Hilton to Replace Hotel Room Keys with Smartphones
Hilton Worldwide plans to allow guests to check-in and choose their rooms using mobile devices, and even to unlock their hotel rooms.
By the end of the year, Hilton says it will offer digital check-in and room selection at 11 of its brands, across more 4,000 properties. The service will be available to Hilton HHonors members in more than 80 countries, the company 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," said Geraldine Calpin, SVP and global head of digital at Hilton Worldwide, in a statement.
Hilton began piloting an early version of its digital check-in application five years ago and released the first version of its hospitality software, Conrad Concierge, in 2012. Its study was conducted July 7-11 this year, making the findings a convenient affirmation of a longstanding commitment to hospitality-oriented technology.
Starting next year, that commitment includes enabling guests to use their smartphones as room keys. Hilton plans to introduce the technology to lock and unlock hotel rooms via smartphone in 2015 and to make the technology available at US hotels across four of its brands by the end of next year. By the end of 2016, the company expects the majority of its rooms worldwide will accept smartphones as keys.
Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton Worldwide, said that since travelers are using smartphones as boarding passes, it follows that they will want to use their mobile devices as keys.
"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," he said in a statement.
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