Experiment with prodding slow hosts

A couple of days ago, I withdrew my application for a sit, because I’d seen better sits come along and the host hadn’t replied yet. After I canceled, the host msg’d to say they were very interested in my application and to please let them know if I changed my mind. I msg’d back that I’d be open to discussing, because it’s a city that’s only about two hours from me — even if I couldn’t do the current sit, maybe I could do one down the road.

The host read my msg and didn’t reply, so, shrug, I didn’t care, but it got me thinking about how to better weed out sluggish hosts. So that morning, I experimented with my wording in another application. I essentially said I don’t wait around for slow hosts to decide. Funny thing, it worked and the host of the second sit replied right away and asked to do a video mtg the next day. We did that and they offered me the sit within an hour later, over another sitter they were talking with.

During the video call, the host mentioned how I’d nicely expressed that I don’t wait around for slow hosts, LOL. I highlight this, because other sitters might want to experiment in their own words, if they want to not wait on slow hosts.

Personally, I dislike dealing with sluggish people anywhere in life. And I don’t mind being upfront about it and missing out on sits where hosts are slow. I find that I get good sits (sometimes much better ones). For instance, I withdrew my application from a sluggish host several months ago and ended up quickly landing a terrific sit abroad — one so good I’ve agreed to repeat, even though I usually prefer variety instead of repeats.

And in the case of the slow host I mentioned above, their sit is in a U.S. city that’s not in high demand (but I like history) and I can always find a sit there some other time. Meanwhile, the sit I accepted from the decisive host is for a beautiful waterfront property that’s much harder to come by.

To me, why not experiment, because there are always more sits being posted. For my purposes, my msg might put off some hosts. That probably will work to my advantage, because they’re not the hosts I ideally want to deal with anyway, LOL.


Good point! I also dislike dealing with sluggish homeowners. I personally love homeowners that confirm me for a sit without needing to do a video chat but I always like to at least have a phone call prior to the sit. It’s great when homeowners can reply to sitters in a timely manner.


I’m absolutely fine with doing video chats, even if they’re also talking to someone else. I just don’t want to be involved in someone’s dragged out process or indecision.

That said, I just wrapped a sweet THS sit in Seattle, where the hosts picked me without video chatting (we traded logistical msgs about their dog and cats), and I just landed another water-view sit without a video chat. The latter was via Nomador, to sit one cat abroad.


I say good on you, Maggie. There’s a lot to be said for that whole approach and stating clearly what your standards and expectations are right from the jump. Personally, I like dealing with people like you who are straightforward, direct and clear. There’s no second guessing as it’s all laid out upfront. Great to hear it’s paying dividends in terms of getting more of your sits booked and locked in faster! :clap:


Thank you, Maggie. I admire your honesty. I am about to withdraw my application for a sit I applied for 2 weeks ago! I thought the phone chat went very well until the end when I was told they had others to interview, but I was at the top of their list. Their listing is still in “Reviewing” status, but it’s a no go for me even if they come back with an offer at this late date. Onward and upward.


Yeah, I think some hosts don’t realize that good sitters get booked quickly. I’ve had a similar experience. I applied, but the host wanted to discuss it after they returned from their holiday, which was fine by me. However, during that period, other hosts had already contacted me. So, I withdrew my application and explained the reason to them. I don’t really mind, because it’s their issue, not mine.


Slow responses from hosts don’t bother us at all, since we don’ t hang around for responses.

Our method is to apply to anything and everything that interests us, then forget about it.

Some hosts, reply instantly, others take their time, and some never reply at all.

Those that take their time or don’t reply at all are the ones that often miss out on having us sit for them and there is a secret level of smugness letting a host know that unfortunately they’ve missed out on this particular occasion.

Their slow or non existent response can only be detrimental to themselves, it has no impact on us whatsoever.


Except that you also have no impact on speeding folks up, either. About a quarter of the time when I’ve withdrawn, hosts get in touch to ask about my sitting, saying they were too slow. So even if I don’t end up sitting for them, I’ve potentially helped speed them up for other sitters in the future. If more sitters did likewise, more hosts would get the msg.


Thanks, @Chatsetchiens. Happily, directness has worked for me overall. In the THS circumstances, it also doesn’t cost me anything to experiment, since I’ll have done only a dozen sits by the time I’ve been with THS for a year. And I plan to do even fewer in successive years.


It’s not our business to speed folks up. Everyone is entitled to live their life at their own individual speed.

Personally, our lifestyle is set to super-slow in almost everything we do. We like it like this and would not be too pleased with anyone taking it upon themselves to attempt to alter it just because it didn’t suit them.

If we miss a train, a flight, a deal, a sitting opportunity, or anything else because we were not quick enough off the mark, that is our loss to ponder.

We are adults, Maybe we will speed ourselves up next time if our loss was big enough, or more likely, we will shrug it off and continue living our lives at our chosen snail’s pace.

In any case, the decision is ours to take, Frankly, it is no one else’s business.


More power to you. I’m happy to do things my way and share my results if it helps other sitters. I’m also not interested in influencing you in particular.


There is the weird thing here that THS is pressing sitters to be really fast (minutes!). And after that, the hosts take forever (weeks) to decide.


I think the five applicant change was aimed at pressing hosts to decide faster, but I don’t know whether it has delivered that.

Some folks have mentioned the idea of ratings for sitters and hosts on how fast they respond, which sounds like an interesting possibility. Like if you saw that a host or sitter had poor ratings for response times, you could skip them. And presumably being flagged for potential skipping might motivate them to speed up.


Proud of you Maggie!

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Funny thing: After I posted this topic, the slow host I mentioned msg’d me back within about 10 minutes to say maybe I could sit for them in the future. (I’d let them know that I was no longer available for their sit, because I was accepting the host who’d acted quickly.) So I might end up sitting there anyways, LOL. But then again, that location isn’t in high demand and it seems pretty easy to get sits there.

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If THS posted host response times as does Airbnb (“host usually responds within ___ amount of time), I would find it helpful and adjust my actions or expectations accordingly. Good for you for finding what works for you. Generally being polite and direct is appreciated by most.


@Cat_Aficionado The interesting information would be the time that the host takes to reach a decision.

But many hosts do this only once or twice per year. It is not comparable to Airbnb. (And as a guest, I often book such accommodation on the day itself.)

I lost a sit because I didn’t respond to the owner within a few hours. She didn’t tell me how urgent a reply was to her, and the sit was a few months away! All in all I am probably better off not doing that sit, because I don’t want to be glued to my phone all the time so I can reply to someone right away.

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Thanks. Yes, it makes no sense to be rude about it. Hosts are entitled to not operate at my speed — just as I’m not required to operate at theirs. THS is about finding matches, after all. And practically, it would be stupid to be rude about it, because who’d offer such a person a sit, LOL.

The key thing with this case is how to finesse wording, make my point and still land great sits, of course. I find it interesting and fun to experiment. I keep learning.


Makes sense.

For my purposes, the better I screen to match my needs, the better my sitting experiences will be, I figure.

The interesting thing about my screening hosts as well as them choosing me: Everyone I’ve ended up sitting for is good at communicating clearly and quickly. They’ve all been easy to deal with. And they’ve all written my reviews promptly (even before the 14-day limit kicked in). That’s included hosts who started a new job, attended a funeral and had a major accident.

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