You know Domio for their beautifully decorated, immaculately-kept rental vacation homes and apartment-hotels — and their NYC headquarters in the Flatiron District are a spitting image.
Complete with carefully selected furniture, vibrant decor and a living space equipped with board games galore, Domio's office is the host of regular game nights and other team-bonding activities — much like a group of travelers would do on vacation. We spoke with three team members for more on how their company culture reflects their hospitality service and how everyone at Domio is given a voice to help scale the tech travel platform.
EMPLOYEES: 75 nationally, 60 locally
WHAT THEY DO: Domio offers vacation homes and apartment-hotels for groups at an affordable price. Their end-to-end platform takes care of guests every step of the way, from booking to checking out.
WHERE THEY DO IT: On the sixth floor of a building just west of Union Square.
PACK YOUR SUITCASE...: Employees receive travel credits and discounts to stay at any Domio property in the world.
…AND YOUR BOOKBAG: Each member of the team is also given a learning and development stipend to put towards personal and professional development.
Justin Sun, Operations Development Manager
Justin works closely with project managers, as well as the operations and procurement teams, to get Domio units ready for opening. He’s responsible for streamlining processes, managing logistics and focusing on expansion efforts to bring Domio to new cities.
BEYOND WORK: When he’s not at work, Justin is usually on the golf course perfecting his short game.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what brought you to Domio?
I earned my bachelor's degree in hotel administration at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, where I also minored in real estate. Having grown up in Singapore and Hong Kong — which are both concrete jungles — I’ve always had an affinity for real estate. I fell in love with the concept of Domio and joined when we were just eight employees large. I’m so proud to see how far we’ve come.
Coming to the office where I feel motivated and challenged, yet can still have a beer with my colleagues, makes my job not feel like work.”
What’s the Domio office like? Anything like the living spaces Domio hosts?
Our office was curated by our amazing design team, which took lots of feedback and suggestions internally to create our headquarters. Our graphics team created custom-designed wallpaper prints that embody our values, and there’s a huge collage of all of the Domio team travel pictures. The living room is a space for us to enjoy each other’s company and where we have our weekly lunch and learns where we discuss anything from how our data is being stored to “Super Smash Bros.” 101. Coming to the office where I feel motivated and challenged, yet can still have a beer with my colleagues, makes my job not feel like work.
What do you and your team do in and out of the office to stay tight-knit?
In the summer of 2018, we had our first annual company retreat in upstate New York at a very green and scenic campsite surrounding a lake. We brought all of our team members from all locations together to collaborate and brainstorm on new strategies for growth. Aside from work-fun, we all bonded through the outdoor activities such as canoeing, yoga by the lake, trivia night, a haunted hike and, finally, a big campfire. I was able to learn so much more about my colleagues in a totally different environment, including some crazy fun facts — one of my teammates actually designed the Playboy Club in NYC.
Sarah Haviland, Senior Director of Hospitality Operations
Sarah leads the operations and hospitality functions of Domio and collaborates with virtually every team in the company to streamline and scale existing processes, as well as enhance the guest experience.
BEYOND WORK: As a mother, Sarah balances her time between home and work. Outside of the office, she hangs with her 3-year-old daughter, who Sarah deems her “little double.”
What first attracted you to the hospitality industry, and how did it lead you to Domio?
When I was younger, my parents always traveled, and they typically chose to stay at Embassy Suites hotels. As a kid, these places were magical with the glass ceilings, indoor greenery, a pool, life-sized chess and whatever you wanted for breakfast. The experience I had as a kid always stuck with me.
I was in high school in Kansas City when I walked into an Embassy Suites, applied for a guest service agent position and was hired on the spot — the rest is history. I stayed with Hilton for 16 years as my career progressed in operations, moved around the U.S., opened a DoubleTree in Hawaii, and then landed a spot as a general manager in San Diego. I was ready for a change, and that’s when I came across Domio — which was a big game changer.
In most large hotel chains, there is a lot of bureaucracy, and generally, you have to go through several layers to be heard or to make a change — but not here.”
How is the company culture at Domio different from the other hospitality companies you’ve worked with?
Everyone has a voice at Domio. Your opinion matters and is heard, and there is no red tape. You are trusted for your experience. In most large hotel chains, there is a lot of bureaucracy, and generally, you have to go through several layers to be heard or to make a change — but not here.
Tell us about a time when you overheard a team do or say something that was reflective of the culture at Domio.
My desk is right next to our guest experience team. Every day, as I hear them helping our guests through whatever they need, I am motivated to continue to foster the culture we have created with this team. They truly care about people and make human connections real — even over the phone. They anticipate our guests' needs and, best of all, they do something about it!
Yasmin Kothari, VP of Product
As VP of product, Yasmin is responsible for the technology side of the business and manages the product management, product design, engineering and data teams.
BEYOND WORK: When Yasmin isn’t leading the product team, she can be found testing new recipes in the kitchen. The creative approach she brings to her cooking is the same strategy she brings to her team every day.
What’s one of the main differences between the company culture at Domio and other companies you’ve been involved with?
One unique aspect of the culture at Domio is that there is so much room for a proactive person to have an immediate impact. Because everyone is excited to be building this business together, there are no qualms about where a great idea comes from or who acts on it. Everyone is encouraged to be creative, find solutions, and make Domio better and stronger. There is little bureaucracy, so anyone with a good idea and the motivation to carry it out can do so.
Tell us about a team or company tradition. Why is it meaningful to you?
One of my favorite Domio traditions is company-wide game nights. Every month, we all come together as a company and get to know each other over games. The games can vary, from a ping-pong tournament, board game night, a video game marathon and everything in between. I love this tradition because you get to see a whole new side of people when they are playing games. It brings everyone out of their shells and creates connections between people who might not often work together. And, I don’t mean to brag, but I’m pretty good at Taboo.
Everyone is encouraged to be creative, find solutions, and make Domio better and stronger.”
When it comes to new hires, how do know you’ve found the almighty culture fit?
I know I’ve found a culture fit for Domio when I meet someone who is curious and proactive. This can manifest in so many ways. For example, I know someone is proactive about professional development when then they demonstrate a growth mindset and are open to constantly improving without fear of failure. I can also tell someone has this trait when they are passionate about what we’re building at Domio and have lots of interesting questions and ideas. At the end of the day, we want folks who are curious and proactive about how to improve themselves, their teams and Domio as a whole.