GUESTS get a digital door key, in-room ordering, details of services, restaurant booking and local recommendations, along with links to social media channels with the ability to post reviews from their smartphones, in one app.

It is designed to meet the evolving requirements of the modern hotel visitor and giving an increasing number of brands the opportunity to provide a guest-facing service that helps enhance the traveller’s journey, and garners prime information hospitality providers require to shape their overall offering.

Criton, set up by Julie Grieve, has developed a suite of technologies for the travel, tourism and hospitality sector its founder says opens up the type of services usually restricted to the largest budgets but which travellers are increasingly expecting.

She said: “The big chains have spent billions of dollars money making sure that their apps work with all their technology, and are getting 20 per cent of their bookings through their app.

“All of that connected room technology that guests are experiencing in the chains will then be expected as the guests move to other hotels.”

READ MORE: Edinburgh's Tigerlily latest hotel to build its own guest app

Criton has a platform that brings any guest-facing technology that is cloud-based into an app builder and the hotel can fully brand it, “so rather than having four apps that are not hotel branded, they have one that is for their hotel and anything the guests interact with is in there”.

A survey of 3,600 travellers commissioned by Criton found that 62% of respondents regularly use an accommodation app, with the figure increasing to 67% amongst business travellers.

Ms Grieve, the former chief executive of serviced apartments business Lateral City, is aiming for a £500,000 turnover by next year with a client base of 400 as expansion points to the US and China, and adds: “We’ve got multiple different types of products coming out in terms of different segments we can work with.

“For example, we are about to launch a tour operator product into the market and that is obviously a big market.”

The Edinburgh boutique hotel, restaurant and bar, Tigerlily, is the latest operator to create its own branded mobile guest app using the app-builder developed by travel tech firm Criton.

READ MORE: Hotel app can help harness travellers’ experiences

Deploying a range of tools and functionality offered by Criton’s award-winning technology, Tigerlily’s new app will give guests easy access to services available at the five-star venue.

The firm said the deal follows major new link-ups at Criton, including integrations with technology providers, GuestRevu and Impala.

The integration with Impala is a ground-breaking move for the rapidly growing tech company, and will link Criton-built apps with all the major property management systems (PMS), including Oracle, Suite8, Guestline, Sihot, Clock and Mews.

The integration with GuestRevu’s management review software, announced last month, provides the means to gather essential feedback on the guest experience “in-stay”, and encourages guests to leave comments on key review sites, once their trip is concluded.

Ms Grieve said the firm was delighted “to have the chance to showcase our technology with one of Edinburgh’s most distinctive hospitality brands”.

READ MORE: Traveltech firm Criton Apps to go global after £5m cash injection

She said: “Tigerlily is using the app comprehensively, with ‘book again’ and feedback functions alongside key information.

“As the importance of mobile technology keeps growing, an increasing number of guests expect to be able to do most actions from their smartphones. As we add new functionalities to our app-builder, hoteliers can offer a seamless guest experience.

“With our latest PMS integration, guests no long have to queue at reception, update their bookings and check in before they arrive.

“At the same time, hoteliers need both practical and measurable innovations and our integration with GuestRevu enables hotels and serviced apartments to gather essential guest feedback and encourage reviews. It is another way for hospitality professionals to be empowered by new technology and a means to help drive success.”

Tigerlily joins other Edinburgh-based high-profile hoteliers and serviced apartment operators adopting Criton’s technology, including the Scotsman Hotel, Dunstane Houses, Nira Caledonia, the Edinburgh Collection and Reserve Apartments.

Founded in 2016, Criton was developed by Information Apps for the hospitality and tourism sector, and secured £5m investment in November 2017. With offices in Edinburgh and London, the company now employs 33 full-time staff. However, Brexit is a consideration for some of those workers.

Ms Grieve added: “I do have very anxious staff. We have people literally from America to China and we have a lot of Europeans, and a couple came to Britain to work for us. It is very unsettling for them.

“As a small business, I sat down last year and thought I’m going to try and plan for Brexit and then I thought I can’t plan for it because I don’t know what’s going to happen and I can’t afford to waste time coming up with 20 different scenarios. So it is wait and see.”

She added: “I fundamentally believe that the hospitality industry in particular can mitigate some of the issues they are facing, not just Brexit but the fact they have a load of costs they are being hit with and technology can make a difference.”

She says tech can let hotels do the same with fewer workers more with the same number. “But you should only be investing in technology that is guest-facing.”