Direct messaging sitters to invite

Hi all. This question crosses both owner and sitter sections so am hoping to reach both audiences and I’ve separated the 2 out below:

As a home owner: have you had much success directly messaging sitters to have a look at your listing and apply or do you find that you just get applications anyway/messages aren’t successful/needed?

Then as a sitter: have there been many/any times that you have accepted a sit based on being contacted first by a home owner, or do you prefer to look yourself and have a browse and apply for a sit?

I only ask as I’m a HO who struggles to get applications and despite sending hundreds of messages, nobody has ever applied off the back of me being proactive to find a potential sitter. I only message people who are marked as available on their calendars as well as who don’t have anything crossed off for the dates I’m seeking a sitter if for example their profile states they are nomadic or retired and may have some time to sit for us.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing people’s experiences and opinions

As a sitter, I’m certainly flattered when a homeowner invites me for a sit but I think only once have I actually accepted due to my availability. I probably prefer to look myself at the sits.

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Besides accepting one unsolicited sit soon after I joined THS, I’ve not agreed to others. It’s just not likely to work out time wise, location wise and such.

Something that also can work against you, besides having a location that’s not especially sought after: The more pets you have, the fewer sitters you’ll typically attract.

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@iamplankton As Sitters we’ve received 60+ Direct invitations to sit in our first year - whilst we were flattered to receive each and every one of them ; none have resulted in a sit . The majority because they were for dates when we already had a sit confirmed and the rest were not in destinations that we want to visit .

During the same time period we have confirmed 17 sits by applying to listings .

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I agree with @Maggie8K on the first part. Although in your case on the second, it sounds like even though you have many pets, they’re all very straightforward and would allow for a lot of HS flexibility!

I think what may be working against you is just that your location is a bit remote. I looked through your listing and everything else looks solid in terms of how you’ve described your place, pets, the area, etc.

I would suggest maybe looking to see if anyone has favourites your listing.

Unless you have a high traffic location, reaching out to people is tough because so much has to align. But if someone has favourited you, you already knew they’d interested.

You can also reach out to local people who are nearby or sitters not too far who are a bit newer to the platform and may be looking to get review experience (just make sure you get them well).

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Yes I had a host approach me the day after I joined. What luck - a fabulous sit and we have done a couple of repeat sit for them plus sitting for their neighbours. They are now firm friends and have visited us in our home (bringing along their lovely dog). It was a fabulous introduction to THS. More recently we have been invited a couple of times to sit very locally but have not been able to do these - nor are local sits something we’d actively seek out.
I would certainly reach out if you are not getting a lot of applicants - you never know who might be just the perfect fit for you and your pets.


Thank you. We are remote but we do have good bus and train links so have tried to highlight that as much as we can. We do have a lot of favourites and I hope that someone will apply for our February sit (we had someone secured who had to pull out).

I accepted a direct reach out recently because the HO altered their dates for my schedule. Plus, extended their plans because I wasn’t interested in a sit less than two weeks. So, perhaps if you are willing to work with people that could be a huge bonus.

Agree with others, the combination of remote location and a lot of animals makes it a bit of a hard sell. The location is beautiful and the animals look lovely, but that’s a tough combo.

Thank you for your feedback. We personally find our animals very easy and the majority of sitters don’t need to tend to our gerbils but thank you.

It was more of a general how other people find the direct messaging but I accept that perhaps we aren’t as appealing as some sits

Prior to 2023 we received probably over 50+ direct invites. We acknowledged the personalized ones and declined the generic ones without a message.
We accepted only one, which turned out to be a terrible idea since the HO canceled the sit 4 hours prior to our arrival and we lost our train tickets and hotel reservation (booked for their convenience). Since then we have changed our profile’s location to an isolated island and we have received zero invitations.

I’m a sitter and have accepted several sits after owners contacted me. There were several more I would have accepted if the dates had worked for me.

We’re sitters, and we don’t complete our calendar, because there is a huge flaw with it, so the only things that appear are the ones that THS autofilled for us, so I wouldn’t take any notice of that if I were you. It is flawed, if we complete things ourselves it makes it look like we a busy when we are free, it’s silly.

And yes, we have accepted a few sits of someone reaching out directly. Typically people can see from our reviews the area in which we focus on, but we’ve also had HO’s contact us from other locations, and I am not really sure why, they must waste an awful lot of time doing it that way.

However, the vast majority have been our choice, we’ve picked them firstly.

I’ve just checked out your profile, and if you are struggling:-
Try changing your place name to Pontypridd instead, I haven’t heard of your village but I have heard of Pontypridd via Tom Jones mentioning it on the voice :rofl:. If someone was to put Cardiff, Pontypridd, Caerphilly, Newport I’d at least have a clue where it was to know if I was interested, instead of having to click into your add when I don’t even know if I was interested or not, so time consuming. But you’ve put Wales in your title so that helps :+1:.
Change your first image, you are giving the impression that someone needs to love total and complete isolation, when in reality, you have all the amenities they need pretty much on your doorstep. Even though you have put bus and train links in your heading, people absorb images better when first glancing.

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This has been discussed often before on the forum. If you do a search you’ll find more responses to your question.

I haven’t had too much luck with this method as either a pet sitter or homeowner. But I think it would help if sitters could see when a homeowner marks them as a favorite. If we could cross reference sitters/homeowners who have favorited each other, it might be much mure lucrative and beneficial to both.


Thank you, I did do that also before I posted

Thank you, I’ll have a look at changing the location as suggested

I absolutely love it when a message pops up asking me to sit for them, as I think thst they must like something about my profile and read the last couple of reviews. As of yet I haven’t said yes to an invite for various reasons.

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I checked the listing…I agree with this suggestion.

Thank you; I have done so hoping it now shows the dogs?

Hi @iamplankton, rather than list your four sets of dates, especially two that are for very short stays months away and unlikely to attract sitters at the moment, concentrate on trying to get your Feb-Mar dates filled and possibly your longer Oct dates, though it could still wait awhile before advertising.