Hilton’s new Connected Room to debut across USA in early 2018

14 December, 2017

Hilton has confirmed its new 'Connected Room' a high-tech guest room that enables guests to personalise and control every aspect of their stay from one central point - their mobile device, will debut at properties across the United States of America (USA) from next year. Currently in beta testing, the 'Connected Room' is live in one hotel and will start to be deployed in coming weeks in several more.

Guests who stay at Connected Room-enabled properties will soon be able to use the Hilton Honors app to manage most things they would traditionally do manually in a room, from controlling the temperature and lighting to the TV and window coverings. Guests will also be able to personalise their room with technology that loads the most popular streaming media and other accounts to in-room TVs.

Members are already using the app to check-in, select their room, and open their hotel room's door with Digital Key and usage of smartphone technology among guests is at a high with 34 million digital check-ins, four million room key downloads and more than 18.7 million doors opened, according to latest data. In Oct-2017, a door was reportedly unlocked with Digital Key every 1.5 seconds.

With Connected Room's introduction, Hilton is taking this to another level with industry's first truly mobile-centric hotel room. In the longer-term, Connected Room will support a range of connected devices, engagements and experiences. Guests will able to use voice commands to control their room or access their content, and to upload their own artwork and photos to automatically display in their room. Guests will also be able to set various preferences in their Hilton Honors account profile to further customise their in-room experience to their individual preferences.

Hilton says Connected Room is rooted in the "unique needs of guests, who have voiced an increasing desire to personalise their stays". The beta version of Connected Room doesn't quite have the full functionality and uses a physical remote control to manage the experience, with the goal of supplementing it and all traditional remote controls with the Hilton Honors app before formal deployment at hotels across the portfolio. It says it is working with popular streaming media providers to enable guests to seamlessly access their favourite programmes in the Connected Room environment.

A key issue is not to overcomplicate the experience as guests spend a limited amount of time in their hotel rooms. "We want them to spend that time enjoying the experience instead of adapting to new technology," acknowledges Joshua Sloser, senior vice president of digital product at Hilton, highlighting that such technology "has to be intuitive, simple and quick to pick up".

It is clear that Connected Room will make it easier for hotels across the Hilton portfolio to keep pace with the rapid change in technology. Instead of relying on new hardware to update hotel rooms, the provider can more efficiently push software updates through the platform to create new experiences and offer new features.

Innovation has been in Hilton's DNA since entrepreneur Conrad Hilton purchased the first Hilton property and pioneered the hospitality industry nearly 100 years ago. After the first airport hotel, the first central reservations system, the first hotels to provide air-conditioned comfort and televisions in every room, and even the invention of the piña colada, it believes using technology to customise experiences for individual travellers will set a "new standard for the industry by giving our guests a travel experience where the room knows them, and they know their room".