Hoteliers launch 'smarthotel' system

Jon Erasmus (left), Ronald Tweedie (right) and Richard Drummond (centre) launch the first 'Smarthotel' system of its kind, in Edinburgh.

Hoteliers launch 'smarthotel' system

A team of Scottish hoteliers has launched software that could significantly reduce bills for struggling hotels in Scotland.

Last year Richard Drummond, Jon Erasmus and Ronald Tweedie set out to build software that could run a Scottish hospitality business on its own after becoming frustrated at hotels being stifled by outmoded technology.

After 18 months of development, the trio launched upstart company, HOP Software; immediately handing the system’s future back to the beneficiaries- hoteliers themselves.

The cloud-based system, which enables accommodation to be run from any smart device or phone, offers complete connectivity between staff members, simplifies hotel functions and even generates staff efficiency data for HR departments.

Customers will have the option to check-in using an airline-style app and, uniquely, industry users will be given the ability to evolve the software’s functionality every fortnight through live updates.

Hop believe the product will free hospitality businesses from clunky systems charging high commissions for add-ons, giving them more time with their customers.

CEO and designer Jon Erasmus, who is also the brains behind the Inverness Brewery, said: “We are market disruptors trying to help our own industry.

“As hoteliers ourselves, we were becoming increasingly frustrated at lots of expensive legacy-based systems designed in the early 2000s, with bits bolted on and run by other companies.

“Our industry is having to deal with business rate rises, impacts of the Living Wage, Brexit and rising utility costs. There are pressures in many areas and people don’t want huge I.T bills on top of that.

“We decided to develop software ourselves which could run a business, end to end, at a fraction of the cost and put staff and customers back together again instead of staff having to go to different companies to fix different parts of a system.

“We don’t want to save businesses 10% on I.T bills, we think we can save them 70%.”

The three directors have invested £500,000 of their own money over two years on the agile software which will cost hospitality businesses between £2000 and £6000 per year.

HOP is already being used at McKays Hotel in Pitlochry, The Boat Hotel in the Cairngorms National Park and the Glen Mhor Hotel in Inverness, businesses owned by the investors.

Six full-time posts, including 3 UK-based developers, have been created with 15-20 jobs expected to be filled over 2 years.