Hilton, Foursquare partner for in-app advice from locals

Foursquare’s technology allows users to see details like each location’s hours of operations and some of the most popular dishes at eateries. Photo credit: Hilton (Hilton Foursquare)

As hotel guests yearn for more local "flavor" when traveling, travelers staying at at Hilton properties will now have a new way to get those personalized recommendations during their stays. Hilton is partnering with Foursquare to offer guests a new location-based feature called "Explore" in the Hilton Honors app. The feature will provide travelers with recommendations from local experts on the best activities and spots to discover near their hotel.

Travelers in 28 markets covering nearly 1,000 global properties among all Hilton brands, including in U.S. cities like New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Nashville and Los Angeles and global stops like London and Rome, are able to use the Hilton Honors app to receive recommendations on everything from the top restaurants to the most popular activities and destinations to see during their stay. The company plans to expand to additional markets in the future.

The more personalized recommendations from hotel employees helps to supplement information that hotel guests may seek from the front desk, while adding Foursquare's navigation capability and real-time data about nearby venues, reports Mobile Marketer. Foursquare claims that the more than 50 million people who have used its apps have provided more than 95 million tips about places to visit. Hilton is among the traditional hospitality brands that seek new ways to improve their services to compete with startups like Airbnb that let people rent out their homes or spare bedrooms to travelers seeking lower-cost or "more authentic" lodging, according to Mobile Marketer, and the personalized recommendations from Hilton employees may help to deepen that sense of authenticity.

Photo credit: Hilton

“In listening to our guests, there is a real desire for more personalized travel advice and access to local perspectives surrounding the best restaurants, attractions and neighborhoods to explore,” Hilton SVP of digital Joshua Sloser said in a statement. “No one knows their city better than local team members, which is why we’re empowering them, through Hilton Explore, to provide the latest local recommendations to enhance our guests’ experiences.”

Each recommendation includes personalized tips like the best menu items to try at restaurants, the optimal times to visit locations based on what you're looking for, and photos of what to expect. Foursquare’s technology also allows users to see details like each location’s hours of operations and some of the most popular dishes at eateries.

Users also will be able to tap into the feature and save recommendations into a favorite folder to create an itinerary before arriving, with suggestions available across various categories that range from family-friendly stops to ideal locations for business dinners or romantic locales for couples.

Foursquare’s Places API, comprised of venue content for more than 105 million places globally, will serve as the primary source for real-time venue information, which includes ratings, features, photos and hours. Guests will see recommendations relevant to their current hotel reservation and can “favorite” the recommendations provided in advance of their travel to create an in-app guide for their upcoming trip.

“Foursquare’s location technology—built over nearly 10 years and proven to be the leading choice for layering context and location into digital experiences—is now allowing Hilton team members to better serve their guests by connecting them with our constantly refreshed database of more than 105 million places worldwide,” said Peter Krasniqi, VP of global enterprise and business development for Foursquare. 

Hilton's mobile app also lets guests preselect hotel rooms before they check in, choose to receive a digital key to access their room with their smartphone and complete their check-in process.

The hotel company also is in the process of rolling out a Connected Room to more of its hotels so that customers can use a mobile device to control TV programming, lighting and temperature controls.

Earlier this year, Hilton partnered with Showtime to let hotel guests stream the premium cable network's content to specially equipped rooms at no extra cost.