Hi, I’m a pet parent. The last sit we posted (January-ish), I was constantly bombarded by what is presumed to be an auto generated algorithm reminding me to reply to applicants. And, after 7 days or so, began the bombardment to choose a sitter. I’m a very conscience PP and always reply to applicants, even just to tell them thanks for applying and please allow me a few days to review applications and I will get back to them in 2-3 days. Luckily, our latest sit (posted 2 weeks ago), the bombardment of auto generated reminders seems to have subsided a bit.
My question/suggestion is - do applicants receive similar auto generated reminders to reply to pet parents? If yes, I would like to know in what capacity they receive them - as in, if they haven’t replied to a HO’s message in a timely manner (24 hours?), do they get reminders to do so, with an explanation on why it is important to reply to the HO? Perhaps something like, “the pet sit you applied to in (city) is waiting for your reply to their message. Please be considerate of the pet parent and their desire to find a sitter for their much loved pet. If you no longer wish to be considered for the pet sit, out of courtesy to the pet parent AND other applicants, please remove your application from this pet sit.”
You can probably read into why I’m making this suggestion/inquiry so I’ll forego listing my frustrations with the current quality of sitter applications I’ve received. And don’t get me started about the sitters who’ve barely read the HO’s post and only clog up the process, to later realize their dates, transportation options, finances or work issues don’t allow them to do the sit anyway.
I’m on the sitter side and always respond very quickly to any HO messages. After all it is usually me/we who have applied so we have a vested interest in quick replies & responses in order to plan. Also when an HO invites us we always respond immediately whether interested or not. Its common courtesy.
What we’ve noticed lately is more applications being read by HOs and not responded to - even after a significant time and even when we’ve specifically mentioned we need to know asap- one way or the other. They remain in ‘reviewing’ status. Its just plain disrespectful.
Two cases recently both HOs read our application within a day. After a week of no acknowledgement or response from either I wrote to one- whose sit dates were only a few weeks away- to ask if they were considering us at all? If yes we’d love to chat & if not please say & we’ll just move on! 2 days later they replied saying there had been a ‘great deal’ of interest and they would let us know ‘soon’. Not sure how they had ‘so much’ interest with the 5 app limit?! Anyway next day they wrote saying they were going with someone else (that’s OK) but that they’d be happy to ‘use’ us (not OK!) in future if we’d be interested.
HOs -please- do not apply the term ‘use’ to your sitters!! Maybe I’m over-reacting but it sounds so derogatory and like we’re just nameless staff! In the above case we’re no longer interested in their future sits- firstly because of their initial lack of acknowledgement, and later their slow responses and their word choice!
I would also not react favourably to a request for an ‘interview’ as I’m not applying for a job! But I am very happy to have a ‘get to know you, ask/answers questions chat’!
The second case above- now 10 days ago- is still in ‘reviewing’ status. At the moment while we have no other options for those dates I’m just leaving in ‘pending’ but even if the host was eventually to choose us (unlikely now) we might well decline (unless they were super friendly & persuasive!) as this poor response rate is not a good omen for contact during the sit or getting a review after!
As I’m sure you’re aware, this is likely driven by the stupid 5 application rule that THS has imposed. Mind you, a considerate sitter would sort out flights, etc, in a timely manner and follow up within an hour or two of their initial application…
The simple answer to your question @AR-Wis is sitters do not receive a similar auto-generated message prompting them to reply to HO messages. I have a combined membership but don’t now use my owner part. Every time I go into my Inbox (very often!) I get sick of that auto-generated pop-up telling me to reply to applicants when there are no applicants because I don’t have a ‘live’ listing!!
I think this issue with a timely reply to messages affects both sides of the membership base, and it comes down to how each individual member uses the platform and if they are the type of person in ‘real life’ to reply promptly or not. Plus there can always be unexpected life factors that the other person is not aware of, ill-health etc.
The terms state a reply within 72 hours and the Code of Conduct states an agreement to reply - I know many members might not read or remember that!
THS is always open to suggestions on how this can be improved, feel free to add ideas here:
I also think we need to remember that applications and invites are only the initial step, it is the only way for members to connect and ask questions that are perhaps missing on a listing or profile or to clarify anything that is important to them. You might find out more and then realise the sit or sitter isn’t for you or will not work for whatever reason. That’s why you can withdraw your application or invite and decline a sitter. Hopefully, relieving the frustration of applicants not being the right fit for you.
No there is no bombarding for sitters. In fact, we apply then wait… and wait … then wait some more … then wait a while more …. then accept another more prompt sit and unapply for the one we were waiting on.
Oh what joy it would be if every pet parent acknowledged an application like you do.
I’m less than year on platform as sitter. Ive encountered many instances when I get no response from the HO/PP.
I joined because my nephews parents thought thisnwoudl suit my nomadic lifestyle for the past two years.
I only apply to sits that work with my schedule. Its been difficult to plan ahead when my messages go unread for weeks.
In one instance I responded that I could not chat while I was busy at work and offered to chat the bext evening. The HO/PP did not reapond until a week later that because i was busy she went with another sitter.
So it goes both ways in terms of responding in a timely fashion.
Ooo, I love that idea of a Reply Rating!
Regarding search by region - we’re in a very hot place that some sitters wouldn’t dream of coming to in summer months, therefore if we are in need during that time, I usually search for someone local who isn’t phased by the temperatures. That said, unless I’ve missed something, when I search for a sitter in our city via the THS app, I see all the sitters who reside in our city. But, when I search for sitters in our city via the THS website, I get only sitters who are “looking in your area,” which isn’t helpful to me at all. “Looking in your area” means I see sitters from all over the world who have selected my city as a place they would like to go. So I reach out to them and they say “no way would I go there in summer.” Waste of my time.
We always reply to messages from owners within a few minutes even if just to say we will respond fully later.
We have had a good percentage of applications where the owner has left the initial application message unread for over a week. In every one of those we have then had to decline the sit as travel costs are too high or our plans now clash but if not I would be loath to go further as it doesn’t bode well for a sit. I had no idea they received prompts to reply so now I’m even more surprised that they can’t even read a message in good time.
@AR-W Thank you for your reply. I will pass that feedback about the sitters looking to sit in your area onto the Product team. It’s very helpful insight as they have been looking at that page and trying to see what helps. The sitters that are ‘looking in your area’ have all applied for a sit recently in your area, but could be for any dates that year so as you mentioned might not be for the summer dates! Great point and I have passed this on in our internal feedback channel.