Consumers are so used to the Internet of Things when they’re home that they’re now demanding those exact same experiences while they’re away. At least that’s the sentiment coming from Hilton’s CEO Christopher J. Nassetta.
Hilton is the second largest hotel chain in the world with around 825,000 rooms in 103 countries, yet its market share has shrunk significantly in the last year. To combat that shrinking share, Hilton is planning to add smart technology to some of its hotel rooms.
Christopher revealed the concept at the Skift Global Forum, a global travel industry event, with the CEO noting that the company is hoping to make the lives of travellers easier than ever using new technology. Guests will have the temperature automatically adjusted to their liking, have their favourite shows beamed to the TV without having to ask, and have their beverage of choice chilled in the refrigerator when they arrive.
“Imagine a world where the room knows you and you know your room,” Christopher notes. While it sounds like a futuristic society, it’s likely that Hilton will simply ask for this information prior to check-in, and then save those preferences alongside the guest’s booking to ensure that it’s all in place when they arrive.
The Smart Hotel Room Revolution
What’s interesting about the hotel chain’s approach is that it could quite easily be linked with a customer’s Hilton’s Honors program. That means a guest can assign all their preferences with their rewards account so that whenever they enter a Hilton hotel, everything is automatically set to their preference, without any further information needing to be divulged each time.
It’s a huge undertaking for Hilton, as it will need to communicate a customer’s preference with the disparate technologies available in a hotel suite. That means telling the TV which show to play, and the thermostat what temperature it needs to be set to. Christopher believes the hotel chain is up to the challenge, however, he expects the first smart hotel rooms to begin rolling out in the next year or so.
This is not the first-time Hilton has embraced technology to enhance the guest’s experience. The brand already offers keyless entry to all of its Hilton Honors customers, with a guest’s smartphone being used as the key. It’s also not the only brand, brands such as Best Western and the Wynn in Las Vegas have been trialling the Amazon Echo in some of its properties, while Marriott is also considering using the smart assistant.