We recently caught up with Julie Grieve to find out more about her move into the tech world – it’s been an exciting year for this woman in tourism!
I’m the founder and CEO of Information Apps. We recently launched a new product, called Criton, into the tourism and hospitality market which allows accommodation providers to turn their guest information book into an app. Guests can then download the app from the app store or google play and have access to the information they need for arrival during their stay. It allows operators and owners to upload “how to” videos as well as being a repository for all the information they want their guests to have, such as the wifi password, eating out recommendations and what time to check out.
What other projects are you involved in?
I’m a Governor at Erskine Stewart Melville Schools, a Board Member of Women in Tourism and jointly own a gift and homeware shop, Appleton’s of Elie with my husband.
What areas of the industry are you particularly interested in?
Prior to starting Information Apps I set up Old Town Chambers, which are 50 beautiful 5 star serviced apartments in the centre of Edinburgh. I find the growth of the serviced apartment market fascinating. I am also very interested in the AirBnB movement. Both of these are disrupting the traditional hotel sector, which I believe will mean a better experience for the guests. Ultimately travellers are looking for luxury or for it to do what it says on the tin which is why good value budget chains are doing well.
What are your hopes for Scottish tourism in the next five years?
That we continue to capitalise on the legacy of the Commonwealth Games and The Ryder Cup from 2014 and that we become prouder of what we have to offer as a nation. We have the most beautiful country and yet somehow we spend a lot of time apologising for the weather, the service, the accommodation, the lack of wifi…I could go on.
I also hope that Brexit doesn’t mean we lose our hugely important talent pool of Europeans who work in our industry and understand that it offers a great chance to progress quickly and learn management and leadership skills.
What were your motivations for getting involved with Women in Tourism?
I was new to hospitality four years ago and it struck me that (and this is not only true of hospitality) there were many experienced and capable women managers and yet when I went to events there were few in senior positions. It was also notable at conferences that there were few women speakers. I want to help change that and WIT seems like a good place to start!
What one piece of advice would you give to women starting out in the industry?
Act like you are a manager from the start, your reputation matters even when you are beginning your career.
And by that I don’t mean tell people what to do, I mean think about issues as a manager would, what’s the likely impact, what’s the risk, how can we make this better. These questioning skills will stand you in good stead for the future.