Finding New Opportunities For City Center Hotels

August 19, 2021 | Sarah McCay Tams, Director of Content, EMEA

Siobhan Loughman joined Duetto in March 2021 as a Business Development Representative in EMEA based in London. However, due to COVID, she had to wait five months before she could meet her team members in real life!

Siobhan comes to Duetto with a wealth of hotel industry experience, having worked in F&B and Sales on property in hotels across Europe, before taking the leap into hotel technology with HRS, Roomex, and now Duetto.

A keen traveler, foodie, and dog walker, she already has a long list of destinations to tackle as soon as restrictions permit.

Here, we catch up with her to find out more about her years of hotel experience, what opportunities she sees for hotels in London, and why now is the time to make the move into hotel tech.

You joined Duetto in March 2021. How have your first few months been? What has been the most fun so far?

I have loved my entire time here at Duetto. It has been fantastic to work with such a strong and knowledgeable team. I appreciate having the support throughout to help me get to where I am now. I met our team for the first time this month, yet I have been in the company for five months! I admire that, although we are still working remotely, I felt like I still knew the team very well through all of our virtual socializing. It is something very hard to do so I need to commend Duetto for being able to do this.  

What first attracted you to Duetto? How did you find out about us?

I first heard about Duetto when I caught up with [Duetto’s Director of Sales, EMEA] David Goodman, who I had previously worked with at HRS. He spoke so warmly about how much he loved his job. It was impossible to say ‘No’ when asked if I would like to put my name forward for the position I am in now. 

You have a strong hospitality background. Tell us a little about your experience before joining Duetto.

I have been in the hospitality sector since the age of 18 when I first studied at Shannon College of Hotel Management back in Ireland. That start did drive a lot of my knowledge within the industry. I began my career in food and beverage and was fortunate to work for the Four Seasons Hotel de Bergues in Geneva and then two Red Carnation properties. While working at The Rubens our Deputy General Manager asked if I would be interested in joining the Sales team for the chain. After a few years in a sales role, I was approached by hotel portal HRS about a role in corporate travel where I managed sales for Ireland and UK South before moving to booking platform Roomex, where I became a Market Manager.

What prompted you to move from hotels to hotel tech? 

I think it's a very exciting time to join hotel tech. The hospitality industry has evolved incredibly in the last 20-30 years especially with the introductions of online travel agents (OTAs), metasearch, and dynamic pricing. All of these different factors contribute to a higher demand for more hotels in popular locations.

But hotels need to continue to evolve. COVID has accelerated the need for technology to help hoteliers identify business patterns that they would be unable to see with the ‘naked eye’, and this will not only help hotels stay in business but also help drive stronger ADR and RevPAR. 

What does your role as Business Development Representative entail?

My role is to introduce Duetto to hotels that may not have a revenue management system (RMS) and to show them the benefits of using one. I have the pleasure of chatting to properties across Europe and hearing about the different challenges they are hoping their new tech stack can resolve. And, of course, introducing them to some of the amazing hotel professionals we have here at Duetto, to help advise them on how to achieve their goals.

You’re based in London. What is the vibe in the city now? Is business returning?

Business is still slow in comparison to 2019. When we look at some of the global companies with large offices across the city remaining closed, I’m sure it does make many businesses worry. However, leisure guests are driving travel at the moment - although offices are not open many employees can work from anywhere in the world and many are changing their environment while still working 9-5. I will be going back to Ireland for two weeks and will work from there. However, as I can enjoy my time away out of hours, I feel like I’m being paid to take a holiday, which is a huge benefit.

We are also seeing companies in the city looking at going back to the offices for a two- or three-day week. And, as many people who have been living in the city have moved further out, there is the opportunity of them staying in hotels rather than tackling a longer commute home, which could drive mid-week business for hotels. 

Away from work, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

On my weekends I love seeing new parts of London, trying new restaurants, or bringing our dog to different parks across the UK. I think when you live in a fabulous city like London you always feel bad if you have done nothing on your time off when there are so many options on your doorstep.

And finally, as international travel resumes, where’s first on your wish list of destinations to visit? 

I usually try to go on a minimum of one sun holiday and one city break annually. However, I am very excited to go back to Ireland to see my family who I have not seen in a year. After that, I will be using all my holidays anywhere that is sunny and that I can travel to through England’s traffic light system. There are so many fabulous places to choose from.


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