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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : July 30, 2014

Hilton gives guests greater control with significant app upgrade

Mobile apps are changing the way people book travel and accommodation, and perhaps nowhere more than within the hotel industry. Hilton Worldwide is the most recent hotel chain to give technology users more control over their overall experience by allowing guests to choose their room, customize their stay and use a mobile device as a room key.

by Helen Leggatt

By the end of this year, more than 4,000 Hilton Worldwide properties across 80+ countries will enable Hilton HHonors account holders to select the exact room they want and check-in via mobile, tablet or desktop.

"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, senior vice president and global head of digital at Hilton Worldwide.

The data collected revealed that most members (84%) wanted the ability to choose their own room - and not just the type of room but its location within the hotel and even by room number. Guests can access room-booking after 6 a.m. on the day before their stay and choose their preferred room from floor plans or room lists.

While guests will still need to go to reception to collect their room keys, Hilton is moving towards a keyless environment in which guests can unlock doors with their smartphone. Some businesses, such as HotelTonight, have already incorporated NFC-enabled keyless room entry in hotel booking apps and Hilton plans to have this technology in place in all their U.S. hotels by the end of 2015.

"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," said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and chief executive officer, Hilton Worldwide. "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."

Tags: customer experience, hotel, mobile, technology, travel

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