Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

August 01 2014

Big Hotel Chain Makes Big Change To Check-In Process

By David McMillin

Tired of having someone else select your hotel room for you? If you’re a member of Hilton’s HHonors program, you’ll be able to choose your location before arriving thanks to new mobile technology. By the end of 2014, the Virginia-based chain plans to simplify and streamline the check-in process for smartphone users. On the day before arrival, Hilton HHonors members will be able to select a room through floor plans or lists of the property’s available inventory starting at 6 a.m. The process will include photos of rooms, too, and travelers will be able to submit special requests and pay for room upgrades.

There are more changes on the way for Hilton guests. The chain seems to be gearing up to completely part ways with old-school keys, too. Beginning in 2015, Hilton will equip hotel rooms with technology that allows doors to be unlocked with smartphones. Rather than speaking with a receptionist and holding on to a room key, guests can count on their mobile devices for room access.

“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,” Christopher J. Nassetta, President and CEO, Hilton Worldwide, said. “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.”

SEE ALSO: The Future Of Wi-Fi Costs At Upscale Hotels

According to findings from Hilton’s recent research, plenty of guests will celebrate the change. Two out of three guests indicated that they wish they could choose their rooms. Others indicated that they are often frustrated with waiting for their rooms to be ready.

SEE ALSO: 5 Key Challenges Facing Hoteliers

Is Your Meeting Ready For Today’s Tech-Savvy Attendee?

The Hilton move marks the first time that guests will be able to hand-pick their temporary homes for the night, but plenty of other hotels are integrating new technologies at their properties. My colleague, Claire Harrington, CMP, Public Relations Manager at Social Tables, recently highlighted the hotel tech revolution, and it’s clear that all major brands share one common belief: mobile means everything.

While corporate hotel chains certainly have bigger budgets to test new technologies than most organizations can devote to their conferences, meeting professionals must recognize that their attendees are growing accustomed to a world where their smartphone isn’t just a key to a room; it’s a key to everything. It’s the alarm clock in the morning. It’s the camera that snaps photos of expense receipts. It’s the weather report, the record player and news channel that’s always right by their sides. If it performs all of those functions, your attendees expect it to guide them to sessions, introduce them to like-minded colleagues and enhance their on-site experiences.

Are you struggling to outline an effective mobile strategy for your meeting? Click here for a free webinar to help you keep up with this rapidly changing technology.

Hilton Worldwide - Digital Lobby Infographic</infographic:>

Please log in to post comments.