Why is there such an imbalance of Houses in Europe? UK over 2K and rest of Europe under 100 (95% to 5%)

Hi Lokstar
I am a member of MindMyHouse. Although it is a small platform, it does feature European sittings, some of which are in Spain and France.
Very inexpensive to join as a sitter, free for owners.

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@Lokstar Nomador also has some European sits.

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Thank you @Itchyfeet @botvot I’ll check them both out. We are also in the petsitting in France FB group.

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@Lokstar I imagine it’s quite easy indeed to book back-to-back sits in the UK. For the rest of Europe, the challenge is more: can I find a suitable sit at all?! I only sit in places that don’t require renting a car, being a couple, or looking after dogs, so that leaves me with sits for mostly cats in cities & towns, and where they’re fine with having a single person. Well, that supply is small and thus often very popular / ‘oversubscribed’

@Bluehorse Yes I can see that would be a challenge in Europe! We are a couple with own car and we sit dogs (and everything else!) So no restrictions like you have and its STILL not easy! Anyway I wish you much luck! :blush::pray:

Yes @Lokstar, that makes life easier indeed - car, couple etc. I don’t sit dogs, cause on my own & without a car, that means I often would only have a few hour window to explore and see something of the surroundings. Cats are easier being left alone

I actually think I’m going to check out Nomador as well, as a at least 2 people have suggested, because since the 5 application rule was implemented, it’s become really difficult to still get ‘cat/town or city/single’ sits in continental Europe. E.g. they just disappear so quickly that I often can’t even ‘catch’ them. So I’m quite in need of another website that has (more) sits in non-UK Europe available which don’t disappear soon after posting

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If you fancy Istanbul @Bluehorse there seem to be quite a few new cat city sits coming up recently. Turkey is beautiful & still very cheap to travel in :tr::heart: (clearly biased as it’s our home country) although technically only a tiny bit is European :wink:

@Bluehorse yes good idea- try everything! that’s why I asked (above) about other sites. There is an FB house/pet sitting group for France too.

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Hi @Cuttlefish, Istanbul was actually my very last sit before the world locked down (the day after my return) in 2020. So yes, I’ve been there :slight_smile: - although not looking to do another sit there for the moment. I do want to return to Turkey for traveling the country at some point; I first did so in 2005 and really enjoyed it, although don’t know when that will happen again

I am currently on 2 3 week sits in UK. I have applied to several sits in Eastern Europe, France in particular, and can’t seem to get any. And I apply as soon as I see them! I’m thinking it’s because I’m American and am only on my third sit? Hard to know! They rarely leave feedback, just “application declined”. So I don’t know if I need to change my wording or what the issue is. Discouraging!

@rnamyl Do you live in the US? If they think you may need to fly over to Europe to get to that sit, they may certainly see that as a risk. If you don’t have many references yet, that’s in general making things a bit harder.

Nonetheless, getting applications declined is a common thing; you’ll likely have many more of them declined than accepted. That’s how it works, esp. if there’s so few non-UK/ rest of Europe sits to go around…

@rnamyl Without seeing the types of sits you are applying for, your profile, and the types of messages you are sending, it would be hard to say if there is any particular issue you are having that you may improve upon, or if it is just simply the fact that most people don’t get every sit they apply for.

In many cases, there is nothing ‘wrong’ with the applicant, it is just that the HO can only pick one person. And what makes them pick who they pick is anybody’s guess.

Some might go with the first person who applied if they really like them. Some may base it totally on experience and number of reviews. Some may have a personal connection with the applicant–a common hobby, job, life experience,etc… Some may prefer someone who will already be in the country.

Maybe the person they picked had a really good reason to be in the area–family nearby-- and the owner wanted to help them out by giving them a place to stay.

While some people may find they prefer someone from the same country or region, I can’t imagine that is a major factor for most HO’s. My husband and I–both American-- booked a sit in Greece in January, are currently in Prague and have two more sits in London coming up in a few weeks. Almost every international sit we book is from outside that country with people of a different nationality than us.

You may already be doing all these things but in case not, some important things to consider:

Be sure you are reading listings thoroughly–someone who doesn’t for example, may find themselves applying for a sit as a single person when the listing says the owner only wants couples. The owner may have noted something very important in the listing that they hope the sitter will address in their application, and if the sitter doesn’t, they may assume they didn’t read it carefully. These sorts of things will result in automatic rejections most likely. I know a lot of owners complain about sitters clearly not reading the listing, and I imagine for people with a ‘popular’ sit, this is happening more often.

Personalize the message to show you read the listing. Address the owner by name; mention the pets by name. Note any skills or experience the owner says they want to the sitter to have. Address something in the listing that may seem important to the owner and will honor, like the sitter being okay with the dog sleeping on the bed.

Share some information about yourself that you think showcases your experience and competency. I personally keep applications messages short (about a paragraph or so) and that seems to work for us. We mainly stick to the specifics of the listing and how we could be a good fit. I don’t go into too much detail about us personally–we have a really detailed profile that takes care of that.

If you are interested in sits in France in particular, you might consider joining Nomador–the site is based in France and it leans towards sits there even more heavily than this site does towards the UK.

You would almost certainly be able to get a sit there or in another European country as they have some listings for those as well. I don’t currently have an active membership, but I do still get notifications for listings, and you see many of them sitting there for a long time. I imagine they have a much smaller membership than THS by far. They give an option for a 3 month membership as well as a yearly one.

If you would like to send me a link to your profile, I am happy to take a look at it, and see if there are any tweaks you can make on it.

Thank you. I really appreciate your time and information. Confirmation of what I am doing, except it is possible my applications are too thorough. Some appreciated detail, but for others may not and true, and understand it might be competitive and I have few sits so far, I will look at the other site.

Here’s an example app, if that doesn’t break any rules
:Find the Perfect Pet Sitter! Home & Pet Sitting Made Easy | TrustedHousesitters.com

A few ideas that might help @rnamyl - Have you changed your location to the UK as that might help? (Then they know you don’t need to fly from the US to do the sit). Can you speak French & is it in your profile if so (or if not, then start learning on Duolingo and say so). Ask for feedback when they do decline as it will help for next time. Best of luck :crossed_fingers:

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Hi @stewartlikeshousesitting
It is an interesting question.
I noticed the same, however I have to say I am not so surprised.
In UK there are many ads that’s true. Most people living there are English native speakers and they are advantaged in being able to communicate easily. Besides, it is quite in the culture to host “strangers” in their houses (b&b, airbnb, language students and ultimately, house or pet sitters).
The main Countries where I am focussing my searches are Ireland and Italy. There are many less sittings in Ireland, however the population is much lower.
Italy has a slighly smaller population compared to UK, however the number of postings is extremely low. There are some days when there are no sittings at all. The main reason is that many people do not speak English, or don’t feel confident enough to communicate.
In Italy it is not very much in the culture and mentality to host “strangers” who go into somebody’s house. There is a lot of mistrust. B&bs and Airbnbs have been introduced only recently and I guess that there are many less similar accommodations compared to UK for example.
For the above reasons, I see that most of the very few sittings have been advertized by English native speakers who live in Italy (people from UK and USA for instance).
I would say this is the main reason. I cannot talk for the other Countries as I am not looking elsewhere yet.
Hopefully it will change and there will be more opportunities spread all over Europe. Who knows, perhaps THS might offer in the future a multilingual service?

Yes I do but I’ve added that “currently I am on a couple of sits in the UK”, which does reassure some but I’ll keep trying I guess! I’m trying to be a “perfect” sitter to continue the good reviews! Thanks!

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I just realized that the 5 application limit rule actually further skews the balance towards UK sits. Here’s an example of this afternoon:

I obviously can’t be checking & refreshing the THS website all day long, because I also work. So I was on calls with clients this afternoon. In between 2 calls I briefly checked THS and noticed an interesting sit in Spain. However I had no time to respond at that time - work took priority.

Now prior to mid-2022 (new rules coming in place) I would have been able to respond this evening, or at least after my calls would have finished. However as this was one of the relatively rare non-UK sits for the Europe region, and in a popular location, the sit quickly reached the 5 application limit.

On the contrary, because UK sits are so plentiful, the balance between available sits and available sitters is less extreme (vs. continental Europe). And perhaps sitters are even in less of a rush to respond because there’s always so many UK sits to go around, so we’re not speaking about a scarcity situation.

All in all that means, that (and this is hypothetical) when a sit in the UK is posted on this platform, there’s probably a good chance that -on average- it stays visible for a longer period of time than when a non-UK (in Europe) sit is posted. The competition for the latter is more extreme and there’s much more scarcity, so with the 5 application limit in place, non-UK sits are -on average- more likely to disappear from the listings quickly and switch to “reviewing status”.

And that then means that at any given time the number of sits shown in the UK vs. rest of Europe is likely to be further tipped towards the UK (the poster of this thread says 95/5%; last week I counted 97/3%).

Hope I’ve made myself clear & not confused you instead :-): if a non-UK sit goes to reviewing status (5 appl. limit) within 60 minutes or less after posting due to the scarcity of such sits, and a UK sit goes to reviewing status within say…1 day because of the abundance of such sits, then the number of UK sits vs. non-UK sits that are active in the listings will be further tipped ‘in favour’ of the UK. Or in other words, the number of non-UK sits will appear even lower than it actually is. Just something I thought about based on my experience this afternoon

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I would say that that is because a majority of people want to go TO Europe and are vacationing FROM the UK. I mean Europe is a huge destination for the entire world so it makes sense. A lot of the homes are rented out in Europe and folks take their pets with them in Europe. I’m just glad there are any homes in Europe to pet sit for! Also the European sits go super fast! So maybe you’re not seeing them…?