When publishing a TrustedHousesitters home and pet owner listing, a well-written listing is significant in helping you secure your ideal sitter. Imagine you are a sitter, what would you want to know about an owner's pets and home before applying for a sit? In this instance, less is not necessarily more.
We’ve put together some helpful tips on how to create a “stand out” listing that will help capture the interest and attention of potential sitters.
Capture attention with a punchy headline
The aim is to create an appealing and punchy headline to get the sitter’s attention. It’s not difficult to be creative, just think about what it is that really makes your pets and home unique. Why should a sitter pick your listing?
Keep it short
You haven’t got many characters to make that first impression, so make sure to keep your listing headline short and punchy.
Here are some examples of real headlines that captured our attention:
“Two soppy doggies by the sea”
“Gorgeous home. Even more amazing dogs”
“Fantastic waterfront home with fantastic older yellow Lab”
“Hanky is looking for dog sitters for a Nordic white winter vacation”.
These are great examples of how a listing headline should read - short but informative; enough to give a sitter an impression of what they can expect from the listing right away.
If you think your place doesn’t offer anything that differentiates you from other owners, try a clever one-liner or something persuasive that would make people want to click on your listing. For example, you might want to consider accepting applications from first-time sitters and you could mention this in your heading. After all, there are plenty of sitters who are enthusiastically seeking their first sit.
High-quality photos of your home and pets
A picture is worth a thousand words, and this is never truer than when you are trying to attract sitters to apply to your listing. Sitters love to see where they could be staying and the pets they could be looking after. The only way to do this effectively is with photos. After all, when a friend gets a new pet, what’s the first thing you ask to see? A photo, of course!
Give people a virtual tour of your home by uploading pictures of all areas of your home that the sitter has access to; for example, the kitchen, the lounge and the bedroom — remember to make it super clear where your sitter will be staying within the home, especially where you’d prefer them to sleep. Include plenty of photos of your pets is also guaranteed to get sitters excited about your listing. We suggest that 6 photos minimum get the best results.
Before taking your photos, take some time to arrange everything as if you were preparing to welcome your guest. Clean up and remove clutter, open the curtains to brighten your space, turn on the lights, place a vase of flowers here and there and make sure the pets have had a good groom ready.
Your photos should showcase your home, your local area, and pets and help set expectations for the sitter. When it comes to uploading your photos, resolution and quality matters. Shaky, out-of-focus photos aren’t suitable for your listing, so ensure you are only using high-quality shots.
Know someone who is handy with a camera?
If you struggle to find your way around a camera, why not ask a friend or family member to help you. Or better yet, consider hiring a professional photographer to capture your home and pets? Not only will they capture your home in it’s best light, but they will also be able to provide you with high-resolution photos that will look great in your listing.
A thorough and descriptive listing
After your photos, the description is the most important element of your listing. If a sitter has clicked through to your listing, they are probably seriously considering applying so your description will help you attract your ideal sitter.
You don’t have to be a writer to make your listing stand out, all whilst accurately representing your property. The thing to remember here is that there is no word limit, and the more information you can provide, the better! There are three headings in your listing and here is what you should include in each section.
Home and Location
In this section, you can let potential sitters know more about the property they will be staying in and the surrounding area. Start your description by telling sitters basic information about your property. You could include:
- What kind of property the sitter will be staying in - e.g. home, apartment, houseboat…
- How big the property is (number of rooms)
- Which areas of the property the sitter have access to - including a description of each of the rooms
- Any noteworthy features about the property - e.g. large garden, swimming pool, beachfront
In your second paragraph, you can really expand on why your home and pets would be a sitter’s ideal house sit. It’s always worth remembering that you are used to everything about your home and local area and may take for granted all of the wonderful aspects that attracted you to it in the first place. Part of a sitter’s desire is to live like a local, look at it again for the first time, through a sitter’s eyes and talk about:
- How far is your home from the airport or transport links
- Are there shops within walking distance?
- Will the sitter need a car and or could you make one available?
- Is there anything of interest in your local area - e.g. tourist attractions, local events
- Will the sitter be based in a city centre or will they enjoy a peaceful retreat
- Your favourite areas of interest in your locale
Use this section to really sell your listing and give your sitter an idea of what they can expect when they come to care for your pets. Be honest though and resist the temptation to oversell. Are you strict when it comes to cleaning and tidying, or are you happy with “lived-in and relaxed?” Don’t be afraid to be honest and mention this in your listing.
Responsibilities and Pets
For many sitters, this will be the most important section of your listing. Make sure it's super clear what your sitters responsibilities are — you should let potential sitters know all the thorough and in-depth details about your expectations and your pet care requirements. As pet lovers, we all know that animals have their own personalities and this section is perfect for telling sitters all about your furred, feathered or scaled companions. In this section, you could include:
- How many pets you have, their ages if known and their species
- Are they rescues, seniors, or pets with special needs?
- Are you looking for sitters with any particular pet care skills? - this way the most suitable sitters will apply
- The personality of your pets - are there any behavioural traits that your sitter should be aware of?
- Your pet's routine - how many times a day do they need to be walked or fed and how much time do you spend on average on your pet’s routines?
- Can your pets be left alone? - whilst not tourists, sitters do like to explore the local area if and when they get the opportunity, so make sure to mention how long the pets can be left on their own
- Medication or special care - do your pets take any medication or do they require any special care?
In this section, you should also include information about the day-to-day running of the house. You could mention things about collecting the mail, taking out the bins or watering the garden. There may be things you do on a daily basis that you don’t think are worth mentioning, but if you want to find your perfect sitter, list everything required of them so there are no surprises for the sitter when they arrive.
Although you will have an opportunity to go into more detail about your home, pets, and local area in your ‘Welcome Guide’, this is the first opportunity to attract a sitter so you should include as much detail as possible.
Add Your Dates
Once you have completed your description and uploaded your photos, you are then ready to add dates and publish your listing. If you want to spend some time with your sitter before you depart or upon your return, add an extra day either side of your holiday/trip so sitters know exactly when they will be needed. This will give you the opportunity to get to know your sitter before your departure and run through everything relating to the pets, your house and the local area.
If you can accommodate your sitters during these extra days, mention it in the listing. If you can’t, make sure sitters are aware of this before confirming them as a sitter.
Put a face to a name
We strongly suggest that you arrange a thorough handover with your chosen sitter. Many of our sitters even arrange to meet prior to the house sit starting, just to make sure they are a perfect fit. This makes the whole process smoother for both parties. It will give you the opportunity to show them around the house, give them extra tips and tricks into how things work, and give you an opportunity to see how they interact with your precious pets. You could even take them on a local walking route that Rover loves, or show them the secret treat drawer.
And that's it...
It's time to create that perfect listing.