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Hilton to roll out digital check-ins, smartphone room keys in new tech push

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hilton Worldwide on Monday announced plans to roll out an aggressive overhaul of its tech infrastructure that will let guests use their mobile devices as hotel room keys, choose rooms from a floor plan map and check-in to properties around the world.



According to Hilton, the digital check-in and room selection service will be available through integration with the company's Hilton HHonors iOS app at more than 4,000 properties by the end of 2014.

In addition to choosing exact rooms by looking at a digital hotel floor plan, guests will be able use their iPhone or iPad to purchase upgrades and make special requests like delivery of amenities prior to arrival. The enhancements are slated for a staged launch, with new technology and services becoming available every six to eight weeks.

The first stage -- check-in and room selection -- is scheduled to roll out by the end of this summer at domestic Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites. DoubleTree by Hilton and Embassy Suites Hotels in the U.S. will gain compatibility later this fall, while worldwide availability is pegged for the end of 2014.



As for the smartphone-as-room key initiative, Hilton is looking to introduce the technology at certain U.S. hotels starting next year, but expects a majority of its properties to boast the functionality by the end of 2016.

"Travelers can use their smartphones as boarding passes to get to their seats on an airplane, so it is only natural that they will want to use them as a way to enter their hotel rooms," said Hilton Worldwide President and CEO Christopher J. Nassetta. "We have spent the past few years testing a number of different options to make this vision a reality, and we are developing proprietary technology that is safe and reliable for our guests to use, and cost-effective for our hotels to install."

Starwood Hotels already piloted an iPhone-based room key program in January that relies on Bluetooth proximity technology. The tech Hilton is using for its digital room key deployment is not known, though it can be assumed a similar Bluetooth-based model will be adopted given the wireless protocol's ubiquity.
post #2 of 21

Yeah, nothing could go wrong with that.  Nope.

post #3 of 21

As for selecting my room on my iPhone, fine with me.

But as for opening the room door using my iPhone, I prefer a pass on that one.

I like those room cards !

post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post
 

Yeah, nothing could go wrong with that.  Nope.

The door locks would still have magnetic card support since not every hotel guest would have a compatible smartphone. 

 

Those door locks probably have some sort of mechanical master key override anyhow, just in case the electronic lock mechanism fails.

post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshA View Post

As for selecting my room on my iPhone, fine with me.
But as for opening the room door using my iPhone, I prefer a pass on that one.
I like those room cards !
And just like sporting events/museums with novelty tickets the hotels will start giving out novelty keycards.

My guess is the keycards aren't going away and they'll still be available as a backup option.
Edited by alcstarheel - 7/30/14 at 9:45pm
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post #6 of 21
I think that's great news! And it would be really cool if Passbook could do that so you don't have to install an app for that (of course for each hotel chain you'd have to install your own app so that's get inconvenient and tired soon, at least for the one who travels rarely)

I'm all for this. I'm using a Kevo at home and am quite happy with it, and especially for hotels, I always need to double check if I have my card in my wallet before closing the doors as many hotels request you put the cards (or any credit card sized one) into the power switch.

But think of this: You'd book the hotel and the room online, you'd not even have to queue up at the reception anymore. More than a welcome convenience after say a long flight.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post
 

The door locks would still have magnetic card support since not every hotel guest would have a compatible smartphone. 

 

Those door locks probably have some sort of mechanical master key override anyhow, just in case the electronic lock mechanism fails.

 

My worry isn't my not being able to open my door, though. 

post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post
 

My worry isn't my not being able to open my door, though. 

Well, there has to be a fallback mechanism in case the hotel guest falls ill, etc. and someone outside the room (hotel security, police, fire department) need access to the room.

 

Authorized access to the room is important.

 

Magnetic keycards have been around for a long time, they're pretty reliable. Sure, there's the occasional card that fails, but a quick replacement or reprogramming at the reception desk typically corrects the problem.

 

Again, smartphone access is in addition to the existing unlocking methods. Possession of a smartphone is not a requirement. If I recall correctly, pilot programs for smartphone hotel keys have been around for while, it's not just some spur-of-the-moment decision.

 

My guess is that Hilton tried various smartphone-aware lock mechanisms and decided on a specific vendor, probably with tweaks to the software as well. I haven't been to Japan for a while, but I would be completely unsurprised if the Japanese have had this functionality for a while with their "osaifu keitai" system.

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post
 

 

My worry isn't my not being able to open my door, though. 

So what's your worry then? I think Phones (for now, perhaps watches later) are becoming what the wallet used to be.  Are you worried that too much power is in them phones?

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krawall View Post
 

So what's your worry then? I think Phones (for now, perhaps watches later) are becoming what the wallet used to be.  Are you worried that too much power is in them phones?

 

Worried the system could turn out too easy to hack.  And the last effin' place I want someone gaining access to is my hotel room.

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post
 

 

Worried the system could turn out too easy to hack.  And the last effin' place I want someone gaining access to is my hotel room.

Honestly I'm not worried about this at all because I know that everyone (speak: anyone who really wants to) has access to my hotel room...

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post
 

 

Worried the system could turn out too easy to hack.  And the last effin' place I want someone gaining access to is my hotel room.

 

What naughty things do you do in your hotel room? ;)

post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post
 

Worried the system could turn out too easy to hack.  And the last effin' place I want someone gaining access to is my hotel room.

Just remember that housekeeping (the hotel maid) has master key access anyhow (at least to a room block). Engineering (a.k.a. "the hotel repair guy") and security would also likely have master key access.

 

Of course, the hotel maid's key itself is probably tied to the user so the hotel management can tell who enters a room, at what time, duration, etc.

 

Remember, when you are at a hotel, you are a guest in someone else's property. It's not your house.

 

Same thing with a rental car. It's not your car, it's someone else's. The rental car company has duplicate keys to whatever vehicle of theirs you're driving and they have the right to call a locksmith if the locks are busted.

post #14 of 21
Quote:

Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

 

The door locks would still have magnetic card support since not every hotel guest would have a compatible smartphone. 

 

Those guests will be issued a Bluetooth key fob.

Both of them.

 

 

Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

 
Those door locks probably have some sort of mechanical master key override anyhow, just in case the electronic lock mechanism fails.

 

That they would, however.

How's that work with today's magnetic card mechanisms? What if they fail?

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by alcstarheel View Post
My guess is the keycards aren't going away and they'll still be available as a backup option.

 

See above.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshA View Post

As for selecting my room on my iPhone, fine with me.
But as for opening the room door using my iPhone, I prefer a pass on that one.
I like those room cards !
 
But they are going away; just like the rest of your physical wallet will.
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krawall View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post
 

 

Worried the system could turn out too easy to hack.  And the last effin' place I want someone gaining access to is my hotel room.

Honestly I'm not worried about this at all because I know that everyone (speak: anyone who really wants to) has access to my hotel room...

 

Exactly. That's why they have safes inside those hotel rooms – because access to the rooms themselves is only very superficially restricted. A false sense of security.

 

mpantone has put that well, above.

 

Much like them $10 front door locks for your home. It boggles my mind how people spend hundreds of thousands of Dollars on a home, and then "secure" that home with one of those.


Edited by december - 7/28/14 at 11:46pm
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krawall View Post

I think that's great news! And it would be really cool if Passbook could do that so you don't have to install an app for that (of course for each hotel chain you'd have to install your own app so that's get inconvenient and tired soon, at least for the one who travels rarely)
I work at the Waldorf in NYC, and the check in lines can get extremely long at times...this would def be a welcome option for a lot of guests.

I'm all for this. I'm using a Kevo at home and am quite happy with it, and especially for hotels, I always need to double check if I have my card in my wallet before closing the doors as many hotels request you put the cards (or any credit card sized one) into the power switch.

But think of this: You'd book the hotel and the room online, you'd not even have to queue up at the reception anymore. More than a welcome convenience after say a long flight.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by december View Post
 

Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

 
Those door locks probably have some sort of mechanical master key override anyhow, just in case the electronic lock mechanism fails.

 

That they would, however.

How's that work with today's magnetic card mechanisms? What if they fail?

 

I think I answered my own question. Those have never been electronic, have they. That's why they're called mechanisms, duh.

 

At least in their classic form. By now there probably are electronic keycards, as well. If not predominantly? Anyone here who has an interest in that, and travels more than I do?

post #17 of 21
Does anybody else think this was rushed to market because Paris Hilton always loses her keys, but never forgets her phone, even if she's falling down drunk, lest she not be able to tweet her current condition minute by minute?
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by december View Post
 

 

I think I answered my own question. Those have never been electronic, have they. That's why they're called mechanisms, duh.

The locking part is still a mechanism. In the case of a hotel door, this is typically both a spring bolt lock as well as a dead bolt.

 

The magnetic key-operated door locks still have those mechanical elements, they add powered motors to also operate the mechanism.

post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac_128 View Post

Does anybody else think this was rushed to market because Paris Hilton always loses her keys, but never forgets her phone, even if she's falling down drunk, lest she not be able to tweet her current condition minute by minute?

We'll always have Paris...

die-pose-der-poser-paris-hilton-zeigt-wie-es-geht.jpg

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshA View Post
 

As for selecting my room on my iPhone, fine with me.

But as for opening the room door using my iPhone, I prefer a pass on that one.

I like those room cards !

so  will they remove the proximity RFID or leave it?  or will they have swipe key tech?

 

1 other reason why you want to have something other than your iPhone: those 4 kids you brought along... while Apple may want you to give each of them an iPhone, I'm certainly not giving my kids an(my!) iPhone as they wander down to the pool.

 

Overall, I think the consensus is, that if you think an bluetooth passkey is better or worse than any other key for a room, I think you're missing the point.   The point is, it isn't your room. and any security provided is theater for you.   As these things progress, we may have more data about 'who' entered the  room you rented, but YOU aren't privy to that data, the hotel is.

 

I still think if the solution is 'just going to the assigned room,' we are missing some level of oversight.  For cash transactions, non-visual verification of the buyer is okay.  For reasons of safety, I think the hotel should at least verify (photo ID... I don't like it, but putting a photo on my loyalty verification page for a hotel rewards program and presenting that on screen when I present my iPhone is another 'factor' of security... ideally one encrypted in with a private key that only unlocks when my phone is present (to keep the home office to not play 'hot or not' with the hotel guests).

post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

so  will they remove the proximity RFID or leave it?  or will they have swipe key tech?


I still think if the solution is 'just going to the assigned room,' we are missing some level of oversight.  For cash transactions, non-visual verification of the buyer is okay.  For reasons of safety, I think the hotel should at least verify (photo ID... I don't like it, but putting a 
photo on my loyalty verification page for a hotel rewards program and presenting that on screen when I present my iPhone is another 'factor' of security... ideally one encrypted in with a private key that only unlocks when my phone is present (to keep the home office to not play 'hot or not' with the hotel guests).

Google and NSA would support you on this.
Lovely more personal info they say !!!
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