Hilton unveils futuristic room controlled by guests’ smartphone

Hilton has introduced its Connected Room, a high-tech platform that allows guests to control their room’s thermostat, lighting, blinds, television and other amenities via their mobile phones. Guests will also be able to personalize their room with technology that loads the most popular streaming media and other accounts to in-room TVs.

Connected Room will support a range of connected devices, engagements and experiences. Guests will be 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 customize their in-room experience to their individual preferences.

“Many innovations later, we are once again setting a new standard for the industry by giving our guests a travel experience where the room knows them, and they know their room,” Hilton President and CEO Christopher Nassetta said.

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Connected Room is a "natural extension" of the Hilton Honors app’s existing capabilities, the company said, and rooted in the distinctive needs of guests, who have voiced an increasing desire to personalize their stays. The beta version of Connected Room 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 deployment at hotels across the portfolio.

Hilton is working with popular streaming media providers to enable guests to seamlessly access their favorite programs in Connected Room hotels.

The smart room is still in beta testing and only operational at one hotel in Memphis, but the chain plans on rolling out the concept worldwide and will “begin to scale rapidly to hotels across the United States in 2018” — although it could be years before we see this new tech in a majority of its properties.

Hilton introduced digital key in 2014, but less than two-thirds of its hotels have installed the technology as of today. Nassetta said that he hopes that within three years all Hilton properties will have at least some sort of connected devices.

“At Hilton, almost all digital products are born out of necessity and shortcomings in the marketplace – and Connected Room is no exception,” said Joshua Sloser, SVP of digital product, Hilton. “The technology we put in hotel rooms has to be intuitive, simple and quick to pick up because guests typically spend a limited amount of time in their rooms and we want them to spend that time enjoying the experience instead of adapting to new technology.”

Updates to the Honors App will take place sometime next year. The connected room functionality will only appear in the app if it’s relevant to the property a guest is staying at. 

One of Hilton’s biggest rivals, Marriott, has been working on smart-room technology, but hasn’t made it known when the new tech will be available on a larger scale.