Hilton, Uber Make It Easier for Guests to Navigate, Explore New Destinations

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Hilton, Uber Make It Easier for Guests to Navigate, Explore New Destinations

By By: Rich DiStefano, senior director of Mobile Products, Hilton Worldwide - 09/01/2016
Today’s consumers are clamoring for a more personalized experience. They want what they want, when and where they want it. They also love the personalization and uniqueness the sharing economy often offers. At Hilton, we believe a big opportunity exists in working with partners to take friction out of the entire travel process. By leveraging technology, we can join forces with other companies to enhance the traveler’s experience in a meaningful way.

And travelers are increasingly turning to their smartphones to manage many aspects of their journey, relying on 24/7 access to apps, websites and social channels while on-the-go. They’re empowered by brands who engage with them directly and give them the ability to personalize their experience. Collaborative businesses often times make their lives easier.

Thus, we’ve designed our digital tools — including the ones we’ve brought to life alongside our partners – to cater to our guests’ experience before, during and after their trip — all via the smartphone in the palm of their hand. We think of our tools as a way to bridge the physical and digital worlds in a way that’s personable, meaningful and not distracting to the traveler’s experience.

With this in mind, Hilton partnered with Uber in September 2015. Our partnership with Uber breaks down industry silos and equips our guests with two digital tools — Ride Reminder and Local Scene — as well as the ability to order an Uber straight from the HHonors app and to view hotel stay information from the Uber app. Our guests are reliant on their smartphones as their top travel tool, and through our partnership, we’re making it easier for our guests to navigate and explore unfamiliar cities.

Our partnership with Uber was based on both quantitative and qualitative research on travelers’ changing preferences. Overall, we saw travelers were looking for more on-demand, personalized experiences. Partnering with Uber would help us better serve our guests throughout their travel journey.

For example, we developed Local Scene with Uber, and it was the first time a company utilized Hilton’s rider data to personalize the HHonors app.  With Local Scene, we knew that the digitally-savvy food-minded traveler would often spend hours researching the best foodie locations in their destination to ensure they hit all the top spots. Local Scene, which lists top restaurant and nightlife locations based on their frequency with Uber riders, takes some of the friction out of the planning process — giving travelers the local scoop and time back to explore their destinations.

Additionally, when a traveler’s reservation reminder time approaches, the Uber app pre-sets the hotel as the recommended destination. The guest can tap the “view stay details” option in the Uber app, which then — via the HHonors integration — guides guests to the HHonors app to check-in, choose their room and request a Digital Key, all while on their way to the hotel. Guests can also order Uber rides from a button on the homepage of the Hilton HHonors app, giving them quick in-app access. 

We want our Hilton HHonors guests and Uber’s riders to have a streamlined in-app experience, where they don’t have to go searching for the quick information they need. To do so, we had to ensure the integration of our apps created a user experience that was simple, intuitive and highly visual. Our teams worked together to ensure our respective systems integrated seamlessly, ensuring the end-user experience was as simple as possible.

This integration was planned and executed by Hilton and Uber’s internal teams. Our respective development teams mapped out the user experience and integrated the back-end functionality of our systems. Like all of our new features, we performed a number of tests to ensure the integration worked properly on various mobile operating systems and devices. We noticed that when you have two tech forward-thinking companies who are focused on the customer journey, there are less challenges when paving new ground together because we both have the same end goal.

The benefits are truly for our guests. We’ve made it easier for them to get to their destinations faster and with the information they need most right in the palm of their hand. Through the partnership, we continue to enhance the power of our Hilton HHonors app, making it the “remote control” to the travel experience.