Juliana Mendoza is our Unicorn of the Month for January. Juliana joined Duetto as a Data Quality Manager in October 2019, having already enjoyed a successful career working in hotel revenue and operations at some of the largest brand names, including Westin, Shangri La, Hard Rock, and Hilton.
Juliana was awarded for continually going above and beyond to help the support team, being an amazing teacher to new Duettos, and being a great team player.
Announcing Juliana as Unicorn of the Month at our January Town Hall, Duetto’s CEO, David Woolenberg, said: “Juliana is a great team player, not only working very well with the people in the Delivery team but also working very closely with Support, Customer Success, our Integrations team and, of course, our clients.”
Speaking after the announcement, Juliana said: “I wasn’t expecting it! My camera was off and my cats were running all over the place. It was surprising but I was very happy. It’s always good to be appreciated and know you are doing a good job. I am very proud of being a Duetto.”
Here, we catch up with Juliana to hear more about her work experience in some of the world’s most exotic locations, what it was that first attracted her to revenue management, and how she made the jump from hotels to hotel tech.
What was your work experience before joining the team?
After I graduated from Swiss Hotel Management School I went to the Caribbean. My first job was in the Cayman Islands for Westin. I started in the front office and then became the informal IT manager because I always had a knack for servers. Then I went to the British Virgin Islands as an executive concierge, organizing island-hopping trips in twin-engine planes, before moving to St Vincent to work for Raffles. I then moved back to the Caymans and did another two years with Westin, mostly in the front office.
Then Hurricane Ivan hit, followed by Hurricane Katrina. My mum asked me to move away from the islands. But I moved to Bermuda to work for Mandarin Oriental.
Eventually, I listened and got a job as a front office manager at the Hilton Washington. The hotel had 1,200 rooms and I had a large team. It was here I started to learn about revenue. For such a large property in Washington, sell-out efficiency was important, and the hotel had a strong overbooking policy. I found the revenue side of things exciting, like playing gumball! I had always liked numbers (my mum is a banker!) so revenue called to me.
From Washington, I got transferred to Hilton Glasgow, before joining the Revenue Management Consolidation Center in Watford. I then spent nine years working in revenue for Hard Rock, Shangri La, Carlson Rezidor, IHG, and Duetto client Generator.
Can you remember what it was that attracted you to Duetto?
I was always good with computers and systems. As a revenue manager, I managed my connectivity and systems (distribution, channel manager, etc). I got involved in the transfer of data and was fascinated by how it happened. I came across the job post for Duetto and saw that it combined technology with the data parcel that I liked, and I thought this sounds like a good idea.
What does your role as Data Quality Manager entail?
We are part of the delivery team, bringing customers onto Duetto. Once connectivity between Duetto and the hotel’s property management system is established, the Data Quality Managers make sure the data Duetto is ingesting is correct and make sure the settings in the app are correct for the management of the data. We are the final stage of Duetto deployment before new clients start pushing rates and using the system.
What is your average day like?
It varies and depends on the projects going on. I could be working on a multi-property project or several independent properties, and this can quickly change depending on the amount of work and the urgency of certain projects. I’m very good at organizing myself; I focus on the properties and then deal with the outliers. We’re a global team so, although I am based in the UK, I can be working on projects in the US and APAC, so time zones also play a role in organizing my day.
What do you most love about your job?
Finding issues but being able to solve them. Sometimes there are data ingestion issues caused by practices the team onsite does. Once you can identify them and can present best practices to the team to change these habits, you are helping them solve the problem.
What has been the best day you’ve ever had working at Duetto?
Not long after joining Duetto, I was managing the data quality evaluation for around 35 Malmaison hotels. I was able to complete them quite quickly and the client was very happy. I got named employee of the month because of the great feedback from the client. It made me feel like this is what I am meant to be doing.
What piece of advice would you give to someone looking at a career in hotel tech right now?
If the person is curious and exposed to different parts of tech stack at their own hotel property, or they have that curiosity to figure out how things work, then just get started and look to make the move. Nowadays, the younger generations are not as intimidated by technology because they get exposed to so many different tech types. But it’s always good to try something else. Variety and diversity are key.
Interested in joining our team? Check out our current open positions on our Careers page.