This summer, Hilton announced the rollout of mobile check-in for its 4,200 hotels around the world. While Marriott, Accor, and Starwood have similar platforms in place, Hilton has taken it a step further. “By the end of this year, as guests check into our hotels on their computers or mobile devices, they’ll be able to use a digital map of the hotel to choose their room,” says Jim Holthouser, Hilton’s EVP of global brands. Access through the Hilton website or mobile app is tied to a guest’s Hilton loyalty account, and the floor plans are connected to Hilton’s real-time inventory lists.
This is all leading up to Hilton’s launch of straight-to-room, a keyless room entry system for mobile devices, by the end of next year. “The idea of straight-to-room is to allow guests who know what room they’re checked into to step out of their rental cars or courtesy vans, go directly to that room, and then use their phones to open the door,” he says, adding that the company will start by putting this system in every Conrad, Waldorf Astoria, Hilton, and Canopy in the United States and plans to have the platform deployed in these brands worldwide by the end of 2016. “We chose them because they have a smaller footprint, which makes it easier for us to run tests.”
Starwood is in the process of implementing its own mobile device entry system in its Element, Aloft, and W properties. “Eventually the other hotel brands will be doing this, but having the single PMS platform enables us to move very fast,” Holthouser says. “Our rollout is tied to the supplier’s ability to change out key locks and in some cases install the chip that has to go into the lock.”
The issue is the change management at the hotel level, since there now will be two ways for people to get to their rooms. Some guests will still go to the front desk to check in, while others will opt to do it themselves.