How Duetto is modernizing the multi-billion dollar hospitality industry
The hospitality industry was once a hotbed of innovation. Back in the 1960’s, for example, the Holiday Inn developed and launched the Holidex, a first-of-its-kind centralized reservation system. In a time before the internet, this piece of technology helped set the then 15-year old company apart, and was later copied by many competitors.
But times have changed, and the multi-billion dollar industry has fallen behind the technological curve, at least according to Patrick Bosworth, CEO and Co-Founder of Duetto. Founded in 2012, the company has developed a suite of cloud applications to help hotels increase booking conversions, guest loyalty, and revenue.
The idea for Duetto was birthed out of years of on-the-ground experience by its founders—Bosworth actually met one of the co-founders when they were both working at Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas. After seeing the pain points first-hand, the team set out to build their own solution.
While the hospitality industry looks ripe for disruption, it also provides unique challenges in regard to scaling the business. Larger hotel chains have invested millions of dollars into developing now archaic systems, making it tough for them to switch off. Additionally, the Duetto team has found they’re having to integrate with a very fragmented base of property management networks, which are primarily run on-prem versus via virtual machines.
To combat the first issue, Duetto took the approach of targeting the mid-sized chains first, where migration is less of a blocker. Now that Duetto has a good base with those firms, they are increasingly talking with the major hotels. As for integrating with legacy, on-prem systems? The key is to be very patient, per Bosworth. Education and integration takes time, so heading in with realistic expectations is key.
The historic use of on-prem systems provides Duetto with an opportunity as well by allowing them to bring the operational efficiency of running in the cloud to these customers. They do this by leveraging various services, such as S3 for file storage and backups, or EC2, which Duetto uses for the vast majority of its servers and compute needs.
This approach seems to be paying off, as the SaaS startup currently boasts customers at 2,500 hotel and casino properties in more than 60 countries around the world. Venture investors have taken notice as well—Duetto has raised over $143 million of VC, which includes an $80 million round in February 2018.