Struggling to find the right tech solutions to suit your operations as well as adapt to the shift in customer demand? Or perhaps you’re concerned about data security in your plans for expansion? We talk to the experts at Criton to help you invest in better technology.
Julie Grieve, founder Criton
“Criton is a guest engagement and integrations platform. Our mission is to make it affordable for independent hotels to have the same technology as the big chains have spent a lot of money on.”
Dwayne Pascal, chief technology officer, Criton
“My role is heading up the product development team. We’re constantly looking to develop products and features on a technology platform that’s going to add value to hotels and really deliver something compelling for guests to use inside those premises.”
Q: How can I decide which technology would work for me and actually be a worthwhile investment?
Julie: The first thing I would say is you’ve really got to decide what you’re trying to achieve. Technology should let you do more with the same amount of staff or resources and so I would also come at it from a guest journey or team journey perspective. For example, we have a hotel who wanted to be the first cashless hotel in Scotland and they decided to implement Criton as a way to achieve that, so the technology should underpin your goals rather than just being a goal to introduce technology.
Dwayne: I think always focusing on what the guest experience is going to be and then looking at what technology can be used to enhance of complement that is absolutely right. Technology should be the enabler rather than the leading aspect of what you’re trying to do for the guest engagement part of the journey.
Q: How will I know if a new technology solution will easily integrate with other third-party technologies? What should I look out for?
Julie: the most important thing you want to look for is a partner who’s looking to work across this very fragmented landscape. One of the reasons I started Criton was because getting something that integrates all of your guest-facing technologies into one place to make it easy for your guests to engage, wasn’t so easy. I’d be looking for someone who says specifically their goal is to do that, rather than forcing you to change your technology to deliver what you want to deliver.
Dwayne: From a technical standpoint, I would look for open APIs, so venders that are offering quite open solutions where either they have their API specs available for people to look at and inspect or test platforms that people can log onto and use right away to get started. I think that shows a sign of openness and willingness to integrate. Also ask questions around integration; how do they support integrations?
Q: I’m planning to scale up and open my second hotel. As we expand how can I make sure the technology I use promises to keep data safe and secure?
Julie: This is probably the key issue that our hoteliers speak to us about; how can they be confident that their guest data has been used as their guest expects. The first thing you’ve got to make sure you’re telling guests how you’re using their data and that they’re agreeing to that. The second thing is down to technology.
Dwayne: If you’re looking at both scaling up and expansion, but also security of data and handling, you know you can rely on things like cloud services. We use AWS as our core provider and that’s because they have expertise in all these sorts of things, so rather than trying to develop that kind of expertise internally, they offer solutions that can help you easily scale and integrate upward, whilst also managing the security and safety of data. Also make sure you know what policies your provider has in place; anybody who is dealing with data should know what policies and procedures they have in place and how they are going to keep data secure.
Q: We haven’t implemented much technology before, but after this year, are looking to invest in an app platform. How can I best promote the app to guests and ensure they know how best to use it?
The first thing is you’re going to have to tell them, and you’re going to have to tell them again and again and again. This is an ongoing thing; just as you tell your guests how to find your hotel, you want to tell them that you have an app and what’s in it for them.
During covid, a lot of our hoteliers have been offering a pre-arrival check-in for or more information on how they’re dealing with cleaning for example, and that’s really useful for the guest. If you tell the guest before they arrive that you have an app, here’s why you could download it, chances are they will. We’ve seen an exponential increase in downloads because hoteliers are now communicating to guests that they have an app before they arrive.
To watch the full Tech Clinic with Criton, view our video special HERE