The ability to manage part of your hotel stay via smartphone is nothing new. However, Hilton Worldwide recently announced a property-wide initiative that would allow Hilton HHonors members to check-in, check-out, use their phone as room keys and even choose their rooms via web-based floor plans at all Hilton properties by 2016. The technology launch will mean the end of the traditional hotel check-in process.
Hilton is the first company to offer guests the ability to choose their exact room by looking at digital floor plans on their phone. At 6 a.m. the day before a booked stay, a guest with a Hilton HHonors account can sign in via their mobile phone, tablet or computer to check-in and choose their preferred room. Floor plan maps and photos will be accessible for any of the hotel’s available rooms. After choosing a room, guests can also customize their stay by purchasing upgrades or making special requests for specific items to be delivered to their room.
“We analyzed data and feedback from more than 40 million HHonors members, as well as guest surveys, social media posts and review sites, and it’s clear that guests want greater choice and control,” says Geraldine Calpin, senior vice president and global head of digital at Hilton Worldwide. “In fact, in a recent study, 84 percent of business travelers surveyed said they wanted the ability to choose their own room. We are giving our guests the ability to do just that by enabling them to select not just their room type, but the exact location in the hotel, all the way down to their room number.”
Next year, the hotel company plans to roll out a technology that will allow guests to use their smartphone as a key to unlock the hotel room door, allowing for guests to bypass the check-in process completely. For now, guests can simply pick up a key from the front desk once they arrive at the property. The hotel will already have the guest’s payment information and other details required for their stay prior to arrival, which will still streamline the check-in process.
“Travelers can use their smartphones as boarding passes to get to their seats on an airplane, so it is only natural that they will want to use them as a way to enter their hotel rooms,” says Christopher J. Nassetta, president and chief executive officer, Hilton Worldwide. “We have spent the past few years testing a number of different options to make this vision a reality, and we are developing proprietary technology that is safe and reliable for our guests to use, and cost-effective for our hotels to install.”
By the end of 2014, the digital check-in and room selection will be available at more than 4,000 Hilton properties, and digital check-out, currently available at all U.S. hotels, will be rolled out globally by the end of 2016. In 2015, Hilton will introduce the technology allowing guests to use their smartphones as room keys, and all U.S. hotels across four of its brands will have this capability by the end of that year. This functionality will be rolled out at a majority of the hotel properties worldwide by 2016.