To be unveiled at this week’s Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) Annual Convention, it is the UK’s first self-build app service for the hospitality and travel industry
Accessed on a low cost subscription basis, it gives the UK’s 81,000 holiday lets, serviced apartments, guest houses and B&Bs the chance to connect with the tech savvy traveller, by making all guest information available at the touch of a screen anytime, anywhere.
Criton provides the who, what, where, when and how about a place to stay via a bespoke mobile app. It can be up-dated at any time and is very user friendly, capable of incorporating instruction videos on how to use appliances and directions through to contact details and information on and links to nearby restaurants and attractions for a flawless customer experience. Areas of the app can also be padlocked for additional security.
It is brought to the market by Julie Grieve, the former CEO of serviced apartment group Lateral City and serviced office group Abbey Business Centres. Julie funded the development of the new tech service from the proceeds of her shareholding in Abbey, which was sold in 2011. Now based out of Codebase in Edinburgh and with the backing of Scottish Enterprise in the form of an innovation award, she successfully launched the app service in Scotland last week.
Operating in a market which includes all holiday accommodation from hotels to barges and with the anticipated growth over the next few years of the serviced apartment sector and Airbnb generation, Criton is expected to attract 5% of the UK properties within 5 years, delivering a £3-5m turnover.
Already easily translated for an international audience for UK holiday accommodation owners, the aim is to raise investment to take the app service overseas next year.
Julie said: “The use of smart phones and tablets in the hospitality sector has created a new platform for operators to interact with their clients in a variety of ways. We know that the way Millennials consume information and interact is entirely different to the current demographic. With a background of trust reviews driving consumer booking behaviour, introducing technology which drives reviews and improves the guest experience at all touchpoints will become crucial to continued success.
“It could be argued that this is perhaps even more so within the short term accommodation market because guests require more operational information than a standard hotel room guest to enjoy their stay. Finding your Airbnb or serviced apartment is not always straight forward especially if your guest is arriving late at night. And what if they can’t work out the heating system when they get there? Technology can help provide the information in a format which suits the consumer and by improving the user information protect the asset as well as improving the user experience.
“Having a Criton app for a holiday property is a cool way to present guest information; it works off-line which can be critical in areas where there is no phone signal and is never out of date. It closes the information gap; guests know everything there is to know at the touch of a screen.”
Criton has been in Beta testing for the past two months and customers signing up now will be given a two month free trial if they use the code ‘LAUNCH’. The subsequent cost of the subscription service is available from around £10 per month.
James Foice, Chief Executive of the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP), comments: “At this time of rapid growth in our sector it’s great to see the development of this new self-build digital concierge, designed specifically for our serviced apartment sector to enhance the guest experience.
“We’re delighted that Criton have chosen to launch their innovative new app at our ASAP Serviced Apartment Convention in London on 1 December, the flagship event for our industry, and we wish Julie and her team every success with this exciting new venture.”