Made in Croatia

Croatian Startup RoomOrders Expanding to Spain, Turkey

By 15 October 2021

October the 15th, 2021 - The Croatian startup RoomOrders, often referred to as the ''Croatian Glovo'' has experienced success and is now expanding to Spain and Turkish resorts.

As Bernard Ivezic/Novac/Jutarnji list writes, it isn't only the state and the tourism sector that have benefited from this year's remarkably (and surprisingly) good tourist season.

The Croatian startup RoomOrders won two major jobs in record time by introducing its platform for ordering food and other services via mobile phone, after testing the system this summer in the tourism sector here in Croatia.

Eugene Brcic Jones, the co-founder and CEO of RoomOrders, says they have worked mostly abroad in previous years. However, due to the record-breaking recovery of tourism in Croatia, they focused on the local market this year, and thankfully it well and truly paid off.

''Based on our experience in Croatia, we're introducing our system in a large resort in Bodrum, Turkey, which has seventeen restaurants, including a water park, apartments, and a marina, we're also doing the same in Kempinsky's resort in Marbella, Spain,'' explained Brcic Jones.

He added that after last year, which the global coronavirus pandemic turned into the worst imaginable for the tourism sector so far, they found a way to turn the model used by Bolt, Glovo and Uber into a tool for increasing the profitability of the tourism industry and importing offers in various destinations. They introduced billing within the application (app) itself, meaning that they added a fintech component to it.

''We're aware that there are mobile apps that allow the ordering of food and services, but only to your home or other (residential) addresses. RoomOrders is, I believe, the first in the world to introduce ordering via QR code to hotels and now we've expanded it so that guests throughout the entire hospitality ecosystem can order what they want,'' said Brcic Jones.

This includes resorts, hotels, restaurants, cafes and other catering and hospitality facilities.

The Croatian startup RoomOrders started up six years ago as an app for ordering food from your hotel room, but not only from the hotel's own restaurant(s) but also from restaurants in the local area. Most hotel kitchens don't work non-stop, and delivery, unless otherwise agreed with them, isn't typically allowed.

Soon after getting their feet off the ground, the Croatian startup RoomOrders got its first user - the Hilton Hotel in Boston. This was followed by the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, and then the list included numerous hotels from Fiji, through to Sydney, Singapore, Dubai, Athens, London, Warsaw, Barcelona and more, as well as large hotels across America. Today, they have contracts with 300 hotels and catering/hospitality establishments on all continents except South America. Payment is made through the hotel, meaning that guests can order food only from the establishments with whom the hotel has a contract. The hotel and RoomOrders thus receive a fee, and the guest pays for the service when going to the reception.

Brcic Jones says the coronavirus pandemic hit them like the rest of the tourism industry, and they projected revenue of one million euros this year, but they will have to wait for that to materialise, especially given the fact that tourism on a global scale has not recovered nearly as fast as it has here in Croatia.

''More than 50 percent of our hotels still aren't working at all or are far below their usual capacity, so they're not using RoomOrders,'' said Brcic Jones.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Croatian startup RoomOrders focused on tourist players across the Republic of Croatia and globally on various resorts. The director of RoomOrders says they recently introduced a mobile ordering service from any location in a hotel or resort.

''According to the initial results from the Sheraton hotel in Dubrovnik, which offered this service for ordering from swimming pools and beaches in August, the results are fantastic,'' said Brcic Jones. In addition to all of that, RoomOrders has expanded into digital menus, making sure to keep up with an increasingly digital world.

''Several countries, including Croatia, have introduced measures during the coronavirus pandemic that require hard menus to be removed from the table and sanitised each time. Or to simply replace them with digital menus,'' said Brcic Jones, adding that the interest in digital menus is strong and that he believes that it will remain as such even after the crisis, maybe even officially.

He stated that they're currently in a pilot project with Zagrebacka pivovara (Zagreb Brewery), and they are jointly introducing digital menus across 4,000 stores in Croatia.

''You can already see them in Bonita on Cvjetni trg (Flower square) in Zagreb and in the Swanky bar in Ilica, and all you need to do is scan the QR code with the sticker on the table. All this is part of building a digital hospitality ecosystem based on QR ordering and mobile payment, which already exists in China, where payments are made via WeChat, an app which is similar to WhatsApp, so you don't need to carry a wallet at all,'' concluded Brcic Jones.

For more, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.