Better publicity

I’m pleased to see that THS has clearly taken note of our complaints as to the way it has been promoting itself with ‘free holidays’ and thereby attracting some of the wrong type of sitter. Now advertising as ‘Pet sitting that puts love first’
Now can we expect other changes that need to be implemented please?


But I wonder if “Pet sitting that puts love first” is geared toward the petparents and not the sitters? The advertising toward sitters needs to target travel lovers who love pets and have the skills, and clearly not people looking for a “free” holiday. Whether you’re a sitter or a pet parent, this really is “the pet lover’s travel hack.”

Could be geared to owners as well as sitters, whatever it’s an improvement I think

As a sitter I’m seeing the wrong type of HO joining the site over the last 2 years, thinking it’s unpaid pet sitting versus a mutual exchange: Free holiday accommodation in exchange for peace of mind that your animals and being taken care of whilst you’re on holiday.

‘Pet sitting that puts love first’ — This positioning seems to be the root of most problems I’m seeing in the forum. HOs with unrealistic expectations of what a sitter should do, and what the HO should be offering in exchange.

THS need to take a more balanced a approach to ensure it’s a win:win for both parties.

The original positioning when I joined in 2016 was a sense of ‘airbnb for animal lovers’, which attracted extraordinary people. (Was it ‘for animal lovers who travel’?!)

The current positioning of ‘free pet sitting’ is attracting the wrong type of HOs — those who aren’t committed to creating a quality guest experience and homestay for sitters.

I’m certain the POV I’ve shared in this post is polarising :blush:

It will be good if the advertising and cultural direction is steered more to what THS used to be but in addition to the phrasing of the ads it may also just be a problem of scale. As THS grows it’s going to run out of the core type of people who travel but put pets first and will inevitable start to get people who want more travel and less pets. Similarly they’ll get owners who want more pet care or only pet care and less or no travel.
I started to get a huge number of invites for sits within my immediate area and owners seemed surprised when i would respond and say i do this to travel so 10 miles down the road isn’t really what I’m looking for.
Mostly I’m adjusting to this new reality by being more selective in what I apply for. I’ve almost exclusively stopped doing sits with dogs - too many lockdown dogs that can’t be left alone, needs 4 walks of at least an hour each time (and that one had a large garden), aggressive or untrained dogs that are a nightmare on a walk. Although I did have a hyper-aggressive cat once which was not fun.
While I work from home and therefore spend most of the day with the animals restricting sits to cats isn’t always the answer. There one owner on a thread now who has a cat expecting no absence beyond 5 hours - for a cat.
There’s a service in my area that offers house and pet sitting where in the contract it is stated that the sitter will be in the home for 23 hours out of every 24. I think if that’s the kind of service you want (and it’s ok to want that) you really should be paying for it and therefore there will be a limit to the size THS can get to.


There’s a nice little article in today’s Thrillist email about alternatives to AirBnb.
One of those is THS and the emphasis is on pet care. But the last line says,

Hosts do have to pay for membership, but sitters can join for free, and the best tip for newcomers is to start local to rack up those positive testimonies.

I know you can initially sign up for a free account but can’t recall what that entitles you to. I sent this on to Membership Services for clarification.

@mars You can’t book a sit with a free account. My spouse who sometimes accompanies me on sits, has a free account that he mostly looks at aspirationally, and occassionally shares a listing with me if it looks interesting.

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I agree. Instead of trying to sell the idea simply as a cheap way to see the world and stay in “luxary” or “unique” homes, the site really needs to aim its marketing (for sitters) to people who already have both a love of travel, and a love for and experience with pets. Before I combined my membership (I joined as a pet parent) I would look at sits and get a prompt to combine. I don’t see advertising for combined membership, but I also think this would be another way to market. I love that basically I get to have a nice vacation or weekend getaway without paying for lodging or petcare! This wouldn’t work for everyone. Most people love their own pets but don’t particularly want to clean up someone else’s messes or have the responsibility, but for those of us for whom pet care is easy and fun – the type of person who arrives at an Airbnb and thinks, “This place needs a cat!” – this is a brilliant innovation.

The strategy instead is lets push travel and glamour to get people to sign up, and let the reviews take care of incompetent sitters. This is a disservice to both homeowners who may be disappointed in sitters, and to great sitters.

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Update: Membership Services said the article in Thrillist was not endorsed by THS and gives incorrect information about membership prices. They are going to see if they can get a correction published.


It’s slow and steady expansion versus big bang and disruption. Unfortunately private equity funding favours the latter. It can also be hard to expand initially as no-one uses you because you have no sits but also you have no sits because no-one uses you :crazy_face:
Interesting that there is now news of more equity investment in THS. Fasten your seatbelts folks.


I’d like to see THS promoted to pet owners outside the Home Counties/South Coast.

I look for sits in Scotland and the North of England and there are tiny numbers compared to South/South West.

PLEASE do some marketing up North!!!