Hilton to invest $500 million in mobile technologies

Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. is investing $500 million on the assumption smartphones will increasingly be used by guests to book rooms, check in and unlock doors.

Guest will be able to check-in and choose their exact room from digital floor plans, as well as customize their stay by purchasing upgrades and making special requests for items to be delivered to their room, on their mobile devices, tablets and computers.

By the end of 2014, digital check-in and room selection will be available at more than 4,000 Hilton Worldwide properties across 11 brands in 80-plus countries via members' Hilton HHonors accounts.

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Hilton said incoming guests can use their devices to unlock their rooms by 2015. Most Hilton's hotels worldwide will have the same feature by the end of 2016.

"For nearly a century, our guests have counted on us to consistently deliver exceptional experiences around the world, and in today's digitally connected culture, that means providing them with more choice and control over their hotel stay through technology," Christopher J. Nassetta, president and chief executive officer, Hilton Worldwide, told Tech Times. "The tremendous scale of our world-class operating platform enables us to quickly and nimbly introduce exciting enhancements for our guests at all of our hotels worldwide."

The investments were made to compete against rivals already sporting mobile elements. Among these rivals are Marriott International Inc., Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. and InterContinental Hotels Group.

Hilton HHonors member will be able to sign into their accounts through their mobile devices, tablets or computers at 6 a.m. the day before they arrive to check in and select their room using floor maps or lists of available rooms. They can look at photos to help them decide.

Geraldine Calpin, senior vice president and global head of digital at Hilton Worldwide, says a recent internal online survey of 1,009 travelers found that 84percent wanted to be able to choose their own room, reports USA Today.

"We are giving our guests the ability to do just that by enabling them to select not just their room type, but the exact location in the hotel, all the way down to their room number," she said.

After choosing the room, they can then purchase upgrades or ask for amenities to be delivered to their room before they even get to the hotel.

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