I live in a major, sprawling, US city (Dallas), but I wouldn’t list a sit that was in a far suburb as being “Dallas”. Similarly, I think it would be deceptive to list a Cape Cod sit as “Boston”. There are already tons of complaints on other threads about inaccurate locations, and encouraging this practice shouldn’t be, well, encouraged.
Maybe that isn’t what @geoff.hom was suggesting, and we should wait for his answer to my question.
Oops forgot the typo & whitespace. Added today and I agree makes it more digestible. Also added more pictures. Boston is soooooo not our home. If someone is looking for city life nearby, they would be sadly disappointed with our location where the biggest excitement of the day is a car on our road. I’d be uncomfortable with placing us there. I’m sure it works but wouldn’t want to start a potential relationship by being misleading.
I think the way to handle this would be to keep the location as Cape Cod, but mention in the listing that a major airport nearby would be Boston and that there’s a reasonably priced bus that comes into Cape Cod frequently for initial arrival. Maybe the homeowner can even offer to pick up at the bus stop.
Everyone’s made some interesting points, and I guess I should explain what I suggested, and also why I suggested it.
I’ll note the overall point of this topic, which was first about cancellations, and has now gently shifted to how the OP (original poster) can improve their listing and hopefully find a sitter match (by this weekend as they say). @FJLOVER said they wouldn’t be comfortable changing their listed location to Boston, which I totally understand and respect. So the point is moot.
I’ll make a longer reply after this, to explain myself perhaps more generally. Gimme a bit. =)
@FJLOVER, I hope you find a great match! Or that plan B goes well!
Overall, I agree with much of what everyone said. But I’d like to take a step back and explain my perspective.
My goal was:
to help @FJLOVER improve their odds of finding a sitter match.
using the tools we have.
If we can find a good match, where the PP and sitter are both happy, I think that’s a pretty good metric.
There are many types of PPs and sitters (infinite?).
In this case, the potential sitter is an alternate version of me:
works from home, flexible schedule and vacation
not a city person
not that familiar with New England, but have heard of Cape Cod and I actually have visited Boston (don’t recall much)
loves dogs (I’m really more of a cat guy)
curious about snow/East Coast/four seasons/the Atlantic/whatever (I grew up in sunny California and now live in sunny Texas, a bit east of Dallas…)
In other words, suppose this were a cat sit, and I were looking to visit the Boston area: I would want this sit to show up when I search for Boston.
It’s like honest advertising: Some people who are thinking about Boston might enjoy this Cape Cod sit. Some people will think it’s not out of the way, or at least it’s an intriguing alternative.
I wish TH had more tools to help connect PPs and sitters. Like if PPs could advertise their sits in nearby areas (similar to how they can boost listings). That would be the equivalent tool, but we don’t have it.
Also, I would like to mention a similar strategy done by experienced sitters:
There is currently no way for a sitter to advertise that they want to sit in a certain city. E.g., Boston.
So, I might change my sitter profile from, say, Australia to Boston, MA. Of course, I’ll add a clarifying note at the top of my profile.
Note that I may have never been to Boston or even America, not be a U.S. citizen, or even have my plane tickets.
Now maybe a PP is thinking about taking a vacation and is looking to invite a sitter: where will they search? The only option is their city (e.g., Boston). I may now pop up, they can read my profile, and we may have a great match that wouldn’t happen otherwise!
Some PPs might not like that. Or some sitters. I think of it similar to my reasoning above. And if a PP thinks ill of me for that strategy, then that would be a PP I’m not a good fit with, so we should both simply move on. Like changing the channel or ignoring an ad.
When I first heard of this strategy, I wasn’t going to propagate it. But then I realized that’s a disservice to new sitters as many supersitters use it. It’s tough enough starting out. So now I’ll mention it as a tool in the toolbox, and let them decide if they want to use it.
I’m actually going to post once more here, with a technical point of order about this listing and Boston.
My point isn’t how close or far from Boston the sit is. The sit is in the map area, just like Providence. If Providence is listed, so should Buzzards Bay.
When you search for a city in TH, it doesn’t do what Airbnb does.
Airbnb brings up listings only in that city. If you move the map around, then it searches the shown area.
From the start, TH clearly brings up listings in other cities/states (e.g., Providence for Boston). It’s a false imitation of Airbnb’s map.
If the TH map is going to always show listings outside of a named area (e.g., Boston), then it should show all the listings in the map area.
I’m sure no one here would like to bet on TH making that change soon. Or to put it more nicely, they must have many other priorities on their plate.
So, if a PP has to fudge the location to make the map more consistent in terms of listings, then I’m okay with that.
In this specific example, whether to change Buzzards Bay to Boston, Plymouth, or West Wareham is secondary in my view, but one could play with it and see what is the closest city that works. But then you have to worry about different devices, platforms, screens.
If fudging their location, PPs (and sitters) should make a clarifying statement at the start of their listing description.
Thank you to everyone for your comments and patience. But back to the PP’s listing:
I think @thejohnsfam has a great suggestion: The listing doesn’t mention how it may be pretty simple and inexpensive to get from the airport to the sit. It surprised me when I looked on Rome2Rio. I’d add that info to the listing.
@Britchic we’re new to THS so can’t comment on what it was like a few years ago but we use the favourite button on sits we spot that we’d love to apply for but for whatever reason at the time of the HO listing can’t (clash of dates, not in that area etc) so we’ve added them so when new dates are added by the HO in future we get notified and hopefully can apply on that occasion. So for us it’s not that we’re not committed just unable to on that occasion.
I’m going to agree with Geoff here, the idea is a good one since you are in a time crunch and perhaps you could change your title to say Buzzards Bay, MA. I’ll give an example relevant to me.
Clarksville, TN who has heard of it? Not many people. It’s approximately 30-40 minutes from Nashville but doesn’t appear in the Nashville search. Yet when you search Clarksville you’ll get some returns from the KY area. People live in Clarksville and work or go out and enjoy Nashville a lot. Franklin, TN which can be 25-40 minutes from Nashville appears within the Nashville search. Someone who is looking to explore things in and around Nashville may not have researched all the surrounding areas and therefore does not search them.
Same applies to you and as long as your listing or title is forthcoming I don’t think added exposure is a bad thing. You note they can be left for 8 hours at a time which gives someone ample time within the month if they wanted to explore Boston plus time to explore Buzzards Bay as well!
As former businesses owners, we usually had to find hacks in software that we used to run our offices to customize to our needs.
Once during a conference I attended, I was approached after a session by a colleague as to how I pulled a report that I mentioned in discussion.
I explained that there was a date field on a particular screen that was of no use to us for its original purpose.
So we created a date of "12.25.1900 " and coded certain patients that we needed to track in the system.
And when we pull a report with that date…it pulled only a certain group of patients that needed follow up from us according to how we ran our business but that we could not identify/track in the software otherwise.
I know some resist business references on this platform but they can be helpful…just like sports analogies.
One of my phone screening questions for potential applicants at our office was “have you thought about your commute?”
Sometimes I would have people apply from an hour South of our NH office…big time traffic…or an hour West of us…having to drive thru a mtn pass during Winter. It allowed for a candid chat about punctuality and “excuses.”
I believe an opening statement on the profile/listing and thorough discussion will prove out when someone’s intent is genuine and not to mislead when a “hack” is needed.
The truth in disclosure about loction as noted is what makes the difference. And as stated, those sitters and homeowners that can work with the “hack” might be a good fit for each other.
I am using a hack right now on my profile…dun dun dun😉
I don’t have any fancy graphics but this is at least long winded
Thanks again, geoff.hom and I think your point is well taken that it’s highly unlikely that anyone would be looking for a sit in Buzzards Bay (named by the English BTW because of the ospreys whuch they called buzzards, ugh) or have the slightest idea where it is on Cape Cod. That being said, desperate times call for desperate measures. Therefore I’ve taken your suggestion and listed location as Boston. I believe I have been very transparent in all of the descriptions that we are 47 miles from Boston. I’ve put in the info about bus service, not including price because ticket prices are subject to an upcharge with gas prices.
If you have a chance take a peek at my revision and let me know if it is in any way deceptive,
That outdoor photo really is like all the other listings. I would switch back to the car (which helps in context of “47 miles from Boston”), or actually the one of Jazz in the circle (spark-joy).
BTW, I really like how you have photos of you two with Jazz. It adds something. Humanity? Personality? =)
Change the title, prioritizing how it looks in the search view.
Look again at the image above. Sitters see only your first photo, your profile image, and the first few characters of your title.
Also, your full title is a bit confusing:
47 miles from Boston, scenic Cape Cod. Vehicle provided. Loving Golden Girl
Could be read as you’re also 47 miles from Cape Cod.
“Vehicle” is worse than “car.” The search is “use of car included,” not vehicle. Car takes fewer characters and fewer syllables (mental load).
Use Jazz as the first photo (the big zoom-in photo you have as your profile photo)
Cape Cod + car?! That’s us. Help Jazz!
Improve the listing text.
When viewing a listing (on the web), only the first ~3 lines of each section are shown.
For “Home & location,” I see this:
Only 47 miles from Boston, 0ur home is located on a small saltwater bay on Cape Cod. The coastline of the Cape and southeastern Massachusetts beckons. The Cape Cod Canal is a mile from our home with 14 miles of walking or biking trails…
“our home” seems misspelled as “0ur” (is that a zero?). Please fix.
I would dedicate these first lines to explain your location and help the sitter imagine how they could reasonably arrive.
Our home is 47 miles from Boston, on a bay on Cape Cod. Rome2Rio says a bus from BOS airport to us is $15–22 and takes 1h 40min (as of Feb '23). If you can get here, our SUV is available while you sit…
Again, the goal here is to help the sitter envision how they can make this sit work. And the info is what I pulled from Rome2Rio just now, so it’s totally upfront.
It sounds like there are other inexpensive transit options, so including that in later paragraphs is awesome. And also you can include caveats about the car (US or Canadian driver’s license, etc.).
Suggestions to improve discovery:
Be sure to do the above steps first. =)
Contact @Angela_L and give permission to share your listing on TH social media. TH may or may not, but if you don’t give explicit permission, they definitely won’t. It’s free.
You can do this by PMing Angela and saying you give permission. I’ve also seen people simply reply in the topic, tagging @Angela and saying they give permission.
Boost your listing:
If you’re not a high enough tier to boost, you can upgrade. You can also contact membership services and ask; maybe they’ll be nice and give you a one-time boost. Fastest way would be live chat or call:
Invite local sitters. Note that some may actually not be local but ones who have set their location to Boston because they want to sit there! Win-win.
Invite those who have favourited your sit. If you’re not the lowest tier, you can “See who saves your listing.”
When you invite, I’d send the same message to all (for sanity). But you still want it to be a good message. Think top-down about what will entice/intrigue/inspire the right sitter to click and learn more about your sit.
Again many thanks for your valuable input. I’ve made several of the changes you suggested and will hope for the best. If it doesn’t work it wasn’t meant to be and it certainly is not from lack of trying.
I have had such good luck with THS but this year I have had so many cancellations by sitters after they were confirmed. I know that things happen, but why so much lately? So I unconfirmed the sitter and I’m once again hoping that the listing will show up and gather some folks who would love to spend some time in the quiet of the CT woods. I know that June/July is far away, but I always feel better when I have a confirmed sitter.
We have also had this happen recently twice! Both sitters were new to THS and did not seem to understand what it means to accept and commit to a sit. One changed be a she found “ a nicer house” close by. When I reached out to the other sitters who had applied , they also had found another sit. Luckily, THS re-posted my sit to the top of the list and both times I was able to find a reliable replacement sitter but is a stressful situation. If this platform is going to continue to work for all parties there needs to be an understanding of what a commitment means for new users. THS should emphasize this with new sitter applicants and sitters (and pet owners) who repeatedly cancel without good reason should be removed from the platform.
Please take a look at the ‘New Types of Sitters’ thread. Experienced sitters have been saying for some time that this will be the consequence of increasing membership numbers at any cost. Recent marketing has been pushing pet sitting as comparable to being a free Airbnb or the chance to stay in a mansion etc etc. Hardly any mention of responsibilities, commitment and pet care at all.
While ever it continues some sitters will cancel if something more attractive comes along as there are no consequences.
There is no way of knowing if a sitter has a history of cancelling sits as homeowners cannot leave a review unless the sit was completed.