, if the ‘deal’ went wrong - it would be your cats that suffered the consequences


Hi Colin,
I appreciate your point of view. I like to think that TH sitters are all pet lovers who are serious. ButI read that some do not show up or cancel very late. It is probably not often. I realize that those
who have extensive reviews are probably very safe. I would also like to give newbies a chance,
but I probably should have more experience first so I have more confidence.

HI @cmalexan

The cases of TH sitters cancelling or not showing up is very rare - The chances of it happening to you are tiny. The problem is that people only tend to write when things go wrong which gives the impression that it happens more than it does in reality.

The same happens in the Airbnb group that I Admin - every day someone writes about a bad guest they have had then other , new hosts think its common to have bad guests when, in reality it is very rare.

Both are great sites and I would really recommend both.

If you just want to let your home use Airbnb

If you want someone to care for your cats use THS

To do either, you do need to be confident to trust and open your home to strangers. I understand that this can initially be difficult and the idea is definitely is not for everybody. An alternative would be to ask a friend or family member to stay whist you are away?


Thanks. Good info. Don’t have a friend or family member who will stay. And college kids would
just throw a party!!!

I haven’t heard of that option - getting a discount for feeding someone’s cats while I stay in their airbnb - but I supposed it might work. Normally it’s the other way around though. I paid someone to stay in my house and look after my two dogs and one cat (and cut my lawn and water my plants) before I found THS.

But anyway, as others have said, THS is different. No money changes hands, and sitters care for your home AND pets whether they are cats or dogs or a small farm. Sitters from THS are generally dedicated to looking after your pets. Someone paying to rent an airbnb might be fine as well, but I would think their main goal is to go on holiday and your pets would be secondary.

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Thanks, Kelownagurl.

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