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Hilton?s HHonors app redesign unlocks mobile chat, digital key expansion

Hilton's forthcoming redesign of its HHonors loyalty application will enable users to receive push notifications at various points throughout their travel journeys, use real-time chat to communicate with front desk personnel and share digital room keys with more family members.

The hotel brand is ushering in an updated HHonors app this fall, which will include full iOS compatibility as well as the option to mark a favorite hotel room so that customers can book the same space for future visits. The redesign also brings about additional features for Hilton?s digital key program, such as the ability for consumers to use multiple digital keys on several smartphones for the same room.

?We?re always looking for new ways to enhance the Hilton HHonors digital experience,? said Dana Shefsky, director of digital product innovation at Hilton Worldwide. ?As part of this redesign, we?ve made it easier to access Digital Key and will share relevant and timely messages in the app throughout a guest?s travel journey to ensure a stress-free trip.

?Our focus is on providing guests with the right information, on the right platform and when they need it most.?

Checking in mobile enhancements
This fall, Hilton is rolling out a redesigned HHonors app to allow members to enjoy greater iOS compatibility for iPad devices alongside easier access to digital room keys. Consumers will also be able to opt in to receive push notifications that will greet them at various moments throughout their travel journeys.

Frequent travelers will be able to take advantage of the ?Pin My Room? feature, which lets guests indicate their favorite room in a specific resort so they can book the same room for future visits.

Hilton recently boosted the appeal of in-app booking by enabling users to see a hotel?s surroundings and a room?s potential view through a new integration with Google Maps (see story).

Additionally, the resort marketer is introducing real-time in-app chat options, enabling guests to speak directly with front desk staff to request services, such as housekeeping or late checkout, by sending an instant message.

?We know that our guests use their smartphones to manage their lives,? Ms. Shefsky said. ?The feature will allow guests to communicate with the property as early as a day before and up to one week after their stay.

?They can request additional towels, make reservations for the spa or ask for a late checkout right within the Hilton HHonors app,? she said. ?This kind of convenience is what our guests have come to love and expect of Hilton and our hospitality.

?Real-time chat will complement the digital key experience quite nicely. Those guests have already indicated that they like to interact with us digitally and since they are skipping the front desk, it gives us another touch point to check in with our guests and make sure their enjoying their stay.?

Digital key advancements
Hilton, which was one of the premier hospitality brands to introduce mobile room keys, continues to expand its program to better cater to guests? needs. By early 2017, it will enable family members and friends sharing a hotel room to use multiple mobile keys through several smartphones at once.

The Digital Key program allows HHonors members to bypass the front desk upon arrival at their hotel and leverage their mobile device in lieu of a physical key card. Digital keys have opened two million room doors at 400 Hilton hotels since the program?s launch one year ago.

More than 70 percent of guests who take advantage of digital check-in options also prefer to use mobile room keys, lending more credence to the notion that all major hotel chains should invest in this technology.

Hilton?s Digital Key program continues to expand, with full functionality expected to be available at 700 hotels by the end of this year.

Frequent travelers who have not yet joined Hilton HHonors may now be inspired to do so, especially if they want to take advantage of the new features.

Per Ms. Shefsky, the app redesign will be completed in 2016?s fourth quarter.

?The redesign will bring Hilton HHonors to the iPad with full iOS compatibility,? Ms. Shefsky said. ?It will also enhance the Hilton HHonors app?s navigation and provide a better way to share pertinent details about a guest about their stay and arrival to make sure they have a great experience.?