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Hilton to let guests unlock their doors with smartphones

Hotel chain Hilton Worldwide has announced a plan to enable guests to use their smartphones as keys at the majority of its properties around the world.

Christopher Nassetta

NASSETTA: Unlocking potential for smartphones to be used as room keys

“We are developing proprietary technology that is safe and reliable for our guests to use and cost-effective for our hotels to install,” says CEO Christopher Nassetta.

“Travelers can use their smartphones as boarding passes to get 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.”

The digital room key service will be introduced in 2015 at “all US hotels across four of its brands,” the hotel chain says. “By the end of 2016, the majority of its rooms system-wide will be equipped with this functionality.”

NFC World+ has asked Hilton which technologies are to be used but no details have been made available so far.

The service will work in conjunction with a new digital check-in option that lets visitors use their mobile phone, tablet or computer to check in and out of a hotel, choose their room from digital floor plans, purchase upgrades and make special requests for items to be delivered to their room.

By the end of this year, room selection from digital floor plans will be available globally for guests in over 650,000 rooms at more than 4,000 hotels across Hilton’s portfolio of 11 brands in 80 countries. Digital check-out, currently available at all US hotels, will be rolled out globally by the end of 2016.

Participating brands include Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites. The functionality will also be available at DoubleTree by Hilton and Embassy Suites Hotels properties within the US.

“We analyzed data and feedback from more than four 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,” adds Geraldine Calpin, global head of digital at Hilton Worldwide. “In fact, in a recent study, 84% 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.”

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