Tech startup wins Scottish Enterprise grant

Julie Grieve

A Fife-based business women has won a Scottish Enterprise grant to help kick start her new business that has the potential to transform the customer experience for every holiday let, B&B and guest house in Scotland.

Julie Grieve is venturing into travel tech with the launch of a digital concierge for Scotland’s many thousands of property owners and small businesses offering holiday accommodation.

Called Criton, it is the UK’s first self-build app service for the hospitality and travel industry and has been inspired by Julie’s own experience of running self-catering and serviced apartments.

The Scottish Enterprise grant, in the form of an innovation award will support Julie’s plans to hire two more employees (to bring the number of staff up to five) and promote the new app service to Scotland’s 12,000 holiday lets, serviced apartments, guest houses and B&Bs.

Accessed on a low cost subscription basis, 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.

Julie said “Before setting up Criton I was working with a serviced apartment group. I was writing the guest information books, having spent a small fortune on lovely leather in-apartment folders. I realised that as soon as I printed them and wrestled the paper into the plastic internal folders that they were out of date because I wanted to make sure the guests’ experience was the very best it could possibly be, I was always updating recommendations and useful information.

“I went online to find something more technical. I couldn’t find anything and the quote for an app was £8500, not in our budget! So I parked the thought but it nagged away at me and eventually I just had an overwhelming urge to do it myself.

“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information; it works off-line which can be critical in areas of Scotland where there is no phone signal and is never out of date.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.”

Head of innovation and enterprise services at Scottish Enterprise, Michael Cannon, said “Innovation is key to unlocking economic benefits for Scotland and Julie Grieve has this in spades.  A UK first, her new product, called Criton, will offer a hugely innovative solution for the hospitality and travel industry and I wish her every success on her future growth journey.”