Sitter cancelled - no new applications

Hi everyone

Our sitter for our sit in May cancelled because he has to take care of a family member who had an accident and broke a leg. Of course this is totally understandable and we would still like to welcome this sitter another time.

But now we have a problem as we didn’t get any new applications for the sit, which we find rather unusual. Same for our sit in July. I’ve changed dates, boosted, re-posted the sits - nothing, for weeks.

Last year and even this year around Easter, we got enough applications to choose the sitter best suited - though in the end the sitter also had to take back the application as she had to go elsewhere to sit a friend’s place, which we also understood. Luckily my 82-year-old mother was so kind to take care of our ponies.
But since then applications kind of suddenly stopped. The sitter we had chosen for the time in May had been the only applicant. No applications for July.

We’re wondering why this is? Is there anything wrong with our listing? I haven’t changed it, so it’s still the same as last year, which seemed to work pretty well back then. What can we do?

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I’m sure you’ll get lots of good suggestions. Most important for me is to improve your photos. The one that is currently first does nothing to sell your listing, sorry. The 3rd last one with the pony is the best one. However, many of them are dark and dull. You can probably get much better ones - or at least brighten them using an app on the phone. Also include a photo of the bedroom that the sitters will use.

I would remove the reference to the house being a former pig stable. Instead of saying “The building Lars and I live in, used to be a pig stable once…” say “Lars and I live in a separate building” It is important to clarify that your mother does not live in the same house, since that is against THS rules.

if you can offer a car, include that in the listing. That is a huge attraction.

The headline is confusing. I though that “Two pony pensioners…” was referring to the humans ("pony’ is an adjective as well as a noun)! Say “Senior ponies near Bremen. car included” instead, if appropriate. We know from the listing header that there are 2 of them, and a cat.


I agree with all the points Lassie made. Remove the mention of a pig stable. Just call it a renovated farm building or something. And yes, please include pictures of the bed (including bed size, if there is only one). If you have more than one sitter, this is important. Being 5km from supermarkets etc. is also a detractor because, if someone doesn’t have a car, they are biking 10 km total each time that they need supplies. The photos aren’t terrible, but they also don’t sell the listing. If the weather is good now, I would go out and take new exterior shots (showing how green and beautiful Germany is in May). Good luck.

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As @Lassie and @Harris2 have mentioned, your photos are really letting you down.

I would advise deleting photos 1,2,4,5,6,7,8,&9

Next, add a good, bright photo each of your kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, plus a couple of bright photos of outside.
If you have one, add a photo of both ponies together for a new main photo if you don’t have one with both ponies then the sunny one with the brown pony would be my choice

The use of your car will really help find a sitter due to your location. When you mention it you are too vague. Will it be available for both dates or not? If so add it to your heading in capital letters - If it is only available for one of the dates then make that clear in capital letters in your listing.


Agreeing with the photo points others mentioned. A few other thoughts:

  1. Going by your positive reviews, your place seems to be a brilliant opportunity for a family interested in horses to get real life experience. You are clear on the time commitment and the details about their care. I’d play up this point more, ‘Seeking loving horse sitters/families, experience pony life!’ especially as it’s summer time/school holidays on the 2nd set of dates and families may be a good fit here. I’d expand the photos and details so that families know you have x beds in x bedrooms so they can see if they would ‘fit’ in your house.

  2. I’d put some more details about your mum being on site, to describe the situation. My mother lives in a separate building on-site and mostly keeps to herself at age 82, but she is available in you have questions or in an emergency. She only speaks German but she is always willing to try and help. Or whatever the case may be…sitters want to know if she’s going to be dropping by with fresh baked bread and ‘spying’ on them or if she’s someone who waves at them from a distance on her morning walk and that’s it.

  3. I’d provide clarity about the car and extend your options (if willing): If you are over 25 we are happy to provide the use of my car while we are away. If you arrive to Bremen Airport or Oldenburg or Bremen train stations I can pick you up and drop you off as public transport isn’t available in this area.

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I took a look at your listing and might be able to suggest a few things. One thing I often heard is “Last year, my listing”, “before 2020, my listing”, “I used to get multiple applications, etc.” I think it is crucial to understand that the world of traveling has changed: it’s gone through a lot in the past 3 years, costs of travel are rising, and people are perhaps more careful when applying to sits. A few of us had our plans changed, due to unforeseen circumstances (cancelled flights, cancelled listings, cancelled sits at the last minute, etc., we lost a lot of money, on hotels, last minute flights, etc. ( so pet sitters might think twice before applying. July is a expensive month to travel, so you might want to appeal to someone who is located in Germany already? Maybe a new sitter who would like to start their pet sitting journey and get a first review? Maybe add German to the listing (I have seen this in France and Spain, where the 2 languages were used, so that it would appeal to more local sitters as it showed there were no language barriers). But because it is harder to travel, listings need to be “competitive” in order to really appeal to a lot of people.
Each sitter is different, keep that in mind, but I would suggest simply adding pictures. If the picture quality or quantity topic it has been mentioned multiple times, it is because it is overlooked most times. A clear picture of a space where the sitter will sleep is missing (the bedroom is so important! We love to see the size of the bed for taller people, or simply where we will be spending our nights), especially as your listing says “single bed” which wouldn’t appeal to a couple, but maybe friends? a family? how many single beds are they? can we see the size of them? a good picture(s) of the bedding situation is really appreciated and goes a long way.
I LOVE that you have a real espresso machine, it is a rare occurrence on sits, and I would definitely take a picture of just that machine, to show coffee lovers like myself that there is a way to make a gorgeous barista style coffee in the morning, without trekking far.
People who like to cook like myself would love to know what you have on hand, so more pics of the kitchen appliances might be of use (different angles of the kitchen). I say that because in more rural locations, we might not feel like cycling 5km to go to the restaurant often, so knowing that everything is on the premise might help.
The bathroom picture shows that you do have a bathtub and a shower, but isn’t super clear, so maybe more pictures from different angles might help, of the toilet and sink perhaps?
I have seen listings that had very little pictures, but were in “popular” locations, such as London, Paris, New York, etc. but when there is a need for a car, or a bicycle, and when it is a little trickier to reach, then sometimes the listing needs a few more selling points, and the more pictures you put on your listing, the better.
Also, that might be just me, but the “Apart from keeping the house clean” mention could be deleted. Our role as sitters is to keep pets happy, healthy and take care of the house, so I would just start with " it might be necessary to water the garden plants, depending on the weather".
I would focus on adding pictures, perhaps adding German, and maybe as uk_american mentioned, adding an explanation regarding your mom: we allll had at least once, had a parent, or a friend who HAD to get car keys or forgot something and had to visit while we were pet sitting, and even though that’s against the terms and conditions, as no third party should be present, we like to know that we will not be surprised visited or that the family members living close won’t be visiting. If they are, then simply mention it.
I hope this helps, you’ve already had a good few suggestions to help boost your listing, and I hope you find the best sitter!