I snagged a First Class upgrade on my AA flight yesterday (still 100% with only AAdvantage Gold this year) and happened to be seated next to a senior Hilton executive. According to the gentleman (and of course no guarantees that this information is accurate), he stated that the first Hilton property that will be testing technology allowing you to use your smartphone as your hotel room key will be the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. The test is scheduled for January 2015, but may start as early as December of this year.
Here’s the full Hilton press release on their upcoming technological advancements:
Simple and Streamlined Process
Once a room is booked, the process for guests to manage their stay is simple:
- Room selection: 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.
- Special requests: After choosing a room, guests can further customize their stay at full-service hotels by purchasing upgrades and requesting specific amenities to be delivered to their room before arrival.
- Room key: Next year, 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.
- Check-out: Guests can bypass the front desk upon departure as their bill will be automatically sent to their email address.
The Future of Room Keys at Hilton
As part of its digital strategy, Hilton has made a commitment to enable all of its hotel rooms worldwide with technology that will allow guests to use their smartphones as keys.
“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. 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.”
Rapid Roll Out Across Hilton Properties Globally
Hilton is rolling out these digital enhancements globally over the next several months:
- By the end of this summer, Hilton HHonors members can 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 U.S. this fall.
- 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.
In 2015, Hilton will introduce technology that enables smartphones to be used as room keys, and all U.S. hotels across four of its brands will have this capability by the end of that year. By the end of 2016, the majority of its rooms system-wide will be equipped with this functionality.