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2022 is a special year for Duetto; it marks our tenth year! Reaching double figures is a big deal for us and to celebrate, we’re running a very special series of Q&As with some of our longest-serving unicorns. To kick the series off, we spoke to Nevin Reed, VP of Casino Services, who has been with Duetto almost from the start - nearly nine years! Here he chats about how much things have changed at Duetto over the last decade, what he thinks makes a good unicorn and what he’d like the future to hold.
I've had some pretty amazing opportunities in my career. I'm very fortunate to have worked across the US and in the Bahamas, and I have to say that being at Duetto has been my favorite job of all. It just doesn't feel like nearly nine years! It still feels new and fresh, which is amazing and shows I’m happy in my work. That’s important to me and it’s why I stay. I don't just stay for the paycheck, I stay because I think we are truly making a change in the hospitality industry and my job stays incredibly fresh, unique, and innovative and I love every minute of it. I hope I can continue to do the same thing here for another eight or nine years.
I’ve always been in the hospitality industry. I graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ original Hospitality School, I won’t tell you the year but it was before they invented the wheel. Right from there, I was immediately into the casino industry, starting with Caesars Entertainment where I was for many years. When I left them I had the opportunity to be Director of Revenue Management at the Atlantis Resort and Casino in the Bahamas and was down there for three years, which was an incredible experience. It was considered the most sought-after hotel in the world to stay in, so it was a pretty amazing ride. Then I came back to Caesars Entertainment here in Las Vegas where, again, I was in revenue management and I ran revenue at several different properties ranging anywhere from 200 rooms to 4000 rooms, so all big box, all very high volume, all monster hotels.
When I had my first chat with AJ and Marco about coming here, Duetto was a real start-up - a one-room office. In fact, at first, I turned the job down! I decided to stick with Caesars Entertainment - a Fortune 500 company. But then there were many changes at Caesars and I phoned Marco and AJ, practically begging them to take me. Thankfully, they offered me the job again and I haven’t looked back since.
In a company of that size you name it, you wear that hat, and that's what you have to do. I have amazing memories of those early days and it is just amazing to see where we are today from those very early beginnings.
It's funny how little it’s changed! In terms of the company’s culture, that free flow of ideas has always been there, the notion that everybody and anybody in this company can add value. We're still very open and our CEO, David Woolenberg, still promotes that. David says, ‘Come as you are’, and that’s how it is. We want everyone to bring their ideas, their suggestions, and their experiences to the team, and we will listen. When we started, we were unheard of, and now we're the second-largest RMS in the world. It's pretty incredible to see but we’ve kept our values and we’ve kept our culture.
What the casino brings, and why I enjoy it so much, is that casinos have everything that hotels have, all the same segments - groups, wholesale, transit, etc - all that fun stuff, but they have an additional side to them as well.
They’ve always tracked exactly what guests would gamble but now that's expanded to what they spend everywhere within the integrated resort. They’re the forerunners of total spend analytics and pricing people based on their estimated spend and worth. This includes comp rooms, so casinos are known to give away free rooms, but they don't just do that willy nilly, they do that based on some amazing algorithms and data which says, ‘when you come to the hotel, we expect to get $600 a day from you and so we’re going to offer you a free room to get that spend out of you’.
There are two. One has to be the early days when we were in just one room with no space to do anything. We were trying to take customer phone calls or training calls but there was no space to do it, so it was hilarious to see Patrick (co-founder) sitting in a closet doing sales calls or Marco (co-founder) taking a phone call pacing the halls because there was no other place for him to take it. Other times I would be out taking customer calls in my car, in Las Vegas’ 110-degree heat, with the air conditioner running. It's just amazing to think about where we started, that we were doing anything to make this company grow and be successful. That's one of my fondest memories for sure.
Another really fun memory has to be all the Jubilees over the years. When the entire Duetto universe comes together, there's just something about seeing people in person. You know you can talk to them all whenever you want via zoom or the telephone, but man there's just something different when all of us are hanging together in one big room. I don't know what it is, it's just something special.
In my opinion, a unicorn is someone who, if they see an issue or have a solution to a problem or they think of something that might enhance our product, will come forward. Not only do they recognize what might need some help, but they come prepared with ideas of how to solve it. That's what I truly think a unicorn is.
We should never be satisfied, and we should never assume that we'll always be the best RMS in the world. We have to keep working to keep bringing out amazing forward-thinking products and offerings, that's what's made us the fastest-growing RMS in the world. You’ve got to have people that see the issues and needs and go forward.
Complacency is the enemy, especially in the tech world. You innovate or die.
That we continue to innovate and listen to our customers and the teams within. I’d like to see the next step of Duetto’s evolution be focused on total spend loyalty. It's not just all about the room revenue, but about what you might spend in the spa, the restaurants, or in the gift shop. I always say, ‘When was the last time you went to a hotel, sat in your room staring at the ceiling, and didn’t purchase one single thing?’ I'm talking toothbrushes to sodas. An empty room generates no revenue. There's no way you can make a single penny on an empty room.
I love to see that data is moving towards that, where we’re thinking about total revenue of the entire organization, versus just an ADR hotel revenue.
Want to join an innovative team that’s growing fast and doesn’t believe in complacency? Check out our Careers Page for our current openings.
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