• Ryan Haynes

Hotelier's Voice – Ian Jurgensen at Portavadie and the guest experience inspired by Disney

Updated: 6 days ago

Speaking to Managing Director Ian Jurgenseon of Portavidie which received £35m investment to become an inclusive resort, it hosts 400 staying guests across its campsite, marina, hotel and serviced apartments.

We learn how tech is an incredibly important part of the resorts wider strategy, inspired by Disney as they roll out contactless payment and high quality internet throughout, paying close attention to integrations and interfaces, and why they need to look at the overall guest experience before putting time into development.

As part of its focus on delivering the customer experience, Ian turned to Criton. He explains, “Covid19 guidance has focused the mind during lockdown. We’ve had to review how to reopen and what to address, and our use of paper throughout the resort. The speed of change was super important and how we could go about that.”

Broadband coverage

A big commercial opportunity for Portavadie was the installation of broadband throughout the resort; “Highspeed internet was not an option but a prerequisite to do anything.“ Ian explains how he approached the investment and how it opened up more opportunities to be more efficient and manage their own destiny.

RFID wristband

Inspired by Disney, Ian tells us how they brought a guest wristband to the resort as a driver of convenience and commerce, “We don’t have a cashpoint, guests were paying by card all the time, we faced bank charges for every transaction costing us a lot.” Now guests can top up their bands with credit and pay the total on checkout.

Ian tell us that to enable the guest experience tech is the bridge to that, and his approach to delivering change by looking at what do you ideally like to do, and to do it in a way that makes it easy for guests and staff while deploying tech that connects easily.

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Portavadie moved to Opera Cloud for agility and flexibility, he talks of the challenges with interfaces and the barriers preventing system connectivity in the hospitality sector to better facilitate platforms that offer customers this personalised and responsive experience. “As a business we need to find the right questions and to find the right person to ask this to,” describing his procurement journey.

As part of the digitalisation strategy, the resort moved to a different version of Concept for its spa system, installed a new product from Micros, and is now using Salto for door management – while they are not part of the same organisation they have different interfaces that speak to one another. “As we’ve moved through the journey to find platforms, we’ve been extremely careful that the systems work across all platforms, so whatever we do the onus of responsibility is on the providers to make sure these work.”

Listen or watch the full interview as Ian gives more detail on his approach to tech selection, deployment and measuring success.

For the rest of the series, click