Unicorn of the Month: Paul Smith

August 26, 2021 | Sarah McCay Tams, Director of Content, EMEA

Paul Smith, Integration Product Manager, is our Unicorn of the Month for August. Based in Las Vegas, Paul has worked for Duetto since January 2016, joining first as a part-time intern, then as a full-time Data Quality Analyst, before moving into a Customer Success role and eventually finding his home in Integrations and Product. 

Paul was awarded because he exemplifies teamwork, goes above and beyond to ensure integrations get over the line, works with trust and respect with both his fellow Duettos and our tech partners, and is a professional and effective project manager.

Here we catch up with him to learn more about his early experience meeting Duetto’s co-founder Marco Benvenuti, his time working at Westin Hotels and for hotels on the Las Vegas strip, what his role as Integration Product Manager involves, and his best day working for Duetto.

What was your work experience before joining the team? 

I had worked in Food & Beverage most of my career, in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. I also worked in Meetings and Events for Westin Hotels as well as the Jonathan Beach Club in L.A., then at various restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip.

Can you remember what it was that attracted you to Duetto? 

I was finishing my graduate degree at UNLV in 2015 and Marco [Benvenuti, Duetto’s co-founder] walked into one of my classes wearing gold sneakers and a Duetto shirt with a big unicorn on it to talk about Duetto. He had me at hello!

He was talking about revenue management and how he started Duetto to disrupt the industry and change the way hoteliers thought about their work. He explained Open Pricing and at the time I was familiar with revenue management but only in a BAR by length of stay strategy, so when he explained how Open Pricing works I was immediately excited and wanted to know more.

He also talked about the company culture and his vision for Duetto, and I was sold on the idea of a more inclusive, less stuffy, more irreverent, and fun work culture. I applied for an internship the following semester and got it.

Tell us what your role as Integration Product Manager entails? 

I oversee building and testing new integrations, as well as enhancements to existing ones. I also help determine the viability of new prospect integrations as well as manage relationships with many of our data partners. I help come up with an overall integration strategy for the company, explore new partnership opportunities, and serve as Product owner for our Integ-Core team of developers, making sure we are prioritizing their work in a way that meets our goals and commitments according to our Product Integrations roadmap. I also serve as a subject matter expert on all things data and integrations related to our Customer Success, Support, and Sales organizations. 

What is your average day like? 

Emails, slacks, and meetings! I join our daily integration stand-ups with our development team. Depending on the day/week there may be additional Agile meetings to attend for sprint planning or sprint review/demo.

I typically have certain big projects I am working on and there may be meetings with partners, long testing calls with technical contacts on others; but then there are days where unplanned issues come up and I may have to jump in on an investigation to troubleshoot an integration or data issue, triage bugs or help other teams come up with a workaround for an unexpected challenge. 

What do you most love about your job? 

Working with my team of developers and coming up with creative solutions to new problems. I also really enjoy being involved in a large Integrations project from the beginning (planning, scoping, and discovery) to the end where we get to announce a new integration as certified and go to market with it. It is great to see the fruits of our labor and see customers being deployed onto these new integrations and being able to make their lives easier while adding value to the company. 

The best day you’ve ever had working at Duetto? 

I think probably the best week was when I was in Customer Success a few years ago and we had a boot camp week at Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego. I got to spend time with team members from other regions and collaborate and learned a lot from other fellow Duettos throughout the week.

Also, an honorable mention to our annual Jubilee meetings, which bring the whole company together. It is always great to meet new team members and see what fun ideas my colleagues come up with during the Hackathon. 

What piece of advice would you give to someone looking at a career in hotel tech right now? 

Do it! It can be daunting making the jump from a more operations-based role into hotel tech but even if you sometimes must take a step back, I believe there are plenty of opportunities for growth within hotel tech and, in my opinion, it is a perfect way to still be involved in hospitality but also be a part of a fast-moving, innovative industry. Plus, the skills that you learn in a tech company are easily translatable into any different tech vertical if you ever feel like you may want to switch and go work in a different industry.

Interested in becoming a part of the Duetto community? Check out our Careers Page for our current openings.

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