Hilton Hotels are a well-known name in the hospitality industry. The hotel group has been taking care of its guests since the foundation of the hotel in 1919. Since then, the hotel group has been known for its innovative approach to products, amenities, and services. Over the years, the hotel group has remained this spirit of innovation and continues to be a well-known name in the industry. The latest innovation presented at the hotel is the use of beacon technology.
Using Beacon Technology as a Digital Key
The hotel is currently rolling out the beacons in their hotels in the UK to enable the use of digital keys. The company is linking the beacon technology with their Hilton Honors app, which is the Hilton’s loyalty program. By combining the use of the app and beacons, guests will be able to unlock their rooms and other relevant areas with the use of their mobile device.
The use of the Hilton Honors app as a digital key has added another great function to the app. Guests were already able to book and choose their rooms and order (food, extra pillows, snacks,etc.). Now with the new feature, guests are also able to unlock their rooms. Therefore, the guests can make use of their mobile device for everything they need during their stay at the Hilton Hotel. With the introduction of this extra feature, guests can do everything by accessing the mobile device in their pocket.
Functioning of the Digital Key
The technology that enables the guest to use its mobile device as a digital key is activated the day before the arrival of the guest. Furthermore, guests that make their booking with the use of the Hilton Honors app can choose to opt to make use of the digital key during their stay. Once the guests arrive at the hotel, they will receive a notification via the app when their room is ready. This technology and option are already being used in the USA. The gel lobby guest’s ¨token¨ is activated as they pass through the hotel’s lobby and pass the front desk. In the UK, the company is implementing the use of this technology to implement the ¨Straight to Room¨ approach.
According to Geraldine Calpin, Chief Marketing Office, Hilton:
“At the moment the guest registration process requires us to see the passport of non-UK guests, but we are going to build the technology into the app this year so that all Hilton Honors members with the app can completely by-pass the check-in desk.”
With the introduction of this feature, guests can press the ¨virtual¨ unlock button on the app to unlock the door of their room. Guests can also opt to have both digital and physical keys during their stay. This can be especially handy in case that guest’s mobile device is running out of battery.
Installing Beacons at the Hilton Hotels in the UK
The company is currently implementing the use of beacon technology around the world. The hotel has already completed the installation of beacon technology in 10 hotels (1,700 worldwide). In the UK, the hotel chain plans to complete 100 hotels by the end of 2017. Furthermore, all the 140 properties in the UK should be completed by mid-2018. The investment done by the hotel chain involves retrofitting beacon technology to hotel doors. Moreover, they also aim to have enabled guests to turn on lights and air conditioning and to unlock the door for room service. These features enable the guest to have a better experience and continue what they were previously doing. Besides this features, the mobile app also includes a flexible payment slider that will allow members to choose combinations of points and money to book a stay.
The Hilton hotel management is not installing beacons to track guests around the hotel. The hotel is only aiming to make use of this technology to activate the key as the guest approaches the room. Furthermore, the hotel chain is also confident that this new system is secure. They have added an extra security layer to the app in case that the phone is stolen or lost. To unlock the room with the use of the app the guest needs to either use finger identification or a PIN number. This gives the guest an extra sense of security. Even if the mobile device is unlocked, the other person won’t be able to unlock the guest’s room without that extra barrier of security.
The use of beacon technology at the Hilton hotel provides a preview in the concepts to be used by hotels in the future. The hotel chain is moving along in the new trends and providing the best solutions for their guests. This is especially important in an era that mobile devices are becoming more important for guests. Furthermore, the introduction of this extra feature also plays a key role in the experience to be provided to the hotel’s guests. This as the guest will be able to feel more at home in the hotel as they can go directly to their room instead of having to go through an extended check-in process.