Hi, I know that Christmas is a tough time to get sitters.
I originally posted in late October/early November for a Christmas sit. I got a few applicants, but none worked out (one, who seemed great, realized that the dates wouldn’t work for her after all, I had a Zoom meeting with another, who ended up accepting another sit, and there was a very young couple with no reviews and off-putting photos, who I declined…)
After a couple weeks, I re-listed to get back up to the top of the algorithm, but have zero applicants. I’m getting nervous. Can you take a look at my listing and tell me what I can do to make it more appealing?
Hi @GardenCat, I’ve had a quick look at your listing and you do repeat yourself a few times, in particular about the extra day at start and possibly end of the sit plus about Maddie’s medication. I’m a cat lover like you but I don’t need to see so many photos of your gorgeous cats so maybe reduce the number you include.
Preview your listing so that you see it just like sitters do. I know you’ve been active on the forum in seeking advice and advertised your listing early. It’s just a shame none of those earlier applicants were suitable. Hang in there!
Thank you, Temba! Good idea to preview the listing so I can see it as sitters do. I’m so used to the Airbnb platform that I find the quirkiness of THS listing/editing confusing.
Hi @GardenCat - Your listing seems to be generic, one that you use for any dates that you may need sitters for.
If I was you I would tweak it each time you are looking for new sitters for new dates so that the information you provide is specifically correct for this particular sit.
You say ‘sometimes’ on more than one occasion. My car is sometimes available/I can sometimes add a day on the end … It will be clearer and more appealing if your listing is less ambiguous.
Great feedback - thank you, Colin!
i agree with reducing the number of photos (even though the cats are gorgeous), and keeping them in order - house first, then cats.
It seems that your start and end dates are flexible, so mention that in the heading. Start with ’ “Flex dates, walkable, historic…”.
I visit Philly often and just left it again last night. I actually saved your listing in the past, but can’t do those dates. I also had a cat with hyperthyroidism that needed meds. I’m envious that Maddie takes hers so easily!
Thank you, will do! Should I reduce the number of cat photos in both the general section and the cat section, or just the general? Hope to meet you some day!
Hi @GardenCat - I think your home pics look very inviting and cheerful. As a former editor, I’d start with “I’m a prof gardener…” because that’s interesting … and remove the bit about extra days completely from the Intro since you mention it under Responsibilities. I’d also remove the size of the bedroom and bed - all unnecessary and a picture will suffice. I would have 12 photos max, maybe eight of your home and just 2-4 of the cats. But it looks like a great sit, I’d totally apply if in the area.
I think your listing looks great but I would reduce the number of cat pictures at the end as you scroll through. They are incredibly cute though
I would keep the bed size as it is smaller than some people are used to so good for couples to know.
You have the part about Maddie needing meds twice, delete one as it is confusing and I initially thought both cats need meds.
Hopefully you find someone soon.
Remove the cat photos from the general section @GardenCat but make sure you have the cutest photos of them in pet section. You only need 2-4 photos of them.
I’m from Philly myself and if I was looking for a sit there during Christmas your listing would be very attractive.
However, you’d lose me at the full-sized bed.
I’m part of a couple, and full size is already a squeeze when it comes to our comfort. Add the potential of two snuggly cats, and it’s a bit overcrowded.
If there’s an option of offering a larger bed (say, your own, for example) you may have better luck.
Of course, I understand that some homeowners are put off by sitters using their bed/bedroom, and you should only do what you are comfortable with, I’m just letting you know why we personally wouldn’t apply. (But I do appreciate you listing the size as many don’t and it really matters to us!)
I also think you can streamline the responsibilities to make them a quicker read:
Feed wet food once per day, keep dry food and water topped up.
Maddie gets thyroid meds in a pill pocket (she takes them easily)
Scoop litter box once per day, empty for trash day.
Water plants (season dependant)
This allows sitters to get an idea of what’s expected of them without getting bogged down by details that will be included in your house guide.
Finally, if you are deleting cat photos, maybe include a few photos of Philly at Christmas. It is absolutely gorgeous and could really draw some people in who might discount it in favour of NYC. I don’t normally subscribe to HOs using location photos, but I think Christmas is a special circumstance and they would be in addition to the already great home photos you’ve included.
Best of luck!
Great comment about Philly at Christmastime. The Christmas Village at City Hall is neat.
@GardenCat I saved/favorited your listing a few weeks ago. I applied to longer sits (due to my parent care-related reason for returning to my hometown), but you may want to reach out to people who have favorited your sit. Also, for Christmas week, I’d say your target people would be those coming to visit family temporarily (so perhaps local FB pages might yield fruit).
Also, you may wish to include Queen Village in the heading or in the intro. And, given the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s “efficiency,” more detail about parking options.
What a super helpful post this is with some really great tips for listings.
As sitters we are always talking about personalisation but I love @Colin 's suggestion for home and pet owners to make each listing more personal and relevant to the moment. And also @CoolCatAunt’s idea of adding some seasonal photos to show why your location is perfect for Christmas. Or that might be some other event relevant to your dates.
Let us know how this goes @GardenCat - we’ve seen some great positive outcomes for other members after reaching out for and acting on community advice. Fingers crossed for you
Thanks, SoLo! I really appreciate your advice. I edited the intro as you suggested, and removed the size of the bedroom. I also cut down on the number of cat photos - I’m a little bit of a cat photo junkie…
Thank you! Done on the cat photos, and on the repetition as well. Hope I get someone, and appreciate your help!
Thanks, Temba. I think I left one cat photo in the general section… baby steps! And cut down to 2 each in the pets section. I’m getting there!
Thanks, CoolCatAunt. From my Airbnb experience - the bed size really does matter to a lot of people, especially couples, so I’m keeping that. Interesting that you mention my own bed (which is a Queen.) And that’s definitely an option, and something I’ve considered. I’d love some advice on how to word that - I tend to keep my personal bedroom… not nearly as clean as I do the guestroom, but would do a thorough cleaning if I knew in advance that a sitter would be staying there. Where do you think I should mention that?
I took your suggestion to streamline responsibilities - thank you! I get confused between the Welcome Guide and the Listing - what goes where and what sitters will refer to when they’re here.
Funny - as someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas - it just never occurred to me that it could be a draw…
Thank you, Katie!
As mentioned above - as a non-Christmas celebrator, it just never occurred to me that Xmas could actually attract people to a place! Thanks for confirming!
I think the option of seeing who favorited my listing is only available to people who pay for a premium membership - maybe that’s worth upgrading for…?
I don’t live in Queen Village, I live in Pennsport, though QV is only a few blocks away…
Thank you, Vanessa! This really has been a super helpful thread!!!
Thanks so much, everyone! These comments have been SUPER SUPER helpful!
I think I have one more/last(?) Question. As mentioned in my OP, I already deleted these dates and re-listed once to boost the sit to the top. Should I do it again since it’s been up for quite a few weeks with not one applicant?