Richie Karaburun, NYU Adjunct Professor
and Managing Director USA at Roomer
Richie is a travel industry executive and e-commerce expert with a BA and MBA in International Business. He is sought out as a travel industry specialist and public speaker and has been an adjunct faculty member at NYU SPS Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism for almost 2 years. Richie is married, has two boys and enjoys traveling the world with his family. He currently has an NYU intern and will most likely be posting another intern position for the Fall.
1. What trends are you seeing in the online travel industry?
The online travel industry is rapidly changing to a peer-to-peer marketplace. Millennials are having a strong impact on the industry and want a more personalized, localized travel experience. The successes of Airbnb and boutique hotels are a response to travelers’ desires to feel the local flavor. Travelers want to read reviews before they make purchase decisions as seen by the success of TripAdvisor and Uber. CheckMate, a platform for mobile hotel check-ins, is an example of a company that has responded to Millennials preference to not have to wait. With one click from the cab, en route to the hotel, you can check-in and order room service, avoiding lines and waiting. Hotel designs are also responding to Millennials social preferences. Hotels are now being built with more communal spaces for socialization and are moving away from the cookie-cutter lobby. Another trend within travel is the expectation that Wi-Fi is always available and free for guests.
2. What led you to become Managing Director USA at Roomer and Adjunct Faculty at NYU?
I’ve been in the business for 20 years. I’m originally from Turkey, and completed my undergraduate degree there in International Relations. I earned my MBA in Los Angeles and rose through the ranks in a travel company over the course of 11 years. I moved to New York and worked for GTA, owned by Blackstone. Roomer, which is like StubHub for hotel rooms, approached me to open a New York office. Being on a founding management team intrigued me and I left the corporate world. As Roomer grew in the US, I was approached by the Tisch Center to give a class presentation. Shortly after that speaking engagement I was asked to join the Tisch adjunct faculty. I love teaching at NYU- taking my students on field trips and introducing them to industry leaders.
3. What do you look for when you hire?
One of the first things I look for is a positive attitude. As potential hires answer questions I can see how positive they are towards life, their education and their career. I want to know how passionate they are about the industry. I often ask, “Tell me something that is not in your resume”. When I interview NYU students I tell them that they have made it, they are at a fantastic school. But I want to know something about them that I don’t see on their resume.
50% of getting the job is showing up, and showing up on time. I recently invited 20 students for a group interview. 13 of them accepted and of those, 10 were on time. I made note of those who weren’t on time. I also take note of who follows up with a thank you note after the interview.
4. What type of research do you expect a student to do before the interview?
Your preparation should take longer than the actual interview lasts. I expect you to have researched Roomer: who are the founders of the company, who are our competitors? When I’ve had applicants tell me they couldn’t figure out who our competitors were, I ask them if they called and asked the receptionist. I expect that they have researched me as well; I look to see if they have viewed my LinkedIn profile. By doing this they may be able to find common ground with me, which helps them stand out in the interview.
5. What advice do you have for NYU students interested in working at Roomer?
Develop perseverance, demonstrate genuineness and have strong Excel and PowerPoint skills. I want to see evidence that you don’t give up. For example, even if you interview with me and don’t get the job- ask if you can continue to be in touch, ask me to keep you in mind for future opportunities. I also expect you know Excel well, including the use of pivot tables and that you are able to put a deck together quickly using PowerPoint. Overall, if you are being genuine and true to yourself that will come across in our interactions, it will be sensed.