Similar to the keyless entry pilot program launched by Starwood earlier this year, hotel giant Hilton plans on upgrading rooms with new technology that will allows guests to access a room by simply waving their smartphone in front of the door. Starting the upgrade process during 2015, guests taking advantage of the new keyless entry system won’t need to bother with picking up entry key cards at the front desk. Detailed by Hilton today in a press release, Hilton expects to complete the upgrades at all hotels by 2016.
In addition to keyless entry with a mobile device, Hilton also plans on rolling out additional accessibility in the form of digital check-in and check-out using a smartphone or tablet. Ideal for guests that are weary from extensive travel, checking in digitally, in combination with the keyless entry platform, means that guests can go directly to the room upon arrival.
Encouraging guests to enroll in the Hilton Honors program, the mobile app will also allow enrolled guests the ability to look through the hotel’s available inventory and select a specific room. Similar to picking out an assigned seat in a movie theater, guests could specifically choose a room that’s positioned away from other guests to ensure a restful night of sleep. Guests will also be able to check out photos of the different styles of rooms prior to making a selection.
Speaking about the room choosing feature, Hilton Worldwide global head of digital Geraldine Calpin said “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. 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.”
Beyond choosing a specific room in the hotel, guests will also be able to choose from a variety of upgrades through the mobile app. A guest could upgrade the size of the room to a higher quality or perhaps request special items be delivered to the room prior to arrival. This is somewhat similar to how upgrades are handled when checking in for a flight, either on a mobile application or while at a terminal in the airport.
According to Hilton representatives, the digital check-in support on mobile devices should be available at over 4,000 Hilton properties by the end of 2014. In addition, future digital enehancements will be available to guests every 6 to 8 weeks as the development team continues to build upon the digital check-in platform.
Regarding platform support for the smartphone check-in feature, Hilton has yet to announce all the smartphone platforms that will be supported. However, both iOS and Android are at the top of the list. It’s also likely that low power Bluetooth technology will be used at the hotel room doors to maximize platform support across different smartphones.