The prestigious annual ‘HOSPACE2017 Best Entrepreneur’ competition for suppliers to the hospitality industry has been won by Julie Grieve, Founder and Chief Executive of ASAP Business Partner Criton Apps, who is pictured exhibiting at the 2017 ASAP Convention.
Julie’s presentation on her company’s self-build guest app service to hotels and serviced apartments won the most delegate votes at the recent annual HOSPACE2017 Conference and Exhibition of HOSPA – the UK’s leading educational organization for those involved in hospitality finance, revenue management and IT.
Commenting on the award, HOSPA Chief Executive Jane Pendlebury said: “Huge congratulations go to Julie Grieve and her company Criton Apps on a superb winning presentation that wowed the HOSPACE2017 ‘Best Entrepreneur’ competition judges by becoming a finalist, and then the HOSPACE audience who had the final say on the winner. We wish her and her company every success for the future.”
For her part, Julie Grieve said: “I am honoured and delighted to have won this prestigious hospitality industry award, which I hope will be the first of many for Criton Apps.”
Criton Apps is the UK’s first self-build digital concierge for the hospitality market.
It was developed in direct response to a need that Julie Grieve encountered as the CEO of a serviced apartment operation. Frustrated by paper-based guest information books that quickly became shabby and out of date, she created a way to transfer this information on to a free-to-download customized app.
Offering a self-build guest app service to hotels and serviced apartments, Criton Apps was set up just under a year ago with personal funds and a Scottish Enterprise grant. Criton’s software moves all guest-facing information on to a mobile app, viewed as an essential next step for the travel industry to keep pace with today’s digital savvy traveller.
The app combines destination guides, guest and property management information. Deals with affiliate technology companies – Loop and Bubbl – also mean that the Criton app’s functionality includes geo-fencing, or location based offers and promotions, and in-stay or in-app messaging. As an ‘on-device’ technology that literally lives in the guest’s pocket, Julie explained it has a far greater advantage over in-room technologies that do not have that mobility or flexibility.
Criton clients include leading Edinburgh establishments: The Chester Residence, and serviced apartments The Knight Residence, in addition to hotels and travel destinations in America, Australia, Portugal and Germany. Over the summer, Auchrannie Resort and Crieff Hydro became Criton’s latest big name wins.
Criton recently gained new funds from a private investor to accelerate the company’s growth as it looks to expand overseas. The new investment will allow Criton to boost staff numbers to more than 30 in two years with sales bases at home and abroad identified as a priority for early 2018.
Julie Grieve said: “We have achieved a lot in the first twelve months, both in customer sign-ups and awareness. Our app-builder offers independent hotels a guest facing technology which rivals anything offered by chains such as Hilton and Marriott and we are making an impact. This is a sector, however, where it is important to move fast and this investment will allow us to take Criton to the next level with more staff and an international sales team.
“We believe the future of travel and hospitality tech is on the guest’s own device, where they can use their own phone or tablet to check-in, access their room and operate in-room appliances using the power of the Internet of Things. In-room devices are used briefly, if at all, during the guest stay because they want to use their own device both in room and when out and about.
“What’s more, our technology is available to independent hotels and small chains – making it possible for them to offer guest facing technology that is world class.
“We now have the foundations and the funds in place to meet our growth ambitions. It is an exciting time.”