By Rahul Odedra
Hotel group to begin rolling out technology to streamline check-in and check-out process
Hilton Worldwide is to begin rolling out technology next year which will allow guests to unlock their doors with their smartphone, doing away with the need for a key or card.
It is one of a number of digital initiatives announced by the hotel group to streamline the check-in and check-out process at properties around the world.
By the end of this year, guests will be able to check in and choose their exact room from digital floor plans, as well as make purchases or special requests, through their their mobile devices, tablets and computers.
The company has also committed to allowing guests to use their smartphones as room keys in all of its rooms worldwide. Four of its brands in the US will have this technology by the end of next year, while the majority of rooms around the world will have it by the end of 2016.
“Travellers 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,” said Hilton Worldwide president and CEO Christopher Nassetta.
“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 this summer, Hilton HHonors members will be able to check-in and choose their room from digital floor plan maps online or via the Apple and Android HHonors apps across the following U.S. brands: 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 this autumn.
By the end of 2014, room selection, either from digital floor plans or lists, will be available globally for over 650,000 rooms at more than 4,000 hotels across Hilton's portfolio of 11 brands.
Digital check-out, currently available at all U.S. hotels, will be rolled out globally by the end of 2016.
At 6 a.m. the day before a booked stay, Hilton HHonors members can sign into their account via their mobile device, tablet or computer to check-in and choose their preferred room through floor plan maps or lists populated from the hotel's available inventory.
Photos of rooms are also available to help with their selection. Hilton's digital lobby function is updated in real-time, so guests no longer have to wait until they are physically in the hotel lobby to be assigned a room.
After choosing a room, guests can further customise their stay at full-service hotels by purchasing upgrades and requesting specific amenities to be delivered to their room before arrival.
The company will begin to equip its hotel rooms with the technology for doors to be unlocked with guests' smartphones, enabling them to go straight to their rooms upon arrival.
For now, once they arrive on property, guests simply pick up their room key from the front desk, a streamlined process since the guest's payment information and other details are already verified through their Hilton HHonors account prior to arrival.
Guests can bypass the front desk upon departure as their bill will be automatically sent to their email address.