Hilton, a self-proclaimed hotel innovator, announced that its properties would soon begin to rollout a new room for guests within the United States. Dubbed the "Connected Room," the hotel aims to offer those staying at its properties a high-tech experience that allows guests to personalize and control every aspect of their stay from their own mobile device.
According to the hotel, guests will be able to use the Hilton Honors app to manage most things they would traditionally need to do manually, such as controlling the temperature, turning the lights on or off, pulling the drapes open or closed, or turning the television on or off. Guests will even be able to personalize their room by using a technology to load the most popular streaming media and other accounts to the in-room television.
In the future, Hilton expects to offer guests the ability to use voice commands to control the room or access content, to upload artwork/photos for display within the room, and to set preferences within the operator's mobile app so that the room is already set to the way they like it when the check-in.
"Innovation has been in Hilton's DNA since entrepreneur Conrad Hilton purchased the first Hilton property and pioneered the hospitality industry nearly 100 years ago," said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton. "Many innovations later, we are once again setting a new standard for the industry by giving our guests a travel experience where the room knows them, and they know their room."
Hilton expects this transition to be relatively seamless as many guests are already using its mobile app to check-in, select rooms, and open the hotel room with a digital key. So far, it has recorded 34 million digital check-ins, four million room key downloads and more than 18.7 million doors opened. In the month of October 2017, a door was unlocked with digital key every 1.5 seconds.
Hilton, however, is not the only hotel chain to announce recent tech advancements for a more connected guestroom. Marriott also introduced an IoT room giving guests access to voice command technology, the ability to follow along to a yoga routine on their in-room mirror, and even an IoT shower door where guests can capture morning inspirations scribbled in the steam and send those thoughts to themselves via e-mail.
"The technology supporting Hilton’s Connected Room appears to be designed to support and integrate a number of connected devices now and in the immediate future," Professor Karthik Namasivayam, department chair of Rochester Institute of Technology's hospitality and tourism management program sates. "In that sense, this is an advance on current experiments in in-room technologies in many hotel companies. Most hotels use in-room tablets to manage lighting and similar systems. The move to mobile by Hilton empowers customers to personalize their stay and to carry it with them to every Hilton property. Once a guest sets his/her preferred room parameters, the profile is applicable to their stays at all Connected Room properties."
Hilton said that the Connected Room was conceived in response to guest requests for a more personalized stay. This comes as no surprise to Professor Namasivayam.
"Customization in the age of technology is a given, and customers will demand and enjoy it when provided," he notes.
This is especially true for hotel and other service-based companies that employ technology to better the customer service experience. However, he cautions that customers might be reluctant to provide or key-in data required for personalization, especially if it is to a service provider they may only use infrequently.
Hilton may have already thought of this hesitation, which would explain why it incorporated this technology into its Hilton Honors loyalty mobile app. Those guests that keep the mobile app on their phone are more likely to be frequent users of the company and thus would be more willing to participate in and provide the information required for a customized experience.