Unread applications and non responses

Wow, that’s crazy. We also always read the entire listing carefully, personalize our message, check connections and make 100% sure that we can do the sit. We also only apply to one sit at a time. Imagine if even half of the 50+ sitters did the same and all the time that went into the process. There are some HO listings that say “no time wasters”. That’s more direct than we like to be, but we also try to stay clear from HOs that don’t respect our time. Perhaps HOs should be nudged to only allow a certain number of applications and to keep the application process within 1-2 weeks (unless you are not flooded with applicants).

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I’m new to THS and am already experiencing multiple HO reading and not responding to my applications or follow up messages. I never send more than one follow up and always wait 3-4 days, so I don’t think I’m being over eager or pushy…not sure what’s up and it’s discouraging honestly.

Hi there!
I have been applying for family friendly sits in Australia that meet my availability. I too, have had quite a few go unreplied or declined. I had one lady that was interested and kept asking questions and appeared interested; she ended up having 8-11 applicants and then without notification, she found her sitter even though it is in December 2022 and I had to look her up to see which I won’t do anymore. I agree with Asellabella that it is discouraging when you don’t hear from them. However, I will keep going and apply for anything that I think would be ideal for us and keep anything archived in a folder that I don’t look at or care about once I apply for something. It’s the inbox i care about and pay attention to. All the homeowners want us back and we will be a returning family to one next month and all of them are in my inbox. Anything archived doesn’t get a second chance. I get the homeowners with 40+ applications but anything like 8-11 come on, at least a thanks but no thanks wouldn’t be too much.

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I have sent out invitations to several sitters and I get about 50% responses. That is where labels come in for me. I label those unread so I can save time when I review the invitations I have sent out.

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I am finding the same is true of sitters I am approaching… ( I have never had to approach sitters but there seems to be a shortage- or else my listing is truly terrifying people?? . I simply cannot find anyone and I have 3 weeks to go- endless people either not resounding or saying they are unavailable when their calendar says they are available!
As a homeowner I always reply to anyone who approaches me…

Hi @HillFamily and welcome to the forum. Today’s environment is different to the past, as we all know. You’ve touched on a few points that have been addressed in past posts. I’ll add links here, for easy access:

Current sitter/owner ratios, which includes Angela’s 10 tips to help have a successful listing.

Sitter availability calendar. It’s suggested that you only check the dates to see if there’s a black line across any of your date range. That means they have a confirmed THS sit. Otherwise, ignore the calendar as not all sitters use it.

As for your listing, you can embed a link in your forum username/profile and forum members will provide constructive feedback.

If you have a premium or standard membership, remember that you can boost your listing, which will move it to the first page again.

Francine,
Voluntary Forum Moderator

Yes, HillFamily.
I would like someone to accept my invite to sit, of course. At the very least please respond once the message is read. And the most of sitters that have responded are booked already which makes me think I should list my dates months ahead of time.

We had a similar situation happen to us also and just about gave up. Only to have the HO finally get ahold of us. They had both had Covid back to back and a death in the family. She apologized for the delay. We went on to accept the sit and all is good. Sometimes life does get in the way for the HO. We didn’t stop applying for other sits. We also sent a follow up message.

Definitely list your dates as soon as you can.

It looks like this topic strikes a nerve, especially with the Sitters! I hope that the THS staff will really consider what improvements could be made to the site to improve this experience.

Perhaps implementing a way to “review” HO’s who never reply–that way their reputation here is at risk if they aren’t courteous and forthright in their dealings. If they have some level of “skin in the game” then perhaps they’d be more thoughtful.

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I think I’ve mentioned this before but I’ll mention it again. I belong to 2 other platforms that utilize a response rating for both homeowners and sitters. You can assess who is responsive and who is not. Below is how it works, taken directly from their FAQs. Pretty basic and simple. It doesn’t change people’s behavior but at least you know what you might be dealing with.

The reply rating system is intended to make communication a faster and happier experience for all members. A reply rating appears on a member’s homeowner ad or sitter profile as a series of 5 dots. This rates the member’s responsiveness to first contact messages.

If a member has responded in a timely fashion, i.e. within 5 days to every first contact message, their reply rating will remain at the ideal 5 points.

For every first contact message that goes un-replied, a point is deducted. To redeem a lost point the member needs to answer promptly to the next two first contact messages that are received.

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Every time I go into my Inbox of late, this message automatically appears. As I have a combined membership but rarely use it as a HO, it’s good to see from a sitter’s perspective what owners are receiving. I’m assuming all owners are getting this message!

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We recently joined THS and started planning a long trip. When we started applying for sits, we would be very careful to rank the sits we liked and apply only for the sit we wanted most. Then wait for a response. On our first application we were lucky enough to get a response almost immediately and confirmed our first sit.

Unfortunately, as you might imagine after reading this thread, our experience on that application was actually the exception rather than the norm. We quickly learned many homeowners don’t even read applications. So we changed our strategy and started selecting all the sits we would like to do, even where dates overlap. So far we have applied to over 60 sits and have four confirmed. The response rate to our applications is no better than 10% within a few days of applying. Where we get a response and can arrange an interview, we typically confirm the sit with the homeowner.

We take the view that if a homeowner has taken the time to respond and talk with us, we should accept their sit and not “hold out” for another sit we might prefer because of the location. (And because we only apply to sits we we’d love to do so we’re confident in this approach). We only accept an offer to sit if we have spoken with the owners (even if it is offered first). We feel it’s important to get a feel for each other.

Once a sit is offered and accepted, we cancel our application for any sits that overlap (and for the few who have responded to our application, apologize that we are no longer available for their sit).

It can prove difficult to juggle sit requests sometimes as we try to be fair to everyone. We had one interview for a sit where the call went well, and in the end we advised the homeowner we also had another call already scheduled the same day and so we felt obliged to have that call too. We then received a message from the homeowner saying she was unhappy we we’re considering other sits and that she was effectively competing for us; she then declined our application. Our other call went really well and we accepted that sit.

Good sitters are not a commodity homeowners can take for granted - some even get paid (not on THS). Just as homeowners can have multiple applications, sitters can apply for multiple sits. Homeowners who respond to applications promptly are more likely to get the best sitters confirmed.

I treat everyone like I expect to be treated; with respect and understanding that not everyone is in the same place. I’m not offended if they can’t read my application…. There are other sits out there.

Happy hunting!

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That is definitely a way forward. Thank you for sharing the piece of information

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Same here. Apply for all the sits that appeal to us and are in our date brackets then wait and see. And I do agree that pet owners have to responsive to their applications to get “the best fit”.
Lately, we have found the response rate is definitely improving. Our last two sits were confirmed within two days and we have even had one that was read, acknowledged, video call and accepted within a day. That’s what I call progress!

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Not sure if it has been mentioned here, but on Nomador I think you can see the response rate of a HO. It was quite useful for us! We’d also be fine with getting our response rate displayed, just to be fair. On other platforms HOs can see how quickly sitters usually reply (also a good idea, I think).

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That’s a great idea! I’ve just withdrawn an application after 12 days of non response and same for a follow up just to say “is this still open & if not, please close or decline us” even though they had posted for 3 sits. Why bother? It is such a waste of time not to mention rude to not just say “no thank you” :flushed:

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Such good advice & all with a balanced view!

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We do the same, apply for multiple sits that suit us and then withdraw our applications for the owners who haven’t replied to our application or who have not committed to a video call to discuss the our application. The responsive home owners get rewarded and we get the sits we want. As the saying goes “he who hesitates is lost”

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I had a peculiar one when I applied for a sit recently whilst also asking quite a few questions, as it was one that basically just said “feed the cats twice a day and water the plants”!
I was surprised to receive a stand-alone invitation to sit, but no reply to my message.
I wrote back again to say thank you for the invitation but I would never accept a sit without feeling that I was a good fit, and I needed more details about the characters and routines of the pets. So I politely asked the questions again.
I never heard back and the message remains unread. I have since accepted another invitation which sounds delightful, but even my withdrawal message does not appear to have been read.
I would have been happy to try and help the homeowner to improve their listing to give more information, but as they already had more than a dozen applications they have plenty of options.

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