Excerpt from Tnooz
Imagine walking into a hotel room where your favourite TV shows, air-temperature and other preferences are already in place.
Well, according to Hilton, which is beta-testing a smart room where "the room knows you and you know your room" this futuristic-sounding experience could be available in its hotels by next year, along with advancements in in-room entertainment.
But this is just a glimpse of how digital, mobile, analytics and IoT technology is being used in the hospitality sector.
Hilton is among the vanguard of international hotel giants looking for increasingly creative ways to use technology in their bid to engage ever-demanding digitally-connected customers who seek to interact using apps, smartphones and tablets before, during and after their stay.
In a briefing to Tnooz, chief marketing officer Geraldine Calpin says that in the past two years Hilton's extensive research into trends within hospitality and the broader consumer space has identified several opportunities.
For instance voice-activation (which has already been introduced at competitor Marriott's Aloft brand) could be used in the smart rooms or in other ways.
"We know voice activation is increasingly popular for consumers, and we are reviewing whether this technology can work well for our guests and hotel teams.
"We focus on the customer when planning innovations; based on what customers want today, what might they want next year and how we can be ahead of the industry in delivering that to them."
One of Hilton's success stories has been the introduction of a mobile app with Digital Key technology, which is being used across its North American portfolio and will be rolled out to about 100 UK properties by the end of the year, representing the largest implementation for the 5,000-hotel strong company outside the US.
The app allows guests to choose their room, check-in, pre-order snacks and pillows and unlock their door, gain access the fitness centre and so on without having to queue at reception.
"We know our customers operate in a digital world and we are obsessive about embracing technology that helps remove the friction points from our guests' travel experiences.
"We've built a world of experiences at your fingertips with our app – you can check-in, choose a room, set personal preferences and unlock your door using Digital Key."
The rate of Digital Key hotel installations has tripled since 2016 and Hilton predicts it will exceed its goal of 2,500 hotels across the 14 brands worldwide by the end of 2017.
Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.