Flat Manager is one of the very few companies that grabs the challenge to restructure its core business, rather than to wait and avoid any decisive endeavours till the dust in the air gets to the ground.
As a PropTech solution completely dependent on Airbnb & Booking.com to function, Flat Manager had to lay off its whole team and face the hard truth: the corona crisis struck the whole tourist industry to the ground. But laying his people off was not even an option for Boris Pavlov, Flat Manager’s Founder. So the restructuring started on the spot.
We @PropTech Bulgaria asked him how he managed to do this in such a short term under such high pressure. He explains how below.
Boris Pavlov is the founder and CEO of Flat Manager – а property management company specializing in short-term rentals via platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.com. Prior to founding Flat Manager in 2017, Boris worked in finance for the investment banking arm of Societe Generale in Paris, London and New York. Boris holds two Bachelor and two Master’s degrees from US, French and British universities in the fields of finance, economics and law.
- When did you first experience the crisis and what did you do?
The crisis started hitting us towards the end of February but escalated quickly during the first days of March. On 12.03, when as far as I remember the first case in Sofia was identified, we decided to start working remotely. The organization of the home office setup took us about 30 minutes – we created schedules for the operations teams and for video calls. Flat Manager is a highly digitized company so we were already using the applications which many other companies are getting used to now such as Slack and Zoom. We are all working at 100% capacity, maybe even more.
- And how were the new initiatives created? How much time did it take you to implement them?
The sales, business development and marketing teams have daily video calls during which we come up with all sorts of strategies. The Temporary Home initiative was born during one of the first calls and we identified it as a very good option for saving the business. It took us about a week to draft the contracts, calculate the rates, create a marketing plan and social media posts and to transform the FlatAway platform. At the moment we are getting in touch with the media who are helping us spread the word. The other initiative is something we’ve been working on before, so the product was more or less ready for launch. However, we had to completely change our website, which we managed to do in about 10 days.
- What is your main goal right now?
Flat Manager has an obligation to its clients – to take care of their properties and generate income. Flat Manager has another, not any less important, obligation to its extraordinary team, without which we would have been unable to make miracles within a week. We will do absolutely everything possible to keep the entire FM Dream Team. I am confident we will succeed.
- How’s the morale of the team? How are you handling the psychological factor?
The morale is excellent, as always. We are all very motivated and working harder than ever before. We know it’s not going to be easy, but as I like saying, if it were easy, anyone would do it. It is very important to remain positive and to keep working hard. Of course, we need to make room for entertainment as well – we are looking at this app which will allow us to play board games online. We love board games.
- You also have have an idea which you enrolled in the HackCrisis.bg hackathon. Tell us about it.
In these times we shouldn’t just look for ourselves, we should help others as well. Besides, when the pandemic is over and people start traveling again and booking our properties, they need to be able to go out to a restaurant, bar, club. At the moment all of these venues are severely impacted and the idea is that they have loyal customers who will be willing to help by buying coupons today. The process will be gamified – imagine Swarm by Foursquare meets Kickstarter. If you bought a lot of coupons, or vouchers, from a given venue, you become its number 1 fan, mayor, president, or whatever we come up with. If someone buys vouchers from all the burger joints they become the “Burger King”. With Flat Manager’s CTO we are assembling an amazing team and I hope we’ll be able to launch an app and a website within 48 hours.
See more about Flat Manager’s new services here