Hilton to Allow Guests to Check-In & Choose Rooms via Mobile Devices

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Hilton has announced that guests will soon be able to use their mobile device to check-in, choose rooms from digital floorplans, purchase room upgrades, and make special requests.

By the end of this summer, guests can check in and choose rooms via Apple and Android HHonors apps at the following properties – Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites.

In the fall, DoubleTree by Hilton and Embassy Suites within the US will be added to the list of mobile check-in enabled properties. By the end of 2014, more than 4,000 Hilton Worldwide properties will be included.

According to one of Hilton’s studies, guests experience frustration when waiting for the room to be ready, followed by a dislike of room location, with dislike of in-room features after that. So they are hoping to ease that frustration by way of giving guests more control with the new features. In 2012 Hilton rolled out something called Conrad Concierge, where guests could use tablets or phones to customize their hotel stay. Their tests must have had enough positive feedback to roll this out to all hotels in the Hilton  portfolio.

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Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton Worldwide made the statement that “for nearly a century, our guests have counted on us to consistently deliver exceptional experiences around the world, and in today’s digitally connected culture, that means providing them with more choice and control over their hotel stay through technology.”

How will it work?

At 6 a.m. local hotel time the day before a booked stay, Hilton HHonors members will be able to log in on their mobile device (or computer) to check-in and choose a specific room using room photos and floor plan maps populated from the hotel’s available inventory. After choosing the room, guests can purchase upgrades and make special requests.

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In addition, starting in 2015 hotel room doors will be outfitted with technology to allow guests to unlock room doors using their smartphones. With credit card details already on file from the initial booking, they can bypass reception and go straight to their room.

Guests can also bypass the front desk at departure as the bill will automatically be sent to their email address, and digital check-out is anticipated to be available at all Hilton properties worldwide by the end of 2016.

I’m excited about all the possibilities and technology, but also have some questions and concerns.

I’m curious how beneficial this new system will be for elites. If I am traveling all day and don’t use the mobile app to select my room, will there be any rooms held back by the hotel according to the preferences in my profile ie. corner room, high floor, etc., and if I do use the mobile check-in will I be able to choose my amenity at the same time?

I strongly dislike when programs of any kind (some airlines come to mind) have a check in window that ends up creating a rush where everyone madly tries to log in and select something at the same time. Rooms will be shown according to “available inventory” so it’ll be interesting to see if all rooms available for next day check-in will automatically show as available immediately at 6am.

If a guest selects a room and changes their mind later, can they simply go back in to the app and re-select?

I also wonder how housekeeping will factor in to this. If guest A is scheduled to check-out the next day, if the room shows up as available and future guest B selects it, what happens to guest B if guest A ends up doing a late check-out or extends their stay? Do they have to select at the last minute from undesirable rooms?

Generally I am not a fan of digital check-out so I don’t think I’ll use this option. Sometimes the final bill is wrong, and I want the ability to fix it while at the check-out desk rather than after I’ve left the property.

I’ll certainly give the new features a try the next time I stay at a Hilton where it is available, and report back on my experience. If you’ve already tried it, leave me a comment to let me know how you liked it!

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