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On Thursday, Hilton shared the details of what could potentially be a game changer for the hotel industry. Its “Connected Room” will allow guests to control multiple aspects of their room from their smartphone.
Travelers will be able to make adjustments to their room’s temperature, lighting, TV, window blinds and more with just a tap on their smartphone through the Hilton Honors app.
The chain is the first to announce a room that’s connected to the Internet of Things. Honors members can even pre-load their preferred room settings so when they check in at a hotel, everything is automatically set to their liking.
The smart room is still in beta testing and only operational at one hotel in Memphis, but the chain plans on rolling out the concept worldwide and will “began to scale rapidly to hotels across the United States in 2018” — although it could be years before we see this new tech in a majority of its properties. Hilton introduced the digital key in 2014, but less than two-thirds of its hotels have installed the technology as of today. Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta said he hopes that within three years all Hilton properties will have at least some sort of connected devices.
Hilton’s innovation isn’t exactly groundbreaking, as digitally connected devices have been around for years. But, it will be interesting to see how this changes the guest experience. The company hopes to create a more seamless travel experience that will follow travelers from hotel to hotel in its 5,100+ properties.
Instead of having to log in to each of your streaming accounts on a hotel’s smart TV (if it even has one), you can connect all your favorite entertainment apps such as Netflix, Hulu and Spotify in the Honors app, which will allow you to pick up where you left off in the most recent episode of Stranger Things, or whatever you happen to be watching. You can even save your favorite TV channels in the app — say goodbye to clicking aimlessly through the hundreds of channels until you find your favorite program.
The app will also allow guests to connect photo albums of their friends, family, dogs or whatever they please, which can be displayed on the room’s TV or in the “digital art frames” that will adorn the walls. “What do we want? The comforts of home,” Nassetta said describing why the chain decided to include these features.
Here’s a video from Hilton showing how the app will work:
“This is not like the Jetsons, it’s here,” Nassetta told reporters at the Hilton Innovation Hub in Tysons Corner, Virginia. He added that there will be eight to 15 fixtures in each room that are controllable by the app.
The hotel giant developed a box that will live in each room that links to each digitally-connected appliance. This will allow Hilton to push updates to the platform that will allow for new features, content and items to be connected and accessed in the room. Right now, voice control isn’t supported but theoretically it’s something that could easily be added in future updates.
The connected room is also a positive development on the business side, as it will allow hotel owners to more efficiently manage their operations. For example, they’ll be able to see whether guests are in their room or not, and it’ll notify managers when there’s an HVAC issue or even if a an door’s electronic lock battery is low so they can replace the battery before it becomes a problem.
Although this may seem like a massive influx of new technology, Hilton’s not planning on getting rid of the light switch — its goal is to give travelers as many options as possible for how they interact with their room. Although, it did reinvent the design of the remote control for the television to make for an easier browsing experience.
Other hotel chains such as Marriott have been working on smart-room technology, but have largely been quiet as to when the new tech will be available on a wider scale. Hilton Honors came in fourth place in TPG‘s recent study of the world’s best hotel loyalty programs and the company announced last month three new AMEX credit cards that will debut in January, including a premium card with a $450 annual fee.
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