Hi From Scotland's Far North

Hi,

We’ve actually been using THS since 2015 but unfortunately changed our membership details last year and lost all our previous reviews. We live up on the far north coast of Scotland (now more popular than ever thanks to the North Coast 500 touring route) and have had some wonderful sitters over the years and made some genuine friendships as a result.

I’m new to the forum and it’s both reassuring and still slightly worrying to see that so many are finding it difficult to get sitters this year. We’ve gone from having to close our applications after being inundated with responses to not having had one for our upcoming sit on 23 April.

We love to travel although it’s been a strange few years and there’s still so much uncertainty that we’ve mostly been sticking to UK road trips for the last year.

Hopefully, things will pick up and THS will continue to be the brilliant source of wonderful sitters that it has been for the last several years. I’m looking forward to getting to know other THS folk in the forum

regards,

Nicola.

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Welcome to the forum @Nicsearth and it’s lovely that you’ve had enjoyable experiences with THS over the years. As you’ve mentioned, things are different these days, but there are some things you can do to promote your listing.

You may want to embed your listing into your forum profile so that others can view it. I’ll add the instructions next:

Adding your listing to your forum profile

If you’d rather not do that for some reason, you can add the details to this post. Provide the location as shown on your listing, and the date range.

If you have a standard or premium membership, you can boost your listing once, which will move you to the front pages again.

If you would like your listing promoted on social media, please direct message @Angela-HeadOfCommunity as she needs your permission.

Francine,
Voluntary Forum Moderator

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Hi @Nicsearth. We also changed our membership a few years back and lost all our reviews. :frowning: I’m glad you’re up and running with your new membership and am sure you’ll soon be inundated with applicants again shortly.

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That’s a shame - we just kept getting confused as there were duplicate listings and we couldn’t seem to delete them so folk would apply for the wrong one somehow and ultimately it was easier to start over but I should’ve realised all our previous reviews would disappear too.
Thank you, I hope so too!

Thank you very much, I’ll give those suggestions a go, I appreciate it.

Oh my, that does sound like a problem! I’m glad everything’s under control now. We were fortunate to live in an area where there were a lot of weekend pet sits, so it didn’t take us long to gain more reviews than we’d originally lost. Happy travels!

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Hi @Nicsearth and welcome to the forum. I’ve looked at your listing and what a great location where at the right time of year you can see the Northern Lights. It does look a little remote though.
A couple of suggestions: Instead of so many photos of the dogs include a photo of the kitchen and the bathroom the sitters will be using. From your description, the sitters will be using your bedroom and that is the photo of the bed included.
With your Westies being senior dogs, how far is the vet and could a sitter transport them by public transport or would you consider including a car as an incentive? Or would your emergency contact be available for this?
All the best in securing sitters for your upcoming trip.

Hi Temba
thanks for your feedback. Actually the remote location has always been the selling point although I understand the concern about the vets - it’s only 12 miles to the nearest town where the vets is and my emergency contact works at the local animal shelter five minutes away and would always help if there were an emergency with the animals. It does seem that sitters’ priorities might have changed since we first started using THS in 2015 - then it was the location and the animals that were the most important consideration to the sitters rather than what the kitchen looked like. Funny enough, I only added the bedroom photo yesterday after seeing another thread about how sitters want to see where they’ll be sleeping. That makes sense and I understand totally that it’s helpful to show the inside of the house as well but we’ve never included photos of the kitchen or bathrooms before and it never seemed to be a problem. We used to provide a car but that’s not something we are really keen to do anymore for various reasons and had hoped, based on the increase in staycations over the last couple of years that there would be enough UK-based sitters with transport who might apply, as this is an increasingly popular part of the UK for visitors.

I only realised yesterday that there’s now a tier system based on what folk are willing or able to pay which I’m guessing shunts ‘basic’ members down to the bottom. It’s a shame that THS have decided to create a class system like this and I do wonder if that is playing a part in the difficulties in securing sits for listings that previously had no problem in that regard?

Anyway, I’m just wondering out loud really. I appreciate you taking the time to give me feedback and I will have to hope that the right sitter somehow chances across our listing before we need to cancel our travel plans.

best wishes

Nicola

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Hi @Nicsearth I suggest you considering asking @Angela-HeadOfCommunity to promote your listing on social media. She needs to first get your permission and then could take care of it when she’s next online. Her only problem may be trying to decide which of your photos she would use - from the stunning Northern lights to your adorable pets.

Here are some points about social media promotion you may want to know:

Thanks very much, Snowbird, that’s really useful to know - I’ve also just added a load of photos of inside our house and we’ve also just upgraded to Premium for the last couple of months of this year’s membership and have just boosted our listing for April so finger’s crossed!

After read your listing I had to save it to my favorites. I loved the photos and the humor in the responsibilities portion and would happily apply if we were on your side of the pond. We live in the states and don’t plan on traveling abroad until next year. Hopefully you will be needing someone to take care of your bunch when we are traveling.

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Hi @Nicsearth I’m picking up on your comment re the tier system and you saying “shunts ‘basic’ members down to the bottom”. I don’t believe that this is happening. You’ll find that the majority of owners and sitters have not chosen the Premium membership so I hope you have not wasted your money. Many of us who have been with THS for years have remained on our old membership and not opted for any of the tier options. When the tier system was introduced, sitters were greatly concerned that owners would view those with Premium as being " top" sitters but that is not necessarily the case. And visa versa with Premium owners - that does not make their listing fantastic and hard to resist applying for. It is what added features like the various insurances that make the differences but reading some comments from members who have tried to make claims, it has not been an easy or in some cases successful outcome.

I’m in Australia and I see the same pattern happening here where past owners who have had numerous sitters are not receiving applications yet have lovely listings like yours.

Unfortunately it just seems to be a sign of the times and there have been other comments made in threads as to why this may be the case.

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Hi Temba

Thanks so much - that’s reassuring to hear as I really did feel concerned that the tier system would result in instant invisibility. I sell my paintings on online galleries that have also adopted a paid membership tier system (which on top of their 40% commission fee makes it hardly worthwhile to sell art at all) and it only seems to benefit those who can afford to pay the extra fee to have their art boosted and promoted creating a catch 22 for those of us who can’t afford the fees so it’s good to know this doesn’t seem to be the experience here.

I took your advice and included photos of the inside of our house and we’ve also decided we will have to include access to a car as well as I know that we’re cutting out a huge section of the international sitters who would be put off about not having transport during the sit. So, hopefully, we might have better luck.

thanks again,

Nicola.

Hi Alice
thank you very much for your kind words. It really is a lovely location - we came here on holiday in 2012 from N.Ireland and ended up relocating here permanently!

We will definitely be hoping to find sitters next year - we desperately miss being able to travel abroad and hope that the world might finally start to settle back down into some kind of normal so that we can all do that.

thanks again

Nicola

Hi @Nicsearth, that’s really tough on you trying to sell your paintings where you face the added costs because of a similar tiered membership system. I do hope you can still make a profit from your artwork.

Another possible reason for owners not receiving the number of applicants they had previously had is that THS stopped their twice daily email alerts on all new listings worldwide so there is not the same exposure. Rather they are relying on sitters to set up Saved Searches for where and when they would like to sit. So where your listing would once have been in these daily email alerts, it now largely depends on who has Scotland (or a particular region of Scotland) in their Saved Searches as to who sees it - unless sitters take time to trawl through on the website all the sits advertised there.

Your listing looks so inviting and I’m glad you added those photos. If I wasn’t already booked up for my upcoming trip to the UK, I would have been very interested in sitting for you. Maybe next year!

Hi Nicola. When it comes to offering use of your car to international sitters, I’ll just mention to cover some details in your follow up with your first-choice applicants. Make sure they are comfortable with driving on the left side of the road, and if the vehicle is manual/shift, that they have experience there too. The majority of vehicles in the US have automatic transmissions. You don’t want someone learning to drive standard on your vehicle. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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@Snowbird
If the driving test taken and passed was in a car with manual transmission this would be fine for driving in the UK.
If the test was only using an automatic transmission the driver is not allowed to drive a car with manual transmission in the UK.
That is my understanding anyway, unless the law has changed during my 30 yrs of driving :blue_car: :smiley:

Thank you for your response, as the thought never crossed my mind, although I do only drive automatic when I’m in the UK now.

My Canadian driver’s licence does not make any mention of whether the test was taken on manual or automatic transmission. I would suggest that it’s rare that someone in Canada would take a test in a manual shift car.

I just visited the UK government website, as I was curious (even though I took my first test in the UK on a manual transmission). I answered two questions: that I was visiting the UK, with a Canadian licence, and this is what displayed:

I’ll add a link to the site, in case any other travellers would like to check for their details. It only asks two simple questions.
.

Thank you, I barely make minimum wage selling through those websites to be honest but thankfully many folk buy directly from me which helps!

I didn’t know that about the email alerts - that’s a shame as that would’ve been really helpful.

That’s a shame you’re fully booked (not for those HOs of course!) Maybe next year indeed!

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thanks, that’s good to know. I’ll be sure to keep that in mind to make sure it’s all within the law if we do get any sitters that need the car.