Behind The Host With Sean McGregor

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 453. In this podcast we speak with Sean McGregor – a 5-star air bnb host from Stay Work and Play (SWAP) who has hosted over 4000 guests and is apart of the Hospitable Hosts project.
 
To find out more about hospitable hosts, check out www.hospitablehosts.com
 

Here’s the audio for this episode:

Here’s the video for this episode:

 

Timestamps (audio)

00:00 – Introduction
00:45 – About Seans Business
09:11 – Do you have any tips?
11:46 – How did Sean stumble into his niche?
14:32 – How did SWAP come around?
19:17 – How do you add more hosts?
21:55 – What made Sean get involved in Hospitable Hosts?
25:56 – What is a Hospitable Host?
29:08 – What is your golden nugget of advice?
34:04 – Seans favourite food from his travels
36:09 – Seans top celebrity
39:04 – A quote Sean lives by

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Transcript from the Episode

Introduction

Liam: Welcome to the behind the host podcast. And I’m joined today with, uh, Sean McGregor. Sean is from, uh, stay, work and play or swap for short, which you can see behind him. If you’re seeing it on the video. He’s a five-star Airbnb host. He stayed in over 35 countries himself hosted over 4,000 guests and is an absolute legend, both just in general, but also in the legends ex uh, sort of training from Eric mower and Jasper rivers.

[00:00:28] Liam: He’s a hospitable host, which we’re going to be talking about a project, which we’re involved in together and, uh, he’s based in Austin, Texas. So thank you for joining us, Sean, and welcome along.

[00:00:40] Sean: Thanks so much for having me, Liam. So I didn’t talk about this amazing project and again, so grateful to be a part of it.

 

About Seans Business

 

[00:00:45] Liam: Cool, cool. Um, so tell me, uh, you know, tell me a bit about your business and how you got started hosting.

[00:00:54] Sean: Okay. So definitely a windy road. Um, Lindsey gets a bunch of credit for how this all began. Um, whenever we first started dating one of the first times we went back to her apartment, she’s like, oh, we gotta be quiet.

[00:01:05] Sean: Cause that guests like, oh cool. You have friends in town. Like, no, no, no, actually I have Airbnb guests here. And so I realized that she was actually renting out her second bedroom of her Austin, Texas. And because she was running that out, it would pay for her entire unit. But then the big hack that she did was she would, whenever she would travel, she would run out her whole place.

[00:01:25] Sean: And not only would it pay for her entire apartment, it would pay for her travel as well, which I thought was like the most amazing act, but things got ratchet up even further. The next couple of dates where she was like, Hey, uh, I just took over this new lease to the downtown warehouse in Austin. Can you help me unpack some box?

[00:01:42] Sean: And when I walked in, there were Ikea boxes everywhere, and it was this like 1200 square foot, um, downtown warehouse, Ikea stuff everywhere. And these would partitions and she’s like, uh, dude, you hate it. Well, I am I dude, I just don’t know what I’m looking at. And so what happened was she’d read the four hour workweek, but.

[00:02:02] Sean: Yeah. She literally like worked. She’d worked remotely for 15 months, done an around the world ticket, you know, went to like 30 countries by herself, traveling, working the whole time. And her basic takeaway was anytime she’d stay in a hotel, she would, you know, sit there, eat, take out, watch a movie, you know, kind of a lame experience of that country.

[00:02:22] Sean: But if she stayed in a shared accommodation, then she’d actually meet some new friends, um, go out on the town, you know, have people. Uh, go explore the city with plush and make those actual connections. So what I was looking at that first, like on one of those dates was she was building her own kind of co-living co-working hostile.

[00:02:40] Sean: If you will. Um, in this place it’s normally made for two people, she put it, it set it up to where seven people could sleep there. Plus there were 15 co-working desks in the front, so I I’ve already been an entrepreneur. I had my own business at that point, but I was immediately just like drawn to that idea, like really amazed by.

[00:02:58] Sean: Throughout the coming months, I would meet all the guests and help out how I could. And yeah, it just became cool. We called a friend factory where we introduced these solo travelers or digital nomads. They’d come to Austin by themselves. Four days later, they’d have all this huge group of friends and all these amazing stories and all these cool things they did.

[00:03:15] Sean: And then a month later, I’d see them in Peru visiting somewhere, you know, like altogether. So it was an incredible experience. We grew that to three different locations. And eventually I was the one handling messaging for all 35 guests. We had like at a single time, um, had to build a lot of systems, how to get very comfortable with it, but where we ratcheted it up is we would travel.

[00:03:37] Sean: And while we were away, you know, we’d have to solve problems without actually being there. And so I got really good at delegating things. Um, you know, finding people remotely online to come in and help in situations. Cause we’re thousands of miles away that. Got to get even another step when our son was born four and a half years ago, where even if we were in town, I would then treat everything like I was in Europe or off somewhere else that way, because I wanted to spend time with my family and I’ve already done it in these other circumstances.

[00:04:09] Sean: So now I’m going to just, even though I’m in Austin and I’m by my son and something’s going down to this other property, I’m just going to pass off that task to someone else, delegate it, focus on more important things, both family, and then also. Working on the business. Obviously that business was great.

[00:04:26] Sean: I loved it, but sharing, uh, you know, sharing rooms during COVID kind of a non-starter. Um, so yeah, so we had three locations were down to one location and it was our personal home, but it was this expensive, you know, it’s an expensive place where we lived. We also shared the other half and normally that would pay for our entire place.

[00:04:47] Sean: Again, not. And then Lindsey’s other businesses, a dance camp business, where she has eight different locations around the us. It’s our 20th year of doing it. Um, and that’s a couple of businesses, but it’s also bringing solo girls from around the country to sleep in a room together. So that’s not obviously going to operate in 2020 either.

[00:05:06] Sean: So my kind of pivot was, um, I had previously helped out a few family members rent out their properties, you know, like we’re, we’re based in Texas. I was helping out in Florida. And even though I had. You know, anywhere around that, because I’ve already been comfortable hosting remotely. I was able to deliver five star results, have a good time.

[00:05:25] Sean: So my pivot during COVID was, well, I’ve already done this a couple of times. I’ve already done it for our properties. A bunch. We have a profile on Airbnb that has over 2000 reviews. So I just started looking on different Facebook groups and finding people that were looking for hosts. And because no one could leave at that time, their homes, I had that kind of unique skill set where I’m like, well, look, I know how to run this business remotely.

[00:05:47] Sean: You know, we had, you know, delivered all these great reviews before. Um, I know how I have all these systems and how to operate a run, you know, 35 different listings by myself. At one time messaging all the guests, I can definitely help out with your home. And it’s just grown from that to 18 different homes around the us.

[00:06:03] Sean: Um, I’m really been focusing on like building my systems, getting everything automated as much as possible. And now I’m finally like gonna start telling other friends and family members that I’m doing this and start to like starting to scale. But yeah, it’s been a wild, wild journey, a lot of fun. I’ve gotten to a point gotten to a point now where I’m so confident that I can deliver a great experience, that if I, if a guest leaves anything other than a five star review, I won’t take a commission from a guy from an owner.

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[00:07:02] Sponsor: The reason why we partnered up is because I have been working alongside, I prac for many years. I recommend them to every booster, customer, client, and team bootcamp. The reason being is that unlike other accreditation services, they are not just country specific. It is global and it is worldwide. They’ve got over 10,000 members and they’ve got over 250,000 properties, which means that you can display your, I prac certificate on your website and on your socials and know that you are going to be providing that trust that your future potential guest is looking.

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[00:08:01] Sponsor: So thank you. I prac, for being our sponsor. Thank you to listening to this very short message. I hope that you go and check out. I practice a day. I hope that you go and join them just like hundreds of, of a boostly members have done, because it will help massively with you increasing your direct bookings.

[00:08:17] Sponsor: Right? Let’s get back to this.

[00:08:20] Liam: I’m so glad you said that. I mean, there’s a lot to unpack there, but I’m so glad you said that. Cause that was one of the things, obviously from us being in legends X, we went through legends extra. And again, if people don’t know how Jasper ribbons and, uh, Eric mower, please check them out with legends X as well worth doing so.

[00:08:35] Liam: But the overload from that, which is, you know, if you don’t get the five star, then you won’t take the money from it is, is incredible because that gives owners such confidence that you’re going to deliver. On your promise that you know that they’re going to go for it and they they’re going to want you managing it.

[00:08:51] Liam: And not only that, you’re incentivized to make sure those guests have a great time. So that makes complete sense. Obviously you met your partner, uh, you discovered, you know, sort of the amazing benefits of Airbnb and you’ve managed to travel while still hosting, which is a big thing for a lot of people, especially those who are listening.

 

Do you have any tips?

 

[00:09:11] Liam: Not many people will be able to do that. And, uh, is there any tips or hints? How did you, how did you manage to do that while on the road? Did you have to have certain tech in place and that’s.

[00:09:24] Sean: Well, so a lot of the homes that I host, I’ve never actually been to. So one key thing that I always use is whenever I, I pay for whatever property to get professional photos, just so the owner doesn’t fight me on that cost.

[00:09:37] Sean: And I want to make sure, you know, it’s a high performing listing, but what I also do, whenever that photographer comes, I make them do a 3d scan. And so even if I haven’t been to that property, I have a 3d scan that I can walk to that home any time I need to. And then as I continue to add employees, they can also visit any of those homes at any point.

[00:09:57] Sean: And, you know, a guest has a question about the upstairs bedroom instead of relying on a one-time visit or a couple of times you’ve been there. You can go and walk through that property at any point. So that’s obviously been huge. Um, you know, I use hospitable. Uh, for like, you know, smart messaging, that’s been really, really important to the business, just as far as, you know, delivering all the pre-stay communication and then to help get the, like the, the five star review.

[00:10:25] Sean: I text message all my guests on the day of that arrival. That way they actually have that, you know, personal connection, you know, if they’re not familiar with the platform, they still know how to use their phone and the texts back and forth. And that’s just the way to like put a personal stamp on.

[00:10:40] Sean: Communicate next day after their arrival, I was make sure to check in, see if there’s anything going on. And, you know, that’s kind of the discovery process to see if anything’s going wrong. That way I can hurry up, fix it, do whatever I can to make things right. Because in my view, as a traveler, like this could be the only time where you’re actually traveling with that group of friends or that group of family.

[00:11:02] Sean: So I want to make sure it’s right, because you know, whoever’s booking, it has a lot of pressure on them to get it right from the other eight family members. So I want to always make sure I deliver that five-star experience and check-in, and if anything’s wrong, you know, do all I can to make that right.

[00:11:15] Sean: Immediately. That

[00:11:16] Liam: definitely shows it definitely shows. And I mean, just going back a little bit as well on the discovering your avatar, when you had guests sort of digital nomads, I think you said, come and stay in all the different places. I mean, that’s, that’s quite a cool niche as well, because as soon as you get.

[00:11:31] Liam: You know, the part of the reason those people come there is to enjoy life like a local basically, and get to know the people who are actually, you know, sort of residing there and then make friends. And of course, if all of these people are similar well-traveled they can share, you know, where to go next places.

 

How did Sean stumble into his niche?

 

[00:11:46] Liam: There have been lots of stories. And that, that just sounds amazing. How did, did you kind of stumble into that being your avatar, or is it more of a case of, of you actively are going after that kind of.

[00:11:59] Sean: So whenever we were doing the co-living version, like the co-living co-working part, like that was absolutely we’re going for the solo traveler and we’re going for the digital nomad.

[00:12:09] Sean: And again, when it gets a lot of credit for that, because she was that person. And so she’d been scratching her own edge of like, You know, when I was by myself in this new place, if I was in a shared living situation, I would be forced to meet people and be forced to like, you know, have conversations and learn about them.

[00:12:27] Sean: And then, you know, they know about a certain event going on or whatever. And then just the, you know, the adventure unfolds, um, with our current properties and with all the co-hosting right now, you’re dealing more with families, but I definitely love the digital nomad side of things. And obviously I think COVID.

[00:12:44] Sean: Ratchet that forward quite a bit, because, you know, everyone’s had two years of practice almost of working from home, working remote. And so I want to like help show people the same way that she did the, you know, run out the whole place of your own home. When you travel to where instead of paying for two places, you’re actually having your original place pay for your trip.

[00:13:06] Sean: That’s something I want to kind of go after. And like also, you know, as, as future. I want to get those digital nomads or the work from home people and help them become digital nomads, because it’s something that we find like so rewarding, you know, is our, in our personal life, um, to be able to take a three month trip and drive across Canada, still working the entire time and getting everything done and maintaining that five star standard.

[00:13:30] Sean: You know, stretching out time with our little guy and making new experiences and, you know, just like live in life as

[00:13:36] Liam: well. That’s what it’s all about. Isn’t it being able to tie everything in together and, you know, especially now the technology’s there, like you say, 3d tours, you can, you can be there without being there.

[00:13:47] Liam: You can manage everything off your phone or off a laptop, uh, you know, on the go. Still there’s so many people who aren’t doing this, that aren’t traveling, you know, they, they, they still, oh, I’ve got to be at home. Or I’ve got to be where I know the place of work as time goes on. Like you say, because of COVID, there’s going to be less people in the offices, more people working from home companies are going to realize it’s cheaper not to have, you know, sort of the offices and that buys them office

[00:14:12] Sean: space.

[00:14:14] Liam: And they can have happier people and happier people are more productive people. So that’s really awesome. So take me through the name. I think that’s awesome. And I can see the branding in the background, uh, you know, stay, work and play and swap. I mean, that is awesome because you get the connotation of, you know, you’re swapping your house for another house and stay work in place.

[00:14:32] Liam: Then you have to stands for that. Took us through how that came around.

 

How did SWAP come around?

 

[00:14:36] Sean: I actually Lindsey’s sister gets credit for that actual name, but, you know, we kind of had that, like, you know, when Mary kind of spit ball on the idea, it was just like, you know, it’s somewhere where they can stay, but it’s also a coworking place, but we also want them to have fun outside and yeah, it just eventually slopped kind of like close to like swats, just like that quick one syllable thing.

[00:14:58] Sean: And yeah, like it, as soon as we kind of like threw that out, I was like, oh my God. All right. That’s the one. They work in play. It speaks to the digital nomads. It speaks to kind of our avatar of like who we want to serve. And then, yeah, again, like we have some other ideas along that brand where it’s just like an exchange of value or an exchange of, um, you know, like we’ve talked about like making it to where our different guests would sign up to like teach one thing to the rest of the group at some point.

[00:15:27] Sean: Like whenever we do get back to that model as well, where they’re swapping like their talent sharing. And then other people are sharing their talent and just, you know, just make it a more fun, open, um, rewarding experience for everybody.

[00:15:39] Liam: It definitely definitely shows. And like you say, that appeals to that digital nomads, the stay, work and play.

[00:15:44] Liam: I mean, you could be a family going away. You’ve got to do some, some work for a few hours, but then as soon as you have. You know, you get the family together and go and go and experience that part of the world, wherever the property is. And you mentioned you’ve got 18. Uh, are they local or where does the, where are they?

[00:16:03] Liam: Location-wise

[00:16:05] Sean: uh, there’s only three of them that are within 50 miles. Wow. The rest are all over and again, it is all just because. During COVID and I actually, this is in the chapter, but it’s, um, written on top of my keyboard right now is maintained a location independence. And so, because I want to be able to travel with my family.

[00:16:28] Sean: I want to also be able to, like I said before, solve problems without physically being there. Yeah. And you mentioned all the technology there is now, like if a guest has a question about certain things. They can tell me, or they can FaceTime me and I can just be there in the room with them at that point, even if I’m in Canada or Croatia or whatever, as long as I’m accessible and I’m there, as soon as they, you know, me or one of my teammates is there.

[00:16:53] Sean: As soon as they have that question, they’re going to feel well taken care of. And it’s actually more efficient than if someone was driving 40 miles to go. You know, hanging on with small problem. And what that does also is every one of the owners I’ve worked with has purchased a home in a different market since we’ve been working together because they know they can take me and, you know, my skill set and software to that future market, even if, you know, whereas in most situations you are kind of landlocked or like you’re limited to a certain geographic area.

[00:17:24] Sean: Um, the way I’m trying to run things is where. Take me with you, if you love vacationing in North Carolina, um, and then the mountains, then if you want to have a place there, I can manage that for you. Do you want a place in Florida? I can manage that for you on a lake in Texas. I can do that for you. So yeah, it’s been a fun ride and because we have traveled quite a bit, um, even if I’ve never been to these places, I know how to research like a travel.

[00:17:49] Sean: And to quickly find, you know, oh, these are the restaurants I would go to. These are the fun things that look like or in the area I’ll scout some of the different Airbnb listings. See what I mentioned in those over and over again. And then I’ll just have a general recommendation list at the beginning.

[00:18:04] Sean: And then I’ll also follow up with guests like, Hey, is there anything you did that was especially amazing. You’d want to share with future guests. And just as it kind of, you know, as you get that trial and error and you build a better and better tighter list that everyone.

[00:18:16] Liam: Definitely that, that that’d be, you’ve missed, just mentioned about your existing guests or your best researchers, because let’s say you’ve traveled to 45 countries.

[00:18:25] Liam: You know how to research it. You’re doing the same as what they would probably do, but you’re getting that information ready for them. But then after they’ve stayed, because they’ve been to the area they might have, oh, I love this cafe, or I love this bar and you’ve then got that to add to your recommendation.

[00:18:40] Liam: So it becomes self perpetuate and doesn’t it. So that is an awesome, awesome little tip and a. Even just following up with guests after their stay. So many people just wait for the review, they’re not actually asking those questions of where would you recommend? Just so we know, you know, how was your stay, that sort of thing.

[00:18:58] Liam: And really just get all that information because all that information is what you can tweak for the next guest who comes to stay to make their experience even better. So, uh, yeah, that’s, that’s really amazing. And to have. The mantra of, you know, work independently for, from any location is just absolutely amazing.

 

How do you add more hosts?

 

[00:19:17] Liam: And I’m sure there’d be a lot of people listening to this going well, you know, I want to do the same. How do you, uh, add more, uh, more hosts or more co-hosting and that side of things, is there, is there a certain method that you look to gain more, more hosts or is it just word of mouth?

[00:19:35] Sean: Uh, so far it’s been mainly word of mouth.

[00:19:36] Sean: Um, I really have. You know, because I’m like, my whole thing is before I open up the fire hydrant, I want to make sure I can actually, you know, absorb and handle any requests that come in. So for the last several, I mean, really, since I’ve been doing this business and going through legends acts was a big part of it, just getting that, the system down and the systems mentality of like, how can someone else do this as well as I can?

[00:20:01] Sean: How can I make it so simple for them? Or how can I automate it to where they can do it just as well as I can. Um, and so I’ve really been just building that right now and getting word of mouth from my current owners and a few like Facebook leads and things like that. But I haven’t really promoted what I do yet.

[00:20:16] Sean: Even the friends and family, or like previous business lists or anything that I’ve had. Um, I’m getting ready to do that. I think the hospital hosts book that we’re putting out is going to be a good launch point for all that. And it’s been a good, like, you know, kicking the butt to get me ready to do that.

[00:20:33] Sean: Um, but yeah, I’m excited. I feel like I do have the systems down now. I feel like I have simplified things enough to where if I get 25 people that reach out next month, I’d be able to mainly handle it and get it all set up. And then once they’re in our system, it all run my clockwork.

[00:20:50] Liam: Do you know that? I love that as well, because that brings us on to, you know, the hospitable host book and, you know, the, the projects we’re involved in and.

[00:20:58] Liam: Seeing, you know, seeing your business, uh, before like legends X and that sort of thing. So a lot of people would be listening to this going, oh, you’re only now scaling up, but actually a lot of people would be going, oh my God, 18 properties is, is amazing. You know, like they’re so, uh, yeah, I can’t wait to see the future and, and, and see, you know, it’s going to be a big thing.

[00:21:18] Liam: So it’s going to be amazing, but yeah, let’s talk a little bit about hospitable hosts. For anybody listening, who isn’t aware at Sean and myself, people like Julie, George from Australia, Mark Simpson, of course, uh, from, from this podcast from Boostly podcasts, uh, we’re all involved in a book project together.

[00:21:35] Liam: And there’s the idea of, uh, Jody Sterling. She’s come up with the concept that we’ll get 40 hosts from all over the globe. You know, obviously, uh, Sean, who’s based in Texas, uh, people based in Canada, we’ve got people in Europe, the UK, Australia, Japan, and all of these awesome people have written that chapter in this book.

 

What made Sean get involved in Hospitable Hosts?

 

[00:21:55] Liam: And they’re different stories from hosting to teaching. Um, just all stories from across, uh, the hospitality communities and we’re involved in this together. So this book, what got you involved in that? Sean, what made you say, you know what, I’m going to go for that? That’s a great idea,

[00:22:15] Sean: man. I mean, I was like, when I first heard the idea, I was very intrigued and then I kind of like, I’m going, gonna check that out later and I kind of forgot about it, but then I saw you were involved as a mark was involved as you know, Dr.

[00:22:26] Sean: Rachel was involved. Um, you know, Sergio like all these amazing people that I look up to that I respect that I’ve learned from before. Am I, man, I don’t want to be left behind. Like I want to be associated with these incredible hosts. We have a weird story to tell. Maybe we can inspire people that it is possible to remotely co-host.

[00:22:46] Sean: Um, and yeah, I mean, I just thought it was an amazing project and like yeah. As the amazing people started to getting together, I’m like, wow, if I can be a part of this group and like learn from this group and, you know, build an even bigger community with this group. It’s just going to be a rocket ship for everybody.

[00:23:07] Sean: So I was so excited to, you know, have the opportunity, like funny story, whenever I did like reach out, Jodi was like, oh, okay. You can do it. But it has to be done by March 31st. And it was like March 29th or something like that. So I’m like, oh man, I’d like to 5:00 AM mornings. Like, I mean, like through the night until 5:00 AM, because we have our little, I got four and a half year olds.

[00:23:33] Sean: You know, get in when I could write everything and focus. Um, but I’m, I’m glad that there was that time pressure because I’m a bit of a procrastinator in a lot of situations. So I like that pressure against my backs where I like, okay, it has to be done. I got to get it done. Um, and yeah, I love the process.

[00:23:51] Sean: I’ve never obviously been an author or written a chapter in a book or anything. So it was a fun experience. Again, I loved just kind of. Envisioning the person that might read the book and just sharing, you know, our story, but then how it can be relevant for them, how the tips and tricks that I’ve developed can be relevant and helpful to them.

[00:24:11] Sean: And yet I cannot wait to read the other 39 or whatever chapters, like a lot of amazing people. And I can’t wait, like just the little snippets that we’ve seen on like social media from everyone. And I’m like, damn, that looks pretty cool. Like yours, where like the food didn’t taste right in your mouth and you knew something had to change.

[00:24:29] Sean: Yeah, that’s

[00:24:31] Liam: exactly it. The, I think the first 40 copies are going to be sold to each of us who are reading each other’s stories. Do you know what I mean? It’s going to be incredible and that the want to be part of it, you know, there’s a certain amount of fear of missing out on that amazing project, because this is the first time when, uh, you know, when this is going to be released and I can see there’s going to be many more of, of, of this sort of thing.

[00:24:52] Liam: And like you say, the people reading. They’re going to get tips from it. They’re going to get, uh, you know, funny experiences. I know Mark’s story is about saving someone’s life. So there’s, there’s all sorts of stuff in there. And even just speaking to your, you know, on the, on this podcast, I’m excited to read how you’re managing to travel with a family, you know, and, and, you know, you gave us a little preview of what your chapter’s about there.

[00:25:18] Liam: So that is going to be absolutely amazing. And one of the things, obviously we’re involved in the hospitable hosts Facebook group, where we get given the tasks to do, and having that pressure, like you say, is a good one. One of the things which having that pressure does is it kicks your butt to make sure you’re going to put something out there.

[00:25:36] Liam: And I don’t know about you, but I felt I got mine 80%. Right. And then I put it out there. And actually that was good because you’re forced to just get out there. You get the editors, come back with stuff. That’s really good. One of the other things I saw in there was your. Uh, you know, why, what is a hospitable host in general?

 

What is a Hospitable Host?

 

[00:25:56] Liam: And I completely resonated with why or what is a hospital hosts. So just cover that for us, if you can. What, what is a hospitable host in, in your, in your words?

[00:26:08] Sean: Yeah, man, I mean, for me again, it’s, it’s all about like, taking very seriously the responsibility to show whoever books, your home and incredible experience.

[00:26:18] Sean: And like make sure that their entire group has a great time in, in whatever home and on top of that, outside in that city or that found through your recommendations, because it might be their only trip of the entire year, the, all the time with their family the entire year. And, you know, it’s, it’s something where you gotta get that right, man.

[00:26:38] Sean: Cause like they’ve spent a lot of money. They’re getting together with family. You want to make sure they’re focusing on creating incredible experiences and not worrying about. You know, a toilet not working or something like that, but if something like that does happen, then you jump in, you take care of it and make it feel right.

[00:26:55] Sean: And then get them back on track to create those memories. That’s exactly what I

[00:26:59] Liam: mean. More hospitable host does. Isn’t it? It’s just making sure that experience for them is, is absolutely on point and knowing, like you say, that might be their only stay that year. So, you know, just, just making sure they’re all looked after and not every host out.

[00:27:17] Liam: Looks at guests like guests coming away for, for experiences. Sometimes people are guilty of looking at guests like numbers and income and that side of things. And that’s complete. They’re the ones who won’t necessarily last or to get the best reviews and that sort of thing. This entire. Hosting process of being a host is about delivering on the experience and making sure that those people’s experiences.

[00:27:41] Liam: I picture them like the heroes of the story that they’ve, they’ve booked that holiday for their family. They want, they’ve got in mind that feeling of what they want from that holiday and it’s our job as, or the guidance to, to make that possible. So they’re not worrying about like you saying, broken toilets and stuff.

[00:27:57] Liam: So, um, yeah, I’m really, really excited about.

[00:28:01] Sean: Exactly. And that’s why applied shows that like five star guarantee is kind of my main metric because as long as the guest is having a good time, then their listing is going to have great reviews. Then the prices will go up. Then the owner will be happy. And if you could just have that, like it’s going to be a five star.

[00:28:21] Sean: And if you do hear about something that’s messed up or broken, you got to make sure that that only affects that. They’re still taking care of, and then it’s, you know, back to perfect for the next group. And you know, it doesn’t mean that like, everything’s always perfect. It’s even if you get a five star review, but it just means that you, you know, you care, you show that you care, you, you know, you take action to help them out.

[00:28:43] Sean: And then again, like you get their vacation back on track where they’re having fun

[00:28:47] Liam: a hundred percent, a hundred percent. What would you say then to somebody who’s listening to this and thinking, you know, um, I’m looking to get started as a host. What tips would you have and what advice would you say to somebody who comes to you and say, look, I’m thinking about being a host, what is your golden nugget of advice?

 

What is your golden nugget of advice?

 

[00:29:08] Sean: Um, my main thing is make things convenient. For the guests, for the owners, for the cleaners, like maybe if you’re just starting out hosting, you might be doing your own cleaning to the game, but for the actual guests, think about what it’s like to arrive in a strange place for the first time. And how can you make that an easy process?

[00:29:29] Sean: So for me, I always have photos of the front door that I shared with them. If there’s any tricky parking or anything like that, there’s an aerial map circling where they. You know, the less you can make it text and the more he could make it pictures towards a convenient, easy seamless check-in with a door, you know, a key pad, but their last four of their cell phone or whatever it is, you know, it, every time you travel, it’s like it’s a long day.

[00:29:54] Sean: You might have a long car trip or you might have a train ride, or you might have a flight and there’s chaos along the way. And you’re going, gotta be like that. Salvation from that chaos is the easy check-in process there in that fresh. You know, they’re relaxing, the vacations be done. And then, oh, what are we going to order for pizza?

[00:30:11] Sean: Or what are we gonna get for dinner tonight? Oh, look, here’s a great recommendation right here. And then they enjoy that meal and then it’s often running. So for me, uh, I just like do things from a guest perspective and like, just pretend you’re trying to show your best friend and amazing time and your city or your town or whatever else.

[00:30:29] Sean: And yeah, you can start small with a side bedroom or. Uh, friend’s house or whatever, but yeah, just try to care about your guests, make it convenient for them, and then show them a fun.

[00:30:41] Liam: You know, that is an awesome, awesome way to sort of draw it to a close on there. We’ve, you know, treat them like your best friend and you can’t go wrong.

[00:30:51] Liam: You know, like you say, just when somebody checks into a new place, you don’t know the, the area you might be worried about ordering from the worst. Pizza shop, you know what I mean? So just having those recommendations are so important. And like you say, I hadn’t thought of it like that. Like most people when they are traveling, it is especially with family.

[00:31:07] Liam: I mean, I’ve got a, five-year-old so similar to yourself, you know, traveling isn’t, isn’t fun all the time. We’ve, you know, the journey part of it. Yeah. And there is fun and relaxing. So, uh, yeah, I like that. And the visual side of things. Probably reduces the amount of calls as well. You get so, um, compared to texts, that’s so awesome.

[00:31:28] Liam: So what I’d like to do,

[00:31:29] Sean: and that’s, that’s a definite tip. Like if you do get questions about a certain thing multiple times, like start building that into your check-in message or make a photo of. So you can answer that question before it’s ever asked a hundred

[00:31:44] Liam: percent, a hundred percent. So what I like to do towards the end is to just ask some fun questions.

[00:31:50] Liam: So these can be short. They can be long as long as light on there. Um, but yeah. So you mentioned you’ve traveled to 45 countries. Where’s still on the list. Where’s next? Where is the place you’d love to go to? And you haven’t been yet.

[00:32:04] Sean: Uh, so Japan would probably be really high up on the list. We were actually like, Lindsey’s a gymnastics nerd and she loves it.

[00:32:13] Sean: So we were planning on going for the 20, 20 Olympics. That was gonna be our big trip. And then obviously COVID rec that all. But my old, like one of my older brothers was actually born in Japan cause my dad was in the military and they lived all over Europe and that’s, I was born in Germany when I was two.

[00:32:28] Sean: And then we moved to the. So I like was born with wonder less, cause like my older brothers would always be talking about, oh, when we were in Italy and when we were in Germany and oh, in Japan. And so I was like, I got left out on all that. So, you know, I was always like, oh man, I can’t wait to get over there and do something and see new things and be way out of my comfort zone.

[00:32:48] Sean: And

[00:32:51] Sean: yeah. I mean, I love it. And then like to find someone that also had that itch and had already done it, I thought it was so cool. And then. Yeah, we, we, whenever we had our little guy, um, you know, we had family and friends like, well, I know you guys love traveling, but there go your travel days. And we just took that as, you know, like kind of a dare, like, all right, well watch this.

[00:33:13] Sean: And then we’d go off for three months and Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. And yeah, we love it because you know, you see those pictures or like you think back on that, And instead of like, oh, it’s such a blur and it all happened so fast. You’re like, oh my God. Like, remember that week and we ate that and we did this.

[00:33:29] Sean: And like, you have so many more distinct memories while you’re traveling, because you are in an uncomfortable, unique kind of different situation that like, yeah, you remember so much more and you’re more in the moment and present and yeah. So we love traveling. Japan is definitely a place. Has been built up to me and like, I know it was gonna be amazing.

[00:33:49] Sean: Tracy, one of the authors of the book, I was going to say,

[00:33:51] Liam: you need to speak to Tracy.

[00:33:53] Sean: Yeah. But yeah, that’s definitely on the list at some point.

[00:33:57] Liam: Amazing. Amazing. Do you know what you’ve inspired me there? Cause you’re absolutely right. That the memories that you take, you know, you, you, you take more pictures when you’re traveling.

 

Seans favourite food from his travels

 

[00:34:04] Liam: So you’ve got more memories to spark that memory of what you’re doing. Whereas when you’re at home for long periods of time, especially during the lockdowns and stuff like that, it kind of blurred into one big block. Didn’t it? You know, the entire thing, a hundred. Exactly. What is your favorite foods traveling to all these different places, top meal or top food?

[00:34:25] Sean: Uh, man, I love it. I love all sorts of food. Um, one thing that I miss every time we leave Austin is breakfast tacos, and that’s something you really can’t find anywhere. And, but like breakfast tacos are an essential thing. Like anytime we come back to Austin, we go to Torchy’s tacos and that’s our first meal every single time.

[00:34:46] Sean: But whenever we’re traveling, um, you know, kinda my go-to man is like any sort of rice bowl. With like some, you know, gravy or juices on top of it, like just kind of the comfort food style. Like, I absolutely love that. And I’m definitely an adventurous eater where, you know, I’ll try kind of the weird off the wall stuff.

[00:35:05] Sean: Like it looks exactly like, I’m like, alright, you know my pay for this tomorrow, but I’m going to give it a shot and say, I’ve tried it. If you go to

[00:35:14] Liam: Japan, there’s going to be a lot of that.

[00:35:17] Sean: Yeah. I’m sure I’ll, I’m sure I’ll walk back on that. I go to Japan. Yeah. I mean, I’m definitely, yeah, it cannot wait to just see those, like, you know, the food markets and the like just the street food.

[00:35:29] Sean: I love street food, like food truck, that type stuff. Yeah. I mean, you can get incredible food and we’re very laid back people. So we don’t need the big atmosphere. Like we just want great food where the locals eat and like the food is. And yeah,

[00:35:44] Liam: it’s often the best places, isn’t it? On these? Uh, so Norridge, if you’re ever in the UK, Shaun come to Norridge has got the biggest open air, permanent market in Europe.

[00:35:54] Liam: So it’s got a, so there’s loads of street stalls, and honestly, that’s the best place people go. Where’s the best place to eat. I go to the market, go and get, go and get stuff off the market. These a, these are awesome stores. Every food you could want is all there. A hundred percent and I’ve never heard of breakfast tacos.

 

Seans top celebrity

 

[00:36:09] Liam: So I’ve written that down on my list. I’m going to find somewhere which will do some breakfast tacos in the U S absolutely ma’am. So who would be your top celebrity to me?

[00:36:25] Sean: Um, so I can go a lot of ways of this. Like Tim Ferris would be cool to me. He actually lives in Austin somewhere. That’d be awesome. A random person. I’d love to meet that isn’t necessarily a celebrity is there’s a website called wait, but why? And just this guy that writes all these, like funny dive, very deep and insightful, like essentially comics, um, with like crew drawings and swear words and all that stuff.

[00:36:57] Sean: But it’s all like really high level, incredible stuff. He did a full, like four part thing on Elon Musk, Elon Musk, like, you know, it was an interviewed by him. But I got Tim urban, like I would love to just talk just because some of his articles definitely shaped the way I think

[00:37:12] Liam: I’m going to write that down.

[00:37:13] Liam: Tim, did you say?

[00:37:15] Sean: Yup. Yup. So wait, but why? Um, the first one I would start with is called taming the mammoth. And it’s about how like the, the general overview of it is, you know, are like our brain essentially is wired for 50,000 bees. And he, he, he talks about how, like we have a mammoth, like a dumb extinct, you know, a stupid mammoth in our brain that makes us want to feel part of the group.

[00:37:43] Sean: Part of the tribe, not take risks cause we want to fit in because in 50,000 BC, if you didn’t fit in there, You’re out by yourself and you’re not going to make it have been killed off directly. But you know, now we’re in a totally different world. We still have that part of our brain. It’s like, Ooh, don’t try that risky thing.

[00:37:59] Sean: Ooh, don’t do that. Oh, don’t, you know, you know, your mom would want you to do this, but like you have the, also the authentic voice in your head. It’s like, well, this is what I really want to do. Or this is what I want to try. And like, just that like 15 minute article. Definitely. If you can keep it in the front of your mind, like, we’ll definitely, you know, have you think of more challenges?

[00:38:19] Sean: Have you like realizing when you’re doing something? Cause it’s the social norm versus like something you actually want to try to do. So definitely, definitely this.

[00:38:29] Liam: I’ll check that out. That’s a, you reminded me of some of the philosophies and some of the books that, uh, you know, they do talk about we’re an outdated model, you know, like, so, so a book by Rob Moore talks about, you know, we are an outdated model, uh, effectively, you know, technology is moving much quicker than, than our internal side of things can, can cope with.

[00:38:48] Liam: So yeah. I’d like you say, the reason we perceive danger is because if we’d have gone out in the middle of say the woods or a different part of the world, Well, you could have been killed, you know, in the, in the, in the, in the sort of caveman times and that, whereas now the worst you could get is, is lost.

 

A quote Sean lives by

 

[00:39:04] Liam: And then you’ve got your mobile phone, you know, but we still have that fear. Don’t we? So it’s, uh, it’s an interesting one. Exactly. Lastly, then, so I think I know what you’re going to say to this, but a quote or a philosophy that you live by. I know you mentioned one above the screen.

[00:39:20] Sean: Yeah. I mean, maintain location independence.

[00:39:24] Sean: Like when, whenever we were in the legends X, we had to do like our core values, but then also our north star goal. And for me, that was the most important thing. Just like, I won’t take a property if I have to physically be there to manage it, because like our whole vision as a family is we’re going to work our butts off wherever we’re at.

[00:39:42] Sean: But we love to be in new places, get out of our comfort zone, see new things. Um, so, you know, at the expense of even. Profitable money-making things like having that as a kind of a core value of like, no, we’ve got to make sure that we want to pick up and go and go see that event or be at that thing or visit that family member.

[00:40:03] Sean: We can pick up and do it and, you know, make that happen. And then, like I said, we’re able to rent our place out while we leave to help pay for that trip. So we don’t have that anchor back home. That’s. Keeping us from like, oh, we can only go for three days. You know what I mean? So that’s again, a big life hack.

[00:40:21] Sean: Um, that’s kind of enabled us to do all of this.

[00:40:25] Liam: Do you know? That is a great pillar for anybody listening again, just to, just to have your set values over what you want and what you’re doing. And just stick by that because ultimately we don’t, we don’t live to work. You know, we, we work to live at the end of the day.

[00:40:39] Liam: So by setting those parameters, like you say, it doesn’t matter what the profit is of those units. It’s a case of, it’s got to fit in with that north star and as a great way to, uh, to end on. So. Sure. And this has been absolutely terrific. And, uh, yeah, I’ve really, I feel like I really know your business and I’m excited to see the future.

[00:40:59] Liam: I can see it’s going to go big with, uh, you know, stay, work and play. And, uh, yeah, I look forward to seeing your, uh, you know, sort of more on, on some of the. Lives and stuff like that before the book launch was, so the books been launched in may and, uh, you’re going to see a lot more from, from Sean and myself and obviously Julie, George, and mark, and all the awesome hosts, uh, in there.

[00:41:20] Liam: So thanks again, Sean. And, uh, yeah, we’ll speak again.

[00:41:25] Sean: Alright, thanks so much, Liam. Great talking to you and yeah, can’t wait to read your chapter just

[00:41:29] Liam: before you go. If those listeners want to get in touch with. How is best to do so if somebody, uh, you know, they wants to find out more about swap or they, you know, have been inspired of, of your story, about how you travel and want to find out how they can do that, too.

[00:41:43] Liam: What’s the best way to get in touch with our,

[00:41:47] Sean: if you go to stay work and play.com, that’ll have all the links you need. Um, you know, just go, there should be a contact message, happy to help any hosting advice or just life advice, or just chatting. Like, I love talking to people. Helping them out when I can pointing them in the right direction.

[00:42:04] Sean: Um, and then also learning from them. So, yeah, reach out, um, stay work and play.com.

[00:42:10] Liam: You’re going to get inundated I’m sure. Especially after this book launch. So thanks again, Sean.

 

 

 

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