Latest survey by THS

Has anyone else found the latest survey by THS rather disturbing? It asks about sitters’ views on instant confirmation of a sitter by a homeowner without necessitating any prior communication between the two. To my mind, this would simplify the confirmation process, but only at the expense of sitters and owners ensuring a good relationship. Both sitters and owners need the opportunity to evaluate each other prior to any agreement. As well, I’d be horrified to be ‘confirmed’ by an owner without having had the chance to ‘meet’ that person at least by email. This happened to us once when a homeowner ‘chose’ us without consulting us first. Owners can’t presume that sitters who apply will be happy to sit for them. Just as owners get to choose their preferred candidate, the sitters get to choose whether or not they want to sit for that individual.

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I haven’t received this survey but I would not accept an immediate confirmation without at least a phone or video interview. The one time I did, I regretted it.

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What survey? @Vanessa-ForumCMgr is this being sent out to everyone or only a select group?

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I also haven’t received this/any TH survey. However, before people go ballistic, it sounds like TH may be exploring something similar to lightning/instant bookings on Airbnb. An Airbnb can let someone book their home without requiring the host’s prior approval. This is simply an option. I’ve stayed at Airbnbs like this, and they were very handy for last-minute bookings, and everything was fine.

Again, some Airbnbs offer lightning bookings. Some do not. Guests can search for lightning bookings as an option. And I’m pretty sure hosts can toggle their lightning option on/off at will.

Edits below:
On further thought, TH’s current system is like 3 clicks: apply → invite to confirm → confirm.

From the survey, it sounds like TH is considering a 2-click system: apply → confirm, which would be like standard Airbnb. This may be across TH or an option that HOs can set. Or sitters can set?

The Airbnb instant system is 1-click: apply → (auto-confirm and charge your cc).

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I haven’t seen the survey but I don’t think it’s a good idea. As far as the airbnb comparison, airbnb allows you to message the lister with questions before committing. Since sitters can’t ask questions prior to applying for a sit, I wouldn’t see this working. I can’t imagine a commitment on either end without more communication than clicking a button prior a sit.

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I haven’t received the survey but there is no way on earth I would apply for a sit under those conditions. I always say in my application that if the homeowner wishes to take things further to get in touch. It feels like THS want to match up homeowners and sitters at any cost. Surely that can’t be a good outcome for anyone. As we are always being told - communication is the basis of a good match.

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Hi Crookie,

It was a survey that we received. I have no idea whether it was sent out to everyone or only to a select group. I’m really leery because their new ‘application pause’ policy - which they implemented without any consultation and have insisted on keeping despite massive negative feedback - has really fouled us up when it comes to applying for sits in other time zones. (After several previous trips to Europe when we had no trouble filling a three-month agenda, this time we can’t find sits for our ‘gaps’ even though we’ve been looking for over four months.) I don’t want to be blindsided by yet another new feature of THS that completely disadvantages us.

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Hi Geoff,

That may work for Airbnb, where you’re just renting someone’s house, usually for a short stint. Agreeing to take care of someone’s house and pets is a totally different level of commitment and responsibility.

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We have not received a survey, either as HOs or as sitters. We would NEVER accept a sit without a video chat first, nor would we confirm a sitter before talking with them via a video chat – and then deciding.

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I felt very disappointed and let down by this survey. It seems the only thing important to THS is getting as many bookings as possible. Quantity over quality.

This is one question on the survey. But most other questions are pushing the idea of instant bookings:

I was astonished they thought it appropriate to even ask this:

Followed by:

The fact that sitters are given the option of accepting an “instant booking” means THS have thought it perfectly fine for us NOT to have the option.

So how would that look in real life?

Instead of getting nice friendly invites to get in touch with owners, to build a rapport and make sure we’re a good fit, we suddenly find ourselves, out of the blue …BOOKED!

What possible advantage could rushing the selection process possibly have for sitters or owners? We are all different people and we need to ask our own questions to suit our individual needs. No listing in the world can include all the possible questions every sitter and owner would have.

THS clearly want to automate the whole process, and that would only benefit the site owners, not any of the customers.

I urge everyone to fill in the survey when they get it.

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IF we get the survey.

I wonder if they focus on
sending it to members who are not on the forum.

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Yes, totally agree with @Gretch that’s why I tagged @Vanessa-ForumCMgr to get some more info. THS have been very good at blindsiding their clients recently with changes and particularly bad at communicating changes to all their clients. Hence my question about the survey going to a select group.

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@KenandMary1998 it’s very easy to skew survey results in favour of what you want when you hand pick your focus group.

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@Crookie it’s midnight for me and unfortunately I have absolutely no knowledge of this survey so can’t give you any further info I’m afraid. If no-one else on the moderation team has info we will reach out to the wider team tomorrow as we don’t necessarily get informed of every action they take. Generally though from past experience surveys go to a random selection of members.

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Admin Notice: We will close this thread until we can get clarification from the wider team.

While we are kept informed of key actions, none of the Admin Team have any knowledge of this survey therefore we cannot answer any questions or address concerns, as Vanessa has explained we do not get informed on every action taken by the wider team.

Can I also bring something to everyone’s attention. As much as we care and are committed to being available for our community none of the Forum team work 24 hours, we need to eat and sleep just as you do. One tag in a conversation is sufficient for that team member to respond when they are online or back online, meanwhile if the matter is REALLY URGENT another team member will pick up and help.

Thank you everyone we will reopen when we have a relevant update … if appropriate.

Angela and the Forum Team .

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Thank you for everyone’s feedback so far and we do appreciate those who have received the survey answering these questions as part of our research. We do regularly send out surveys to subsets of members across a wide range of topics as part of our product discovery process to get a better idea of what works well and also what isn’t so acceptable to our members.

Thanks, Arjuna (Senior Product Designer)

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Admin Notice:

Hi everyone, we hope you are enjoying your weekend …

if you have any additional questions or comments on this topic we will re-open when the Product Team are back online to answer any questions, after all we (the Admin Team) don’t want to give anyone incorrect information on this or any other Product Initiative.

Thank you for your patience.

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