Carl Yaffe graduated in 2013 with a B.S. in Hotel and Tourism Management and a concentration in Hotel Development from the Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality. He is currently Head of Growth at Hotel Trader, which brings efficiency and transparency to global hotel distribution.
What has your journey been like after graduating NYU?
When I first graduated from NYU, I joined Marriott International as a Regional Sales Manager covering Full-Service properties in New York City. I worked directly with hotels such as the Marriott Marquis and JW Marriott to acquire group business for social and corporate events. I had always been interested in travel technology and innovation, so after a year at Marriott I decided to join Roomer Travel, a peer-to-peer marketplace for hotels, to further scale its business after raising a Series A. The “start-up life” was exhausting but extremely fulfilling and gave me the freedom to be entrepreneurial and creative in expanding partnerships and building new products. Dr. Richie Karaburun, now a professor at NYU, opened the Roomer NYC office and recruited me as his first hire. I ended up running global partnerships for 4 years, and then had an opportunity to help launch an exciting new business, Hotel Trader.
Can you talk about your current role at Hotel Trader?
I joined Hotel Trader in December 2018 as a founding team member and helped launch the official product in April 2019. We are a 100% automated & cloud-based distribution solution that connects hotels with leading travel agencies globally. The distribution landscape is fragmented and difficult to navigate without the proper tools – so we created a solution that simplifies the process and uses business intelligence to monitor connectivity. It’s a win-win for hotels (suppliers) and travel agencies (buyers) to have a simple and automated way of doing business together. As Head of Growth I manage the demand side of the company – which covers strategic partnerships, technical integrations, revenue optimization, and finance. We have a super innovative team that’s passionate about travel/hospitality and every day I’m thankful to be a part of the journey!
What are you passionate about in the work that you do?
I’ve always enjoyed traveling the world and experiencing different cultures and geographies first-hand. Luckily my career has allowed me to travel both domestically and internationally - and by bringing efficiencies through technology I feel like Hotel Trader is part of the larger “machine” that is democratizing travel and making it accessible for everyone. That’s the first part – the second is the ability to be creative, entrepreneurial, and work with an all-star team that’s always thinking big.
In what ways has your NYU experience had an impact on your career and shaped who you are today?
Since day one NYU tremendously helped my personal and professional growth. Just being in NYC forced me to quickly become an independent thinker and the city provides so much opportunity for those truly wanting to learn and are passionate about the travel space. NYU opened a number of doors for me over the years (i.e. internships, alumni networks, business partnerships) – but more importantly NYU gave me perspective on the industry and a multitude of career paths that allowed me to find my true passion.
What career advice would you give to NYU students?
Network and find mentors. It’s not always about landing a job – it’s about learning what’s out there and using that knowledge as a data point to help guide you in the future. The more you understand about the industry and the inner-workings of travel companies the more value you can bring to the table.