Sitter calendar availability

Hi @red_thread and welcome. Definitely not a stupid question. If you use the forum spy glass and search the word ‘calendar’ you’ll see it’s been a topic of conversation, with many voicing that there’s certainly room for improvement. You’ll also see that some choose not to keep theirs current, because of its shortcomings.

What you can be sure of is that those dates on a sitter’s calendar that have a line crossed through them is when they are on a booked THS sit.

My personal opinion is to not spend too much time checking people’s calendars. If you are searching so as to invite people in a certain area, I would go ahead and do that and see what responses you receive. You are not limited to doing that one at a time, but just be respectful to notify people, when you have made a selection.

Given I’m a sitter, perhaps homeowners will give you other suggestions. I hope you’re successful in your search.

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I would recommend not bothering with the calendar at all. Based on previous threads it seems that most people don’t use it because it’s so difficult to use. I know I haven’t even bothered to try updating mine in years because my first experience was so frustrating. It’s something they’re working on.

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Thanks @Snowbird and @CreatureCuddler - much appreciated :slight_smile:

We are both sitters and home owners. I’ve just posted new sit dates, then looked for sitters to invite. I filtered on our state, the dates we need, and those with Dog experience. Many of the results do NOT show availability through the dates in the filter. This is happening on the mobile and desktop sites. So now it entails opening each sitter profile to see if their dates are highlighted for being available.

Admin - any thoughts on this search behaviour, and if it can be fixed?

There are several, quite long discussions about the calendar and its functionality, on the forum, if you use the search function (magnify glass) you can find these.

I believe it is one of the many upgrades being looked at by THS, but it is only a smallish company with limited resources using oldish website/software, so this may take some time!

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Hi @Breezylake As @Petermac has said, this is a topic of ongoing discussion. However, your best chance of success in finding suitable sitters is with a stellar listing. I suggest you take a look at Angela’s top 10 tips and see if you can make any changes that will better promote your listing.

You can embed your listing in your forum username. Here are the instructions:

How to embed your listing into your forum username/profile

Or you can post details of the location as shown in the listing and the date range. Forum members can then provide constructive feedback.

If you are viewing sitters’ calendars, I suggest you only rely on those dates with the line through them, as they are confirmed THS sits.

Francine,
Voluntary Forum Moderator

Thank you @Snowbird and @Petermac, got it.
We have 9 reviews for our home (and 29 reviews as sitters) so I’m confident in the strength of our listing, and in what a sitter is looking for. Have already coached someone that declined yesterday in how to update their calendar; they didn’t know there was different functionality on the mobile vs. desktop sites.

I’ll keep looking, we have time yet. Now I better understand how we get sit invites when our calendar shows us as unavailable. Thank you!

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Hello There!!

I’ve done a few house sits, and I was just wondering how many home owners actually reach out to you when you put your availability on your profile?

Hi @KoriStephens, welcome to the forum!

We’ve been on THS as full time house sitters for nearly 5 years and always keep a full open availability. We get invites occasionally and it ebbs and flows. Sometimes a couple in a week and sometimes we go a month or two with none.

We tend to mainly get ‘local’ sit invites, meaning from owners who live in the same city that’s listed on our profile (however, we go a year+ without being in that city). Occasionally we get invites from other areas.

To be honest, we’ve never had an invite from an owner we hadn’t previously spoken with that worked out for our dates and travel needs. So, we rely mostly on looking for and applying for listed sits.

Hopefully that helps a bit :slight_smile:

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Hello @KoriStephens and welcome to the community. We hope you enjoy starting and joining conversations, and connecting with other members from around the world.

This is a good question, and one that for us has varied tremendously over our years of house sitting. Generally, because we’ve always been very proactive in applying for sits, we’ve not been available to accept. Now we are based in France, and with the big upturn in house sitting, we are getting requests on a weekly basis, some for repeat sits rather than based on our calendar, but many that are new. I suspect, however, if we were still showing our previous location of London, it could be far less at the moment.

What’s your experience so far?

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Hi @KoriStephens
When the listing for sitters was based on how many reviews a sitter had then we used to receive about 10 per week. Now, we receive about one a year.
I am not complaining as this gives everyone a fair chance. Also, it was apparent that many of the HOs had not read our profile or even looked at our availability calendar.
That is another issue, you may have read on other threads that it is too difficult for people to manually keep their calendar up to date so they may not even be available.

Hi @KoriStephens,
I used to get two or three per yea., Most came while I was already on a sit and the HO saw that I was already in-country. Since the upturn in available housesitting opportunities (as the world opens), I’ve gotten quite a few. Most have been local but several were in other states and one international invite.

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A post was merged into an existing topic: Manage Availability, Delete Old Applications and unlike sits?

AMEN!

… … …

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I think it is important to distinguish between “full time/Nomad” sitters and “occasional” sitters, regarding the requirements of the Calendar.

The default is white and unavailable. (maybe if the default was grey, would that make a difference - is it the colour or lack of colour that makes it confusing ?)

The majority of sitters, in my opinion, will fall under the “occasional” category.

Full-time employees working in an office, supermarket, trade, teachers etc, with only a few weeks annual leave/holidays to sit, or families who can only travel during school holidays, so for them it is easier to add dates when they will be available to sit - possibly only once or twice a year.

Actually, if you think about it, there is no difference between adding dates you are available or unavailable - you still need to enter a start date and an end date so as far as time goes, it is exactly the same.

THS will go with the majority, and I think it is quite a big majority - “occasional”

The Forum members tend to be more “full time/nomad” sitters, so their thoughts sometimes look like the majority opinion, but that is not the case when the total membership is looked at.

Improvements in the calendar are needed, but any changes need to reflect the needs of everyone.

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Depends on the sitter though, doesn’t it?

We are only available to sit for a couple of months a year. If I had to put in when I’m not available, I’d have to put in most of the year. And then how far into the future would I put?

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That’s a fair point. I agree with pete above that the voices of the forum tend to skew full time so I tend to forget that probably most people are likely only occasional sitters. I guess the best option is to allow users to choose when entering the time whether it should show them as available or unavailable during that period. Give the calendar 3 states: Grey = user status is unknown. White = User is available. Green = user is unavailable. Default everyone to grey and then let people add their availability or unavailability. It would be a relatively simple implementation that would give users better control over how their calendar appears. I also think that it’s important to include the location indication. Because available doesn’t mean available to everyone. It almost certainly means available in a specific location/region.

ETA: It would also be nice if the calendar could stack entries, like on google calendars. So I can enter in that I’m available in France for all of May. But when I get sits, it will show them both so I don’t have to edit the availability. That alone would have me using the tool. It’s the ridiculousness of having to edit availability to account for new unavailability that has me not using it.

More thoughts = more edits: Another option would be, to just give people a checklist of the months so they can mark their availability like that. Which months are you available - check each box. If you have partial availability, enter specific dates.

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oooh I love this and yes it most certainly does not!

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I like this a whole lot!

Also, the region of availability. I keep getting invited to the stays that I have favorited in Europe. I’m not going to be in Europe until next spring, but I like to have an eye on the places that could potentially be available.

Yes. I think without the ability to add location, the calendar will never be really useful.

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