Two of the three founders of Duetto, Patrick Bosworth and Marco Benvenuti, have extensive experience in the gaming industry. That experience led them to develop the revenue management system that has created the Duetto success story. The company is ready to take the next step as Bosworth is elevated to chairman of the board. He was joined by the new president of Duetto, David Woolenberg, when he met with Roger Gros, the publisher of GGB, at the Duetto offices in Las Vegas in September.
GGB: What was the state of revenue management when you left Wynn Resorts to form the company nine years ago?
Bosworth: Revenue management has been around since the mid-1980s. It’s just that they haven’t been used to their full potential, partially because, particularly in gaming, the systems didn’t reflect the way casinos actually run their business. You were using technology like Excel, which had a hard time handling all the data, and you had to ignore most of the recommendations. It was one of the reasons we decided to start the company. So we built the company using the tools for the purposes that were intended. You’d use most of the recommendations suggested by the tool instead of overriding them. And frankly, our timing was good. It was a time when gaming and the overall hospitality industry was looking toward automation and using analytics to a greater extent. That tailwind has helped us.
How much has changed since those days?
Unfortunately, many of the big companies still use Excel spreadsheets. Employees spend the entire day hand-keying in overrides and doing things manually when intuitively you know there should be a better way.
So what are you doing differently than other companies were doing at that time? How did you fix what was broken?
You pull together as much relevant data as you can. You configure the system to match the strategy of the casino resort. And then you develop algorithms to help automate, first the most routine decisions, because the vast majority of your day looks like other days. There’s a lot of commonality between certain days of the week at certain times of the year. Then you have to empower the people at the properties to take a hard look and understand more deeply the exceptional days.
You still need to have a prediction about the future, but you’re arming your people in your revenue meetings with the information they need to exercise their own judgement to interpret the more exceptional things they see.
Duetto was recognized in the hospitality business early on, but you had some great experience on the casino side, too. Why did it take longer to get noticed in gaming?
The short answer is that casinos are the most complicated part of the hospitality business because of their size and complexity. It took us some time to build the products necessary to take into account all of the variances in gaming.
For example, casinos had a very inflexible system where you were either a comp customer or casino rate or cash customer. That was costing the casinos a lot of money, and providing a worse customer experience.
Say you’re a borderline casino rate customer who the casinos would love to comp on certain days. Under the old system, that wouldn’t have been allowed. With our system, you can show your borderline customers that they are valued and offer them comps on days when it makes sense, but other days they might have to pay the going rate. That way, you’re sure you have the right players in the building at any given time.
How important is real-time data to your products and services?
It’s crucial. The goal is always to get as close as we possibly can to real-time data that’s wider and deeper than any external analyst has sent before. We have to make sure it’s always accurate. We’re constantly running data checks to assure data quality. That becomes the key to establishing trust from our customers. The data has to be accurate, as do our predictions for the future.