Scots hospitality tech firms Caribbean deal boosts exports

21/09/2023
Hop co-founder Jon Erasmus believes innovative Scottish start-ups can excel in global markets.

A SCOTTISH hospitality tech firm has finalised a major Caribbean contract, with owners claiming it demonstrates Scotland’s continuing competitiveness in global markets.

Hop- a hospitality property management software company – has expanded its customer base across three continents with a deal with the prestigious Kings Beach Village in Barbados.

The contract sees Hop provide single-point software to enable the company to operate all aspects of its luxury tropical villa complex on the Caribbean island’s West Coast. 

The deal represents further global growth for Hop, with advanced discussions also underway with potential new clients in Nigeria – where it already has customers – and in Portuguese markets.

Hop evolved from the experience of two highland hoteliers desperate for more cost-effective technology to operate all aspects of hospitality, from bookings to check-ins to multi-system payments in one place.

Founded in 2017 by directors Jon Erasmus, Richard Drummond and Ronald Tweedie, the company surpassed its 250th customer milestone this year and is about to embark on a UK roadshow, with its first stop in Inverness on 11th October.

News of the Caribbean contract going ‘live’ comes just days after official figures revealed Scotland’s exports are growing faster than the rest of the UK.

And Hop Directors believe, despite challenges, it demonstrates that Scottish innovations remain highly prized in the international marketplace.

“Hop only came about through the experience of the directors operating in the hospitality and tourism sector in Scotland and building on that lived knowledge by understanding what hospitality needs, wherever in the world that may be,” said Director Jon Erasmus, who co-owns the Glen Mhor Hotel in Inverness, the venue for the first networking roadshow event.

“This contract, on top of securing new business in the UK, Europe, Florida and Nigeria shows what a Scottish start-up can do and should encourage others to think internationally. The fact that two of our directors remain hoteliers in Scotland means we can develop our product to meet the new economic circumstances all hospitality businesses are having to operate within, whether in Scotland or overseas, and we will continue to work with and bring in more partners, globally.”

As well as international deals like the recent integration partnership with Australian events booking firm, iVyy, Hop, which has offices in Edinburgh and Chester, has targeted further UK market share.

Last year, the firm secured a contract with Duncan Bannatyne’s leisure group and boasts a significant presence within Scottish hospitality with around 70 hotels being managed by their bespoke system.

By embarking on a ‘homecoming’ Scottish demonstration tour, Hop officials hope to cement their base further.

And the founders feel the company is well placed to offer value at the right time, with hospitality businesses facing significant operational cost pressures.

“At the moment, in the hospitality industry, everyone is looking to reduce overheads. Borrowing has effectively tripled, energy and things like food inflation are up and businesses are still finding their feet after re-opening following the pandemic. 

“In a tough marketplace, we are offering cost effectiveness and functionality, when we benchmark against our competitors,” said Director Richard Drummond, who also co-owns McKays Hotel Bar and Restaurant in Pitlochry.

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