Smartphones, the Swiss Army Knife of your electronics world. You can use them as a phone, camera, computer, home office, music player and now, a room key?
Oh yea, that’s right, Smartphones could be replacing your hotel room key in the future… well if you happen to be staying at a Hilton that is.
The luxury hotel chain is set to introduce smartphone-activated room keys, in a swathe of tech upgrades designed to ease the customer journey.
As a guest of Hilton, you’ll be able to access a unique key code via the Hilton HHonors app for iOS and Android. The code or electronic key then unlocks your room door, using a yet to be confirmed series of secure combinations.
Specifics as to how the smart keys will actually work are little vague. Hilton are playing their hands rather close to their chest.
The Hilton tech upgrade is not the first of its kind. In similar projects tested by the Starwood hotel chain, guests have been able to use mobile check-in for over a year using these unique codes. Hilton’s rival Marriot have also been working with keyless technologies, testing ideas such as NFC for ‘touch locks’ as well as tailored apps, which allows for remote operated commands via local Wi-Fi as well as in-room controls to order room service or even set the air conditioning.
The smartphone-enabled locks allow clients to completely avoid timely human interaction at reception. By removing the ‘hassle’ of front desk check-in, as with e-boarding passes for aeroplanes, guest waiting time is cut to a minimum. There is also less demand on reception staff for simple check-ins as well as cutting card/key printing.
Hiltons’ planned multimillion-dollar tech development also includes a system where guests can allocate their own rooms on a mobile booking system.
Hilton says it plans to have its new high-tech plans implemented to over 4,000 Hilton Worldwide properties by 2016.