In this interview with Flo, Leo Walton, co-founder of Superhog, shares his inspiring journey into the world of short-term rentals and his motivations as a leader in the industry. Like many kids in the northwest of England, Leo’s childhood dream was to become a professional football player. Although he didn’t pursue that path, his love for exercise, fitness, and team sports remained a constant passion throughout his life.
Leo’s career kicked off in the restaurant industry, where he started as a dishwasher and quickly advanced to waiting tables. This early experience taught him the value of hard work and the significance of building genuine connections with customers. Leo discovered that it was not just about what he said to people, but also about how he made them feel. These early lessons in customer service and communication played a pivotal role in shaping his career trajectory.
After completing his university education with a degree in international development, Leo joined One Fine Stay, a tech-enabled home sharing company. He initially began by personally welcoming guests to their accommodations, cycling around London to ensure their comfort. Over time, he gradually assembled a team of 20 individuals to handle the check-in process. One Fine Stay provided Leo with the freedom and opportunity for personal and professional growth. It was an environment where he could take control of his own destiny.
Continuing his career in the short-term rentals sector, Leo joined the commercial function at One Fine Stay, focusing on business development and supply acquisition. He played a crucial role in expanding the company’s presence in Europe. Throughout his seven-year tenure, Leo found inspiration in exploring new avenues and learning from the rapidly evolving landscape of home sharing.
Looking back on his university education, Leo acknowledged that while his field of study did not directly align with his current work, he viewed it as an indulgence in learning and expanding his knowledge base. He emphasized the value of apprenticeships and hands-on experience in preparing young individuals for the realities of the business world.
Leo also shed light on Superhog’s approach to talent acquisition. The company prioritizes hiring talented individuals who prefer apprenticeships over traditional university education. By providing them with practical business training, Superhog aims to equip young professionals with the essential skills and readiness necessary for success in the industry.
In conclusion, Leo Walton’s journey into the realm of short-term rentals began with his passion for sports and his experience in the restaurant industry. His early exposure to customer service and communication formed the foundation of his leadership style, emphasizing the significance of building strong relationships and making people feel valued. Leo’s career trajectory flourished during his time at One Fine Stay, where he thrived amidst growth, innovation, and the freedom to explore new ideas. He firmly believes in the value of practical experience and apprenticeships as viable alternatives to traditional higher education.
Watch the full interview here.