The Inside Story of Hilton’s New High-Tech Hotel Rooms – And What It Will Mean For Travelers
Imagine being able to set your favorite TV channels, optimal room temperature and turn the lights off from the comfort of your hotel room bed, all on your own mobile device. It’s not a pipe dream: Welcome to Hilton’s Connected Room.
Through the award-winning Hilton Honors app, guests can use their mobile device as the in-room remote to control their television programming, lighting, and temperature controls –personalizing their preferences just as they do at home.
Josh Weiss, Vice President of Brand and Guest Technology at Hilton, explains how and why Connected Room came to life and where it's going next:
Q: What inspired the Connected Room concept?
Global travel is growing, and travelers increasingly expect an experience as good as, and ideally better than, what they are accustomed to at home. Hospitality companies have an exciting challenge to find new ways to offer guests the control, connectivity and personalization they increasingly want when they're on the road. Hilton has answered the call with our Connected Room platform, which is rooted in the unique needs of each guest. Guests in a Connected Room can:
- Click on "favorites" – and their preferred viewing channels and streaming apps will appear first in the Hilton Honors app.
- Set their preferred temperature, so when they return to their room they’re not too cold or hot.
- Access their favorite streaming media brands from their in-room TV to continue watching the show or movie they were streaming before their trip, for example. Through our industry-first relationship with SHOWTIME, guests don’t need any credentials to stream hundreds of hours of shows and movies.
Q: Who came up with the Connected Room concept?
Connected Room was created by Hilton’s IT and Digital team to address a wide range of opportunities. These include delivering an outstanding guest experience, providing operational efficiencies to hotel owners and operators, and enabling better troubleshooting and support, including pushing software updates through the platform to create new experiences and offer new features.
Q: Where can I find a property with Connected Room technology?
We have deployed the technology in nearly 500 rooms to date across four hotels near Memphis, and we will soon expand to thousands of additional rooms across five more brands, in multiple locations.
While some of the features are immediately available, we’re taking a dynamic approach to identify, create, and deliver many others in the future, based on what’s most important to our guests. The platform was designed to evolve throughout its rollout and will ultimately scale to Hilton's global operation across more than 100 countries and 14 current brands.
Q: Hilton recently announced that it will cut its environmental footprint in half and double its social impact investment by 2030 through its Travel with Purpose corporate responsibility strategy. Does Connected Room have an environmental benefit?
Absolutely. For example, when guests aren’t physically in their booked rooms – typically around 70% of the time – hotels can power down devices such as the television, HVAC, and lights, dramatically reducing energy consumption.
We apply AI and machine learning to optimize energy efficiency and guest comfort; we do not view these as a tradeoff. We believe that through Connected Room, we can open up new, advanced ways of tracking and reducing energy consumption around the world, and continue to be a leader in sustainability.
Q: Do I need the Hilton Honors app to access Connected Room functions and features?
The Hilton Honors app is the only way to access Connected Room controls and other technology conveniences from your mobile device. For example, Hilton Honors members are already able to use the app to check in digitally before arrival, select their room from a digital map, and open their hotel room’s door with their mobile phone thanks to the app’s Digital Key function. In addition, Hilton Honors members can also enjoy instant benefits, including an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, and free standard Wi-Fi.
However, the app isn’t mandatory to enjoy Connected Room TV features – Hilton will continue to enhance the television remote and TV user experience and build room controls into the TV so all guests can access all features of Connected Room.
Q: How does Connected Room technology influence future innovations?
Hilton began beta testing Connected Room in 2017 and it will evolve throughout its rollout. Because it is a platform, much like with an Apple or Android mobile device, we can push new features, apps, and functionality to existing devices over time without the need to deploy additional hardware. For guests, this means that in the longer term they'll be able to do things such as upload their photos and art to display digitally in the room, or connect to new devices. They’ll also be able to enjoy new features much faster than we could roll out these capabilities today. They may also be able to use voice commands to control their room’s features or to access their content.
There's a benefit to Hilton franchise owners too, who sometimes face challenges implementing new technology due to high costs and operational challenges. Connected Room will make it easier for them to keep pace with the rapid change in technology and easily integrate new innovations seamlessly into the guest experience.
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 15 world-class brands comprising more than 5,500 properties with nearly 895,000 rooms, in 109 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company, Hilton earned a spot on the 2018 world’s best workplaces list, and has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its nearly 100 year history. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program, Hilton Honors, nearly 82 million members who book directly with Hilton have access to instant benefits, including digital check-in with room selection, Digital Key, and Connected Room. Visit newsroom.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.Download Article Photos