Meet Frontdesk: Distribution Manager

For this edition of Meet Frontdesk, we spoke with Ben Hill, Distribution Manager. Ben started at Frontdesk in June of 2021 as a Distribution Specialist and has since been promoted for owning it and having a growth mindset. When he’s not working, you can find Ben traveling or spending time outdoors. He often spends his weekends making an impromptu road trip and loves to spend as much time as possible in the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina in the summers rafting, hiking, and camping.

Tell me about your role and what you do here at Frontdesk?

I’m the manager for the Distribution Department of Marketing at Frontdesk.  My team is responsible for creating all of the listings for new units; collecting all of the pictures and information about the building, doing research on the neighborhood and transportation options, and putting together the public face of our business on our direct site and all of the other platforms.  We also create all of the individual Scout pages for our guests, working with our team members on the ground to provide a smooth check-in and check-out experience for our guests.  

Additionally, we handle all of the maintenance for the product mentioned above: everything from move outs and photo reshoots to policy changes/updates, Scout instruction changes, amenity removals/additions, parking/towing warnings, construction updates, and every single other little thing you can think of that might need to be included (and about a million others you might not think of!)  Sometimes these updates are to a few units and sometimes they’re to the entire 700+unit portfolio.  Our computer mice probably have a couple hundred thousand miles on them!

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Having a direct impact on our guest experience!  It may sound like I’m a glutton for punishment, but I do miss the relationships I used to build one-on-one with my customers in my previous sales roles.  Helping to mold the way our Scout instructions are created and having a hand in making those first impressions is a great way for those of us behind the scenes to make our guests feel welcome!

What were you doing before Frontdesk and what brought you here?

Prior to Frontdesk, I had a long career in retail management, working in everything from mattresses and shoe stores to kids and luxury apparel. A few years before the pandemic, I left that industry to start my own business being an online retailer and, while initially something I wanted to pursue, 2020 put a nail in that one pretty quick.  20 years of no weekends off and working 50-60 hour weeks wasn’t something I wanted to go back to, so I started exploring remote gigs where I could use my experiences and happened to see a post from an old high school buddy, Jenn Mason-Cammorato, about this awesome STR company she worked for…

What has been your biggest learning experience since starting at Frontdesk?

The average person has absolutely no way to even BEGIN to comprehend the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes of an STR organization!!!

What advice would you give to others in your role?

Organization, organization, organization.  Sync those calendars, set those reminders, flag and notate and all that jazz – things go a mile a minute around here and it’s easy to let something go in one ear and out the other!

What surprised you about working at Frontdesk?

I was genuinely concerned about what it would be like to work for a company where most everyone worked remotely.  I have been most surprised by the overwhelming amount of teamwork I’ve witnessed in my short time with the company and am inspired by watching everyone get all of this work done from so many different places!

What is your favorite Frontdesk city?

I live in one!  Atlanta has been home to me for 7 years now and I’ve fallen in love with this crazy place.  Despite being a huge, sprawling metropolis, the city has more trees than a lot of places I’ve lived. Visitors to the city have to check out the Beltline – a repurposed railroad track that encircles the city that is now a bike/pedestrian path winding past the area’s coolest new breweries, art galleries, restaurants, and outdoor events.  Try to stick to walking and using the train though – most people would rather cut their arm off 127 Hours style than spend more than 5 minutes on the 18-lane-wide nightmare that is I-75/85.

Bucket list place to visit?

Japan!  I’ve always been fascinated by the history, culture, and architecture of the region and while there are still plenty of other places on my list, this one’s right at the top.  My partner and I are currently in the early stages of planning a train tour of the country sometime later next year!

Dive Into Minneapolis

Meet our guest bloggers: Ellie & Owen

This post is coming to you straight from our cozy FrontDesk condo up high in the skyline of downtown Minneapolis. We’re Owen and Ellie, the cliff diving couple. Yes you read that right,  we are both professional cliff divers on the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Our job takes us all around the world to compete and we typically live in 2-3 different cities throughout the year. As much fun as it is to constantly move around, it makes traditional renting very difficult. After years of paying rent for an apartment we barely spent time in, we decided to put everything in storage and live more freely. When it was time to come back to Minneapolis for the winter months, we knew we wanted to live in the same building as before. Discovering Frontdesk was a breath of fresh air! It gave us the opportunity to live in a fully furnished apartment in our favorite building without the commitment of signing a long term lease. We are staying in the Churchill Apartments, where the Mississippi meets the city. With two balconies, we have a panoramic view of the river to our north and the skyscrapers to the south. Being back in the city during our off-season has given us the opportunity to explore the city in the winter. We have had a blast experiencing some of the best outdoor activities that Minneapolis has to offer! Here are the top 5 outdoor activities we have experienced over the last few weeks.

There aren’t many places in the country where the temperatures would allow expert sculptures to build a full size castle out of ice but Minneapolis is certainly one of them. Every year at the beginning of January they build an enormous castle with mazes, slides and archways. Adorned with hand-placed icicles that dangle overhead like a beautiful, winter chandelier, this castle is a must see! We took the opportunity to visit this frozen masterpiece and had a fantastic time climbing, sliding and exploring the site.

From man made ice sculptures to a natural frozen beauty, Minnehaha Park is home to a very unique waterfall. We have visited this park a couple times in the Summer to see the waterfall but going in the winter is an absolutely wild experience. The 60 foot high falls completely freezes over leaving an ice cave behind the falls that adventurous people can explore. It is a surreal experience to see such massive frozen icicles formed naturally and seeing time freeze in motion!

The winter Olympics are on and we love watching all the different sports on the TV. One that has always caught our eye is the ski jumping contest. How on earth do athletes know they can fly 500ft down a hill? Well the answer is they start very small indeed. We headed over to the St. Paul Ski Club for a beginner experience. The smallest hill is called the k-10 and it is designed for even the most beginner skiers to have fun and experience a half second of flying. We strapped on some skis and headed for the slopes. It may not be a big jump but it was still thrilling to feel the freedom of flight. The club is family run with 4 generations of jumpers going out to jump each week.

Minnesota is famously named the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes’ and in the winter they become the “Land of 10,000 frozen lakes!”. We visited Centennial Lake in Edina, one of the largest lakes in the Twin Cities area providing 50 acres of ice to explore. We had an awesome time skating around and trying out some new tricks.

Yes, you heard it correctly… there is a World Snow Sculpting Championship. The best snow artists from around the world gather to compete for the ultimate prize of being the champions of sculpting. This year the event was held in Stillwater, a cute little town on the edge of the Twin Cities. Of course, we headed over to see the action! 12 teams from 5 countries entered the event with the Canadians coming out on top. The sculptures were truly amazing and we were amazed at the artistry. Hats off to all the participants!

Bonus activity- Shop with SkyWay

One of the coolest things about the city of Minneapolis is the Skyway System. This is a series of footbridges that link buildings together in the city. It is the largest contiguous system of enclosed, second-level bridges in the world—composed of 9.5 miles of pathways connecting 80 city blocks. Basically, you can walk around the entire city without ever stepping outside! This makes restaurants, shopping, and other activities easily accessible by foot without having to spend hours outside in freezing temperatures. The first time we came to Minneapolis there was a polar vortex weather system that made the air -43 degrees, yet you could still walk around the city in shorts and t-shirts through the skyway bridges!

Planning a trip to Minneapolis? Stay Frontdesk.