The Hilton Honors app that helps customers manage loyalty points now lets guests use their smartphones as a remote control for the TV, lighting and thermostat as part of the hotel chain’s rollout of its Connected Room technology across the United States, according to a press release. The hotel chain introduced the high-tech rooms in December.
Hilton also partnered with Showtime to let hotel guests stream the premium cable network's content to specially equipped rooms at no extra cost. Showtime’s on-demand streaming is available to guests in hotels equipped with Connected Room via a specially designed app and without the need for a subscription.
Connected Room guests who don't have the Hilton Honors app can use a newly designed TV remote and room controls built into the television.
Hilton has embraced mobile technology in many ways to improve service for guests, especially members of its Hilton Honors loyalty program. The chain's app, in particular, has become a key strategy for engaging with loyalty guests to enhance and streamline their experience, thereby deepening the loyalty relationship. Hilton has taken a variety of steps to integrate mobile technology in its customer service, such as letting people book rooms and manage their loyalty reward points on the mobile app, and using keyless room entry with the quick swipe of a smartphone.
The chain is among a number of traditional hospitality brands that are seeking new ways to improve their services to better compete with startups like Airbnb that let people rent out their homes or spare bedrooms to travelers seeking lower-cost or “more authentic” lodging. Airbnb, which has about 5 million listings in 81,000 cities, faces stricter regulations in some cities that are seeking ways to make up for lost taxes that hotel chains are required to pay. Airbnb this year is upgrading its platform with more kinds of property listings and new tiers of service to appeal to a broader group of consumers.
Hilton's new no-cost streaming service from Showtime lets guests see programming they may not get at home, which could lead them to order the premium cable channel to finish binge-watching hit series like Homeland or Billions. Hilton’s collaboration with Showtime comes a year after Hyatt Hotels partnered with streaming solutions provider Sonifi to let guests personalize their in-room streaming experience. Sonifi’s Staycast solution, powered by Google Chromecast, was integrated with the World of Hyatt mobile app in April 2017. The partnership let guests stream services such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and more than 1,000 other channels to the in-room TV.