Balbirnie House Hotel
14th March 2019
Balbirnie House is an award-winning luxury country house hotel nestled within 400 acres of beautiful parkland in the heart of Fife. Their Grade A listed Georgian mansion was voted ‘Wedding Hotel of the Year’ at the 2018 Scottish Hotel Awards and ‘Wedding Retreat of the Year’ at the glittering Haute Grandeur Global Hotel Awards 2018 in Dubai.
Balbirnie House is widely recognised today as one of Scotland’s finest small luxury hotels, combining understated luxury with superb service and outstanding value.
The team at Balbirnie House Hotel wanted to replace the guest directories with a mobile-friendly solution, something that guests could use on their own phone even before their arrival. They also wanted to reduce their carbon-footprint and reduce the amount of paper produced every year.
During COVID-19, Managing Director Nicolas Russell had a difficult decision to make. They either had to close completely or endeavour to keep going and use technology to keep people in jobs and generate revenue.
The Solution: The Balbirnie App
Using Criton’s technology, the team at Balbirnie House Hotel launched their own branded app to digitise all the guest information and give guests access to all their services on their mobile devices.
In line with their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, the app allowed the Balbirnie House team to minimise the amount of paper printed every year, as all information about the hotel and its services are contained within the app.
When the hotel had to shut its doors, Managing Director Nicolas Russell decided to make the most of the guest app to keep staff in jobs and used the mobile food ordering system within it for takeaway orders.
The result exceeded all expectations. Technology created a new opportunity, which combined with the support of the local community, enabled Balbinie House to reach 1,000+ orders in the first week.
Offering a click and collect, safe, socially distanced service for the local community via the app, staff at the hotel was busy throughout the lockdown period.
When the hotel was able to open, guests would place their order and pay for food at the restaurant via the Balbirnie app to support social distancing and enable everyone to remain safe.
The mobile ordering platform was extremely successful and, since the 6th July 2020 and in less than two months, the Balbirnie House team received and processed 10,000 guest orders using their own branded mobile app.
“Creating our own app has been in the pipeline for a while now and after searching for app developer to work with we stumbled across Criton. From initial enquiry through to completion and launching of the app, the fantastic team have been on hand to guide and assist every step of the way.
The app has been an incredible addition to our working systems here at Balbirnie for both staff and our customers. We will be using the app, through all social media portals, our website and even into our booking confirmations, encouraging guests to download prior to arrival to help with any questions they may have.
The app has also allowed us to further reduced our carbon footprint by digitalising all of our in room guest information. Guests can now do most in room requirements via the app, we find this provides both the guest and our staff a much smoother process. All in all the app has been fantastic addition to Balbirnie!”
Sarah Rees, Deputy General Manager
“Fundamentally, one of the main reasons for transitioning to App was to deliver contactless service between brigade and guests, and the next reason was to be able to collect guest information for what we thought would eventually turn into a 'track and trace' system for Scotland Hospitality. We were correct!”
Nicolas Russell, Managing Director