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Scots hospitality tech firm in arctic inuit deal

06/06/2024

A Scottish hospitality tech firm has secured its first ever Arctic contract with a hotel in Greenland, which lies at the heart of the Inuit community.

Hop Software, part-founded by highland hoteliers, has developed an award winning property management system which handles all aspects of hospitality including online bookings and payments.

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In the last 18 months, the growing company has secured new contracts outside core UK markets, with deals in Barbados, Florida, Nigeria and Europe.

However, staff were intrigued several months ago to receive contact from a port town in Southern Greenland with views over the Arctic ice sheets.

Hotel Narsaq lies at 65 degrees north on the shore of Tunulliarfik Fjord, comprising 11 rooms, guesthouses, 6 family apartments and houses.

Co-owners Fridrik and Kattie Magnusson were looking for an online booking system for business clientele and international tourists who visit Greenland’s 9th biggest town.

Despite being initially intrigued at the communication, the Hop team worked with the couple to remotely integrate the new booking system, at a distance of 1600 miles from its base in Edinburgh.

After encountering obstacles in the shape of Nordic regulations, Hop’s team managed to get the system live ahead of the main summer tourist season in Narsaq, which is famous for fishing, sheep farming and its memorable ice formations.

Greenland is part of Denmark and is one of the least densely populated regions in the world comprising a population which is 89% Greenlandic Inuit.

“It’s probably one of the last places we would have imagined Hop to be, at the outset, if I am honest. You don’t really plan for this, though I think it shows the flexibility of our product,” smiled Hop co-founder Richard Drummond, who also manages McKays Hotel Bar and Restaurant in Pitlochry.

“Our home is firmly in Scotland and the UK, however, the Hop team enjoy setting up the platform in these locations which are far from home.”

Iceland-born Fridrik Magnusson, who has co-owned Hotel Narsaq for 10 years with his Greenlandic wife, Kattie, and their children praised the Hop team for overcoming international barriers to introduce the software.

“We had a few issues to do with Nordic laws but the Hop team was quick to add these features to the system,” said the hotelier, whose principal custom of 70% is through business travellers heading to the port, which is clustered with multi-coloured, wooden dwellings.

“It was important for our business customers to be able to book easily online and also to amend bookings, themselves, which many systems can’t do.”

From conception in 2017, Hop has continued to expand steadily, with over 250 hospitality businesses now running its all-in-one property management system.

However, its move into uncharted Greenland represents its most northerly marketplace.

Founded by Scottish hotelier directors, Richard Drummond and Jon Erasmus (who co-owns the Glen Mhor Hotel, Inverness) and Ronald Tweedie, Hop boasts over 70 Scottish hotels customers.

It also has an HQ in Chester and Durbanville, South Africa, and its UK clients include Bannatyne leisure group, Trivelles group and Petite Hotels.

Sharon Smith, Hop Chief Operating Officer, said: “We look forward to fostering new relationships with further properties in Greenland.

“Moving into new territories is part of our ongoing overseas commitment for growth and innovation. We are delighted to now be providing a service to Hotel Narsaq and expanding our footprint across this vibrant and growing economy.”

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