The Right Resources, Attitude and Approach Give Hotels Competitive Advantage

September 8, 2020 | Claire Middleton, Contributing Editor

Some hotels just stand out from the crowd. Their names are known globally and their reputation and prestige goes before them. We’re honoured to have a team of hotel industry professionals here at Duetto whose resumes boast some of the leading hotels of the world.

Juan Ruano, Director of Hospitality Solutions for EMEA, pulls on his experience working for big names such as The Savoy and Mandarin Oriental in helping our clients. We caught up with him to find out all about his current role at Duetto, and how his prior on-property experience is helping him and his team help hoteliers to navigate through the current situation as the industry recovers.

JuanRuanoQ: What’s the average day of a Director of Hospitality Solutions?  

A: Basically, myself and my team work as internal consultants. We are revenue management experts as well as Duetto experts. We help customers, prospects and colleagues to ensure that we are always providing the best service we can to solve the challenges and problems that our clients and the industry in general is facing.

In my role it’s important that I keep up to date with not only what's going on in Duetto as a company, but also what's going on within the hospitality industry as a whole. I need to be aware of what’s important to the sector and how these priorities evolve over time. Of course Duetto works with a number of partners, so we need to think always about partnerships, integrations and competition as well. We try to have a holistic view over everything that is going on in the industry in order to be able to feed back into Duetto to ensure that we continue to provide great solutions and value to our customers.

Q: What's the one thing that you love the most about your role at Duetto?

A: I love Duetto; I love that we provide a revenue strategy platform which solves a number of challenges that I’ve experienced myself in the past as a hotelier and as a revenue manager. 

Q: You have significant experience working as a hotel revenue manager. What can you tell us about that?

A: I've been in the hospitality industry for almost 20 years and during that time I've held all sorts of roles, including international operations roles. But just over 10 years ago I got the opportunity to start working in revenue management. After that I was lucky enough to work with a small revenue management consultancy based in London, where I gained great experience with different types of clients and projects which enabled me to really shape up and achieve a broad understanding of revenue management within the hospitality industry. Then four years ago I got the opportunity to come and work for this fantastic company, Duetto!

I began as part of the customer success organization and I was with them for almost three years, looking after some of our most valuable customers. Eventually I moved to the role of Director of Hospitality Solutions, where I am now. 

Q: You’ve worked for some big names in the world of hospitality. What have been the stand out moments of your career?

A: I've been very lucky during my time in the industry to be involved with some amazing projects and to work for some fantastic companies. For example, I started my career in London working for Como Hotels and Resorts, a company which has some amazing hotels. Then I took my first steps in revenue management thanks to One Aldwych Hotel, an absolutely beautiful independent property also based in London. After that, I was involved in the opening of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Barcelona, back in Spain where I'm from. 

I loved the experience of opening a new property, so then I moved on to being part of the reopening team of iconic London hotel, The Savoy. I’ve worked in different countries, with different types of properties but all, luckily, amazing experiences.

Q: Opening the Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona and reopening The Savoy in London - those are two really big projects. How does your experience there help you to advise and support Duetto customers as they return to market?

A: Luckily, we work with companies that are opening and acquiring new properties all the time. But the way hotels approach the next few months reminds me a little of the early days of Duetto, where we had a start-up philosophy. You have a very small team with very reduced resources, but you have to reach everywhere. Plus you need to make sure that if there is a business opportunity, you grasp it. So, when you reopen or open a property, you start very small with a small team who has plenty of work to do. And as the opening or reopening date approaches, more people come in and more projects start opening up. 

It’s a very evolving and dynamic type of environment, which isn’t for everyone, but it's very exciting and really motivating, with experiences that you will never forget. Unfortunately, the crisis we are living through right now is awful of course, but we should definitely view this period as an interesting time where we will learn a lot about the industry, and also ourselves. 

I'm ready to make sure we step up and that we are up for the challenges ahead. Only those that have the right resources, attitude, and approach are going to be able to get that competitive advantage that could determine whether your business is going to be successful or not under these very difficult circumstances.

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