Hilton Hotels is announcing this week plans to roll out new technology to enable guests to check into its 4,200 properties without a key. Already, Hilton guests can check in and check out on an iPad in hotel lobbies. By the end of next year, they will be able to open their rooms with a smartphone. Enabling all rooms with smartphone reading technology is expected to cost up to $550 million, but would be a worthwhile investment as 64% of travelers want to use their mobile phone as a room key.

 

Other brands have made strides in keyless rooms, but none are so widespread. Nineteen percent of brand booking apps in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Prestige Hotels are piloting mobile check-in. Starwood Hotels has enabled keyless check-in in its Aloft properties. Marriott Rewards members can check in via the smartphone app and pick up their keys at expedited mobile check-in desks at 500 properties. Accor guests who are part of a loyalty program or have booked directly through the brand can check in online, on the mobile site, or the mobile app and receive a text message confirming their key is ready.

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Offering mobile checkout seems a natural extension of current mobile app offerings, since 95% of Index brands offer an app and customers already use them for services such as reserving in-hotel and nearby activities. (As an example, 25% of Marriott Hotel guests use mobile services during their stay.) Guests have so far responded to mobile check-in with enthusiasm. During Accor’s pilot program, 40% of guests opted to check-in via their mobile phones, and Marriott’s program led to 240,000 mobile check-ins in a single day. The response is expected in upcoming years as to be even greater as younger consumers make a larger portion of hotel guests.

 

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