this is such a good idea. You could even have @Angela-HeadOfCommunity’s breakdown from below of *third party, no interior pictures, drop in request only etc. as a subject line and have it automatically send a message to the HO with an appropriate link. Example; Your listing has been reported for not having interior pictures of the home with a link to the appropriate guidance. You wouldn’t even have to remove the listing yourself or handle anything, it could be entirely automated so that HO’s are alerted to the fact the sitters are looking at their listing but this is what is holding people back from applying.
I reported 4 listings to the support email in the ladt 24 hours & received a reply email from them tonight saying:
Thank you for getting in touch with us and making us aware of the owner listings which have currently no photos of the inside of their homes.
We have reached out to the owners explaining to them why we are asking owners to add more photos of the inside of their homes.
I think that’s a pretty good response rate.
Well done for doing their job for them
Meanwhile the listings are likely still live and people are applying not knowing what they will show up to, just like my last experience where I am being the one at fault seemingly, not the HO.
I really can’t understand what the fuss is. We all have free will so if a sit doesn’t look appealing or there are very few pictures of the guest room just move on to the next one. Ignore red flags at your peril. If the pet owner is asking for something you find unacceptable ignore them. It’s a sitters paradise out there . There are so many to pick and chose from. If a pet owner doesn’t do it right, then no one applies I’m damned sure they will get it right the next time.
The issue (for me at least) just to fill you in, is that I honestly feel I am being demonized by TH for leaving a sit on arrival after finding the place to be utterly horrid (untidy and dirty, with trip hazards everywhere and bottles all over the floor (in almost all rooms?!?). I realise that I should have listened to my gut - but this HO had some good reviews and even return sitters (but equally several non reviewers).
I’ve since been told that the posting itself would have not been accepting based on “new rules” as it showed no pictures of the interior of the home - or the home itself.
As a 5 year loyal sitter I am really quite upset with the responses I’ve received from Membership Services. I’ve since gone out to previous sitters that did not leave a review and they told me that the place was pretty bad for them too - and apparently I’m being told I can not leave a review as only “completed sits” have this ability - Yet the HO has several reviews where sits didn’t happen but the scheduled sitter(s) were able to leave reviews stating “the sit didn’t happen due to ‘x’ but communication was great…” etc., so why am I being told different?
Now no future sitters would be able to read an honest review I would have left. I realise the sitter would have the ability to thus leave me a bad review too for leaving upon arrival, but I’d rather have that (and explain to future HO’s this review in my future applications) than put another prospective sitter in this awful situation that I found myself in!
Honestly I think HO’s are treated so much better than us sitters, and I’m finding this echoed a LOT when discussing offline with other members.
A simple “I’m so sorry this happened to you as one of our loyal sitters that has shown to be a very reliable and trustworthy sitter” from MS would have sufficed but no - it was all my fault apparently!!!
I will DM you @claresitsdogs
That’s totally different. It’s not really about what the sit list said or photos but it’s about how you are being treated because you found it unacceptable and walked away. I have never been in that circumstance so I really cannot comment. Every time I’ve had to contact someone it’s been a quick, easy experience.
I hope this doesn’t put you off. It really is a great site for travellers and animal lovers.
A reporting feature might be a good idea but I guess the best way to “educate” owners to put pictures in their listings is not to apply to sits that don’t have pictures. As an owner if I didn’t put enough pictures and nobody applied I would try to see what I’m doing wrong and add pictures if it helps in finding a sitter. Or message the owners telling them their listing is not interesting because of the lack of pictures.
Elsie not everyone is savvy at finding a sit that is a good match and a lot of decisions are made on what people perceive the situation to be. I have have only done a few sits through THS but worked with other groups. You have to be able to identify red flags and if you live some distance away, the task can be more difficult. If THS did more vetting of owners asking all related questions and set up the a system that only will accept sits that shows pictures of the pets, bedroom, shower room, kitchen and living room, it would help a lot. Also other vital questions such as near public transport, food stores, health status of pets would also help. I really think that a specific number of questions should be answered before a sit is set up so we are all on the same page
I guess that quite a few of us have been reporting HOs that are substandard!
Support replied with this:
Thanks for getting in touch and I’m sorry for the delay in responding. We’re currently experiencing exceptionally high levels of correspondence, but are doing our best to get back to everyone in the order they’ve contacted us. Apologies again and thanks for your patience.
There needs to be a different way to report that’s actually going to do something in a timely fashion, and actually have an impact on whether a HO can maintain listings that don’t adhere to TH policies.
I made a report about a HO who states “we run a business out of the house and our assistant comes in 2 days a week”, which is against policy. Also, they have neighbors who are accustomed to coming by “whenever” to use their pool. AND “Our guest house is occasionally used for XXXX where parents and children stay while undergoing treatment at one of the children’s hospitals” (so it would look like you hate sick kids if you raise this as an issue?!)
They have 4 sits open and are actively accepting applications.
This HO has LOTS of positive reviews from previous sitters. So did those sitters ignore the TH policies and allow all this to go on unchecked?
I’ve been a TH for 5+ years so it was a total fluke that I got ‘caught out’ on this one tbh… and yes as mad i was about being put in that situation, I certainly did NOT except to be even madder about the responses I received from membership support. Feel utterly let down and very much NOT supported!
I am going to email the CEO directly about this as it’s not the response I was expecting.
… but we can’t message an owner unless we apply for a sit (unless you were invited)
@MissChef I actually have messaged HO’s in the past ticking the “apply for” box - then in a message saying “I actually can’t do these dates but have thought best to get in touch as I think you really should add more pictures, or ask your previous sitters to leave reviews etc.,” which to be honest I didn’t mind doing in the past and the HO’s were really appreciative.
However these days with such little support as a sitter - I’m done with doing anything like that to help the company going forward. In fact I’m not even recommending the site to people these days as I am quite disgruntled as a loyal sitter to my treatment in my recent situation, and not being able to leave an honest review is making me more so.
I can’t be bothered to go through that nonsense for a sit I’m not even interested in.
Otherwise, SAME. I do enough work for free. but that one listing was a show I couldn’t let it stand.
I’m still not clear on why the uproar about no inside photos? While HOs are encouraged to provide inside photos, it doesn’t appear to be specific to bedroom, kitchen, living area etc.
As sitters, we all have the option of requesting photos if we’re interested in applying, or scrolling on by if we don’t want to take a chance. I’ve requested and received photos on a number of sits, with no trouble at all.
It’s the home owners who will lose out, not sitters. So why bother wasting time and energy “reporting” them?
I wonder – did the HOs indicate any reluctance about posting interior photos or was it just oversight on their part? And then, did they ever add the photos to their profile for future sitters? (not that you’d know after the fact.)
Some added photos to their profile after I requested them, and some only emailed/texted them directly.
TBH, we’ve found some pretty nice sits with no interior photos. I always assume the HO is concerned about privacy and say something along the lines of “I realize some people are hesitant to post pictures of the inside of their homes for privacy reasons, but before we accept a sit, we do appreciate seeing a photo of where we will be sleeping, as well as the main living area/kitchen.”
We’ve also seen the interior of the house via video chat tour as well. It all works for me.
So far, everyone has always been quite willing to share them. Obviously, if they weren’t willing, that would be a huge red flag to me.
(I should also add, I’ve seen the odd sit that indicated in their write-up, that they would send interior photos to prospective sitters.)
We never accept a house sit without doing a video call first and I always receive a home tour during the call. When I schedule video call I tell the HO that we would like to meet them, meet the pets and get a feel for the house and garden, so they aren’t caught off guard. This has been well received and we haven’t had a problem.
We’ve done it all - some phone calls, most videos, a few just written contact. I’m fine with whatever the home owner wants so long as I’ve seen some clear photos ahead of time.