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Publié le by NmNomador

Trust in House-sitting: a matter of right definition

Trust is a word of crucial importance on a house-sitting website. You need a healthy dose of trust to entrust your home to strangers, right?
So, what is a trusted website? What does it mean to be a trusted host or house-sitter? Can trust be measured? And can it even be defined? Not so easy!
So we decided to ask Mariannig to share her thoughts with us. She launched Nomador, the not-quite-like-others new house-sitting platform, after years of experience in house-sitting. She has already told us about this adventure and Nomador ambition to go beyond just house and pet-sitting, by creating a real community of like-minded pet-loving travellers.
So what can Mariannig tell us about Trust on a house-sitting platform?

Trust is a fundamental element on all matchmaking websites that allow "strangers" to meet on the Internet.

This is such a vast and complex question! Matchmaking platforms have popped up on the internet in recent years and have given birth to new forms of peer-to-peer exchanges. Those exchanges between neighbours or between people from different horizons are always increasing. This is made possible through digital progress, and encouraged by people’s new aspirations to create links and become more savvy consumers and travellers: we’re speaking about collaborative consumption, or sharing economy websites.

Trust is a fundamental element on all platforms that allow "strangers" to meet on the Internet. This is an issue that’s widely discussed and shared by some of the pioneers of this economy, like Rachel Bostman in her 2012 TedX talk « The currency of the new economy is Trust ».  New ways are invented to create trust and consolidate it. But... What are we all really talking about when we talk about trust?

Each site should empower its members to build the type of trust that is suited to its activity. The big question is: what kind of trust? If you rent your lawnmower to a neighbour, you need trust in his ability not to damage it. If you decide to use car-sharing to go from A to B, you need trust in a stranger’s punctuality, safe driving, and pleasant company. If you welcome a couchsurfer, you need to trust the stranger you will host for a night. But house-sitting is another matter! We’re talking about entrusting our dearest belongings, our home and beloved pets to a stranger we’ve never met before… And while we are away! It's not as simple as renting a car to someone, or welcoming a host for a night!

How can you trust a stranger in your home?

The fears that are related to house-sitting are generally unfounded, but totally logical. Those who invite house-sitters for the first time may sometimes face their friends’ amazement: “A stranger in my home? Never ever!”
Spontaneous fears are usually:
- How can I be sure that they won’t be out all day and leave my pets alone?
- And what if some of my belongings disappear?
- Are they going to invite people into my house without telling me?

Running our French agency, Ilidor, for eight years has enabled us to gather statistics on several thousands of homesits. 97% of our users found the experience "very satisfactory, going beyond their expectations."

For the remaining 3%, the real disappointments or dissatisfactions were very far from the initial paranoia. When the magic of the experience does not happen, it is almost always because of minor misunderstandings - such as a different understanding of the word "cleanliness" or "tidyness". And believe it or not: the disappointments are a bit more frequent on the house-sitter’s side. They don’t always want to report it, because a friendly link has been created with the home-owner, and they had a nice holiday!
House-sitting, just like family or friend relationships, requires adaptability and open-mindedness. Each home is different, and everyone has a different way of living. This is what explains the 3% "not totally satisfied". But these are just details: the initial need to have pets well looked after at home, and to have the home secured by honest people is fulfilled.

If you want to eliminate major risks, just proceed with the same care as for other important activities of daily life. I like giving the example of babysitting. Baby-sitting is as old as the hills, and also feeds its own paranoia. But most parents could not do without a babysitter. And wise parents take precautions before entrusting their children (and their home, too!) to a new babysitter or to an Au Pair. They ask questions, they ask for references, they take the time to explain their expectations and give instructions... The keys to a successful experience are exactly the same for house-sitting.

It's not that complicated ... but you must choose a secure website.

It's not that complicated, but you must choose a secure website, and then use the tools at your disposal with common sense. They’ve been designed to help you build trust and consolidate trust!

Choose a secure website.

  • On Nomador all members have their ID checked before they can contact an owner. This is a totally new feature on a house-sitting platform so far. As far as I know we are the first ones to have real ID checks as a basic component of the building of trust. This allows owners to view the Trust Index on Profiles (the sum of the documents that were submitted to the website moderation). These ID checks mean a lot of work for us: we examine thousands of documents one by one, before validating them or not. But this is a necessary step to lay the foundation of trust, the one which is common to all Internet matchmaking activities: knowing that a person has a real identity. This filter is certainly a deterrent to people who are not motivated or mere tourists, because uploading documents requires an effort.
  • It also means that our members trust us, and this is also why we have opted for secure connections to our servers. Can you see the little green padlock on top of the Nomador website?  It reflects a great concern for security in the exchange of personal data. For the same reason (personal safety), we do not to keep documents on our servers. They are erased as soon as they are checked.

Use the tools to build trust step by step.

  • An internal messaging system
  • The assessment system. We designed ours so that it is really house-sitting related. Each personality emerges through badges that reflect the member’s main qualities. Written recommendations may also be displayed by subscribers.

And become part of a community of people who share common values...

Just a year after launching, we gathered more than 10 000 members all over the world and we are working at creating a community of people who share the same values:

  • Trust, care and sense of commitment
  • Generosity of spirit, sharing and being of service to others
  • Curiosity, open-mindedness and adaptability
  • Global awareness and to always strive for deeper understanding

When people choose to join the Nomador community it indicates to all that they share these states of mind and values. Not just that they want to save money on pet boarding solutions or on accommodation. Like any community, we attract people who recognise part of themself in us, and this is also a way of building a trusted community.

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