Hi @Marion I absolutely agree with your sitter selection policy and there is no contradiction with how we work too. Efficiency and clear communication is everything!
And just in case sitters don’t know, once a petparents sends the offer to someone, the pet parent can’t confirm another person without taking the offer away. So this means pet parents are sometimes at the mercy of a sitter who may be taking considerable time before responding with a confirmation. That’s why my new strategy is two-fold: As a sitter, even if I’m looking at multiple sits, if someone offers me a sit that I applied for and I haven’t heard back from the other sit – even if I want it more – I’ll take the sit that I’m offered. I don’t apply to any sits I don’t want so it’s not a problem. As a pet parent, if the best sitter in the world can’t immediately accept the sit and needs a day for any reason, that’s a “maybe,” so if the second best sitter in the world wants the sit and can accept without “checking on things” then it goes to the second best sitter in the world.
As I also sit, I do get the frustration. Presently, I’ve been waiting 5 days and my application is still unread for a sit I’d love. I’m figuring the pet parent probably has someone in mind but is waiting. Would word be nice? Sure. Am I going to take it personally? Nope. I have no idea what the pet parent’s process is or what could be happening behind the scenes.
My time isn’t being wasted unless I spend time thinking about it. Waiting doesn’t keep me from continuing to look for other sits and as I really would like to do a short trip that month, if another sit came along during the wait, I’d take it.
If I understand correctly, you got very few applicants who applied in French. I suspect the reason is that people join this platform to do sits in other countries (or in other parts of their country, if living in a very big country like the US).
So for example, I’ve done multiple sits in France -my most recent one as well - but I don’t live in France. I normally don’t apply for sits in my home country; it’s small and I’ve seen it enough. So I can imagine that similarly petsitters based in France are actually looking for sits outside France, and vice versa.
Beyond France but in rest of Europe, the pool of people speaking French pretty well is obviously relatively small. My French is Ok for daily chit-chat, to ask stuff, and simple conversations but beyond my vocabulary is insufficient (my grammar is good, my pronunciation too…).
Many applicants don’t fully read the listings before they apply. This can be frustrating no matter what you require! I’d imagine it could be tough to find enough people who want to do sit for free in your home AND are experienced and trustworthy AND also speak French – especially as a majority of sitters are from the US or the UK. I know there is a French based site similar, that might work better for you.
I would recommend putting the language requirement at the top of your listing, so it will be seen immediately, and also clarifying to what level – conversational, proficient, fluent.
I do précise in my listing i need people able to speak french. I often see listings where owners ask sitters to speak italian or spanish.
Even if owners do speak english, it can be important to manage in the country language if there is any issue…
French speaking sitters may come for France of course but also from far away : Québec, Réunion or much closer: Switzerland or Belgium.
French is widely spoken in Africa too.
I do suspect though that the number of sitters on THS based in French speaking countries of Africa & willing / able to travel to Europe for a sit is very very small (at least judging also by the very low numbers of HOs in that region). And also sitters from Quebec are unlikely to travel to Europe for just one sit -or it must be an extended one, or they already have reason to visit. So it certainly creates a smaller pool.
I actually have not seen HOs requesting people to speak Italian or Spanish (I speak Spanish and have sat in Spain several times, but the HO never required it in their listing), although that’s perhaps also because I don’t apply for long-term sits, only the short ones of 1-3 weeks.
Nonetheless, if you’re looking to attract a larger pool of French speakers, you may want to become a member of Nomador as well, which is originally focused on the French market but now expanding beyond it.
Do you write your listing in French or English? I speak fluent French as I lived in France for 9 years but if your listing is written English, I would naturally reply in English. Phone calls can also be quite difficult in a second language if you are not prepared. I agree with other posters that you would probably attract a wider pool of sitters on Nomador if fluent French is important to you.
Thanks for your advice