Host Turned Hospitable Team Member: The Story of Brian Seelos

Brian Seelos

By The Hospitable Team

Brian Seelos initially started his career as a financial planner, before transitioning to a property manager and former short-term rental (STR) host. He now works here at Hospitable.com, the platform he once used to manage his STRs.

After manually listing and managing his properties on various vacation rental websites for years, Brian wanted a more efficient way to do things. He quickly saw the value in using Hospitable to automate and streamline many of the tasks associated with being a STR host.

He was so impressed with how much time and effort Hospitable.com saved him that he eventually became a raving fan of the product—and the company. So much so that he applied for a job and is now part of the team!

We’ll hear from Brian about his journey from STR host to a Hospitable employee and learn more about what it’s like working for a company that understands the firsthand struggles and pain points of hosts.

Getting started as a short-term rental host and property manager

Brian Seelos had no idea what he was getting into when he first started hosting on Airbnb in early 2017.

Residing in Atlanta, East Coast of the United States, Brian and his wife bought a duplex with the idea to live in one unit and list the other on Airbnb with the simple aim of paying off their mortgage faster.  “We bought the house in 2017, started renovating, and finally rented out the upstairs on Airbnb,” says Brian.

"Our friends learned about what we were doing and wanted to help them rent their houses for certain weekends. Since our town is a college town, there are at least four to five weekends that are busy with events. And so we started doing that for our friends, and then we gradually moved to people we knew who wanted to switch to short-term rentals."

Turning a side hustle into a business with consistent income

01_five point escape
Brian’s Five Points Escape, Athens, Georgia available on Airbnb Plus.

Through word of mouth, Brian’s business started to grow, and he slowly transitioned into helping others list and manage their properties.

“We have eight properties that we manage and can be a full-time job sometimes. But we still want to grow and our goal in the next couple of years is to have at least 150 properties.” However, he quickly points out that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, “It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun.”

Since he and his wife have full-time jobs outside of property management, it can be tough to keep up with everything. But even with a hectic schedule, Brian has managed to find a way to turn his side hustle into a business that brings in consistent income—something that was very important to him from the beginning.

Managing properties on Airbnb and Vrbo—the early days 

Initially, they used Airbnb and Vrbo to manage everything when they were only handling a few properties.

“When we first started, we started Airbnb-ing our friend’s house. He had a long-term apartment and wanted to turn that into a rental. We would just manage it through Airbnb and Vrbo,” Brian recalls.

It was challenging to manage both platforms simultaneously and keep track of everything. He knew there had to be a better way. However, as the number of properties they were managing increased, they quickly realized that this system was no longer sustainable.

"We got to the point where we had about two to three other properties and realized that this is not a system we could keep up with. We needed to find something that would automate the process for us."

They began looking for a solution to help them manage their properties more efficiently and free up their time. 

Hospitable.com: The platform that changed everything

02_Five points cottage
Brian needed a tool that would allow him to manage his properties like this one in a single place, automate a broad range of processes, and save him time.

Brian began experimenting with various software solutions, but he was quickly disappointed. “I’ve tried a lot of different things, but they weren’t the right fix.”

Some of the solutions they used were iGMS (formerly AirGMS), Hostfully, and Lodgify. The challenges they experienced with these software solutions were that they were either too complicated, not user-friendly, had huge onboarding fees, or didn’t have all the features they needed.

"What we really wanted was something that was simple and easy to use. We also wanted to be able to customize it to our own needs."

Brian needed a tool that would allow him to manage his properties in one place, automate as many processes as possible, and, most importantly—save him time. This was the middle ground he was looking for, and he finally found it with Hospitable.

“Hospitable.com is the tool that changed everything for us,” adds Brian.

The software has helped him automate many of the tasks that were previously taking up a lot of his time. Here’s how:

Automated messaging

Guest communication was one of the most significant pain points for Brian. He spent hours responding to guest queries, which took away from his other responsibilities. 

From booking confirmation to check-in instructions, he uses Hospitable.com’s automated messaging feature to handle guest communication. Scheduling guest communication is now a breeze—he simply creates a template and sets it up to send automatically at the desired time.

“The automated messages have been a lifesaver. I don’t even have to think about it anymore.”

Since they’ve set up automated responses, they’ve been able to focus on other tasks and no longer need to spend hours every day responding to messages.

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And for those messages that can’t be automated or need a more practical approach, he relies on the tool’s automated response feature to easily communicate with guests. Answers to FAQs and other commonly asked questions are easily customized, and the tool’s AI model picks up on questions, sending the correct information. 

“I don’t have to worry about forgetting to respond to a guest or sending them the wrong information because Hospitable.com takes care of it all for me.”

Hospitable can recognize 20 different topics and automatically respond to guests’ most frequently asked questions. The tool also modifies replies depending on whether a guest has started their stay. For example, if guests inquire about the WiFi before their stay, the reply would be related to the strength and speed. And if a guest sends that question during their stay, the reply would be related to the password or troubleshooting.

Task management

Another big pain point for Brian was managing tasks for all of his properties. He was constantly creating to-do lists and trying to keep track of everything in his head, which was overwhelming.

Hospitable’s task management feature has helped him stay organized and on top of all the tasks that need to be done for each property. From housekeeping to maintenance, Brian creates a list of tasks for each property and assigns them to himself or his wife.

Channel Management

While Brian manually managed their property listings on Airbnb and VRBO, he quickly realized that this was not an efficient use of his time.

Hospitable’s channel management feature has allowed Brian to quickly and easily connect all of their property listings to the platform. And most of the messaging is on auto-pilot, so there’s no scope for human error.

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Since connecting their property listings, the couple has saved hours by not having to manually update their calendars and manage their bookings. 

Becoming a member of the Hospitable team

Brian started his career as a financial planner but wanted something more. Since he already had properties in the short-term rental market, he wished to explore this space further. When he saw Hospitable.com was hiring, he knew it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“The company culture is incredible, and everyone is so passionate about what they do. I knew this was somewhere I could see myself working.”

Brian applied for the job and was hired as a Sales Representative. He now uses his first-hand experience as a host to help other hosts find success in the short-term rental industry.

“I saw that Hospitable was hiring sales reps, and I knew it was my chance to join the team. I applied and eventually got the job.” He knows the product well, understands the pain points as a host, and wants to help build a community of users.

"A lot of times, people will come to me, and they'll have an issue with their property, or they'll have an idea of something they want to do, but they don't know how to execute it. And so being able to help them through that process and see the lightbulb go off when they finally understand what needs to be done is gratifying for me."

When asked what his favorite part of the job is, he said: “I love being able to talk to other hosts and help them overcome their challenges. I know what they’re going through because I’ve been in their shoes.”

Brian’s story is one of passion turned profession. His years of experience as a host, combined with his intimate knowledge of the product, make him the perfect sales rep.

Scaling with Hospitable.com

Brian and his wife skyrocketed their business with Hospitable. The platform helped them improve guest communication and optimize responses with automated messaging. And they could take on more properties and scale their business with ease.

Without Hospitable, expanding the business simply wouldn’t have been possible. They plan to scale to 150 properties and continue to grow their portfolio with the help of Hospitable.com’s features.

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