We chat with Andy Peck, the CEO & Founder of TrustedHousesitters, a site that allows members to stay for free in incredible homes all over the world in exchange for take care of the resident pet. These are just any homes, either. You will find chateaus with vineyards in France, to Eco-lodges with lamas in New Zealand, or chocolate box cottages in the British countryside. This makes the trip affordable and authentic, plus brings on a kind of adventure not all hotel stays offer.
Learn how and why house sitting works.
Q: What do you offer that others don’t?
Because we’re the world’s biggest house sitting site, with members spread across 140 countries, we have more choice – and because of this, our members travel more often, building and maintaining friendships with likeminded people all over the world. We’ve worked out that since we launched six years ago, we’ve already saved our members over $200m in travel accommodation and pet care costs. Unlike a house swap, there is no need to have someone stay in your home if you simply want to travel as a sitter.
Meet George and Charli, two pets who can be house sat in their beautiful home in Rutland in the UK. We filmed them ‘preparing’ for their house sitter!
Q: How are house sitters vetted?
We provide free instant verification procedures so our members can feel confident that the people they meet through our site can be trusted. To provide this, we have partnered with global digital identity check leader, Onfido. What Onfido provides is accurate identity, address and background checks powered by maching learning technology.
Members also choose to build their trust profiles through references and recommendations, and if they wish to acquire a higher level of verification, Onfido offers an optional police background check. Members who pass this are given a second digital verification badge, making them more appealing to many home owners. We’ve been told by Onfido’s founder that we have the most robust verification process in the sharing economy.
Q: How did the idea for TrustedHousesitters come to be?
I had the idea in 2011 on a vacation in Spain. I was staying in an incredible home, recovering from a near-death experience that had taken its toll on my health. The owners of the house had a wonderful dog called Dave. We bonded. The experience of hanging out with Dave became the best part of my holiday. It made me think there must be other people like me, who love animals but can’t or don’t own them. People who want to travel and see the world as much as possible, without always staying in hotels or renting. And for pet owners, I thought what a happier alternative this would be to kennels. Every vet and animal behaviorist we’ve spoken to tell us it’s a fact that pets prefer to remain in the homes they love with a different carer, than be taken out of their environment when their owners are away. What we’re offering is a win-win solution for everyone.
Q: How many countries are you represented in?
We’re in 140 countries, with house sitting opportunities from Australia and the US to Europe and the Far East.
Q: What trends do you notice in the travel industry and how are you playing a part?
We’ve done a lot of research into the future of travel post-Brexit and we know there are major concerns about how affordable travel will be. There’s also huge trend in the rise of staycations as people try to cut the cost of travel and this is where we provide the most inventive and affordable solution. For those who are still planning to travel abroad, we have free accommodation all over the world and the huge cost savings this comes with. We are helping people of every age live their out their dreams, be it young digital nomads, families looking for authentic travel experiences, solo travelers or retired people. As more and more people look to the sharing economy to afford the life experiences they dream of, we are that solution in the world of vacations and travel – complete with four and two legged friends to share each new adventure.