You can use your mobile device to chat with friends and family. You can use it to capture photos and videos. You can use it to book airline tickets, find nearby restaurants, and even get a date. Starting next year, you'll also be able to use it to control your hotel room, according to Hilton Worldwide, which today announced the introduction of its new "Connected Room," a high-tech guest room whose every feature will be controllable by guests from their smartphone.
Currently in beta testing, Connected Room is currently live in just one hotel -- Hilton did not specify which one -- but will deploy to several more in coming weeks before scaling rapidly across the United States in 2018.
"Innovation has been in Hilton's DNA since entrepreneur Conrad Hilton purchased the first Hilton property and pioneered the hospitality industry nearly 100 years ago," said Hilton President and CEO Christopher J. Nassetta. "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."
Guests who stay in Connected Room-enabled properties will be able to control their rooms via the Hilton Honors app. Among the aspects of their room that they'll be able to manage from their phone will be its temperature, its lighting, its television, and its window coverings.
Guests also will be able to personalize their room with technology. Initially, that means loading the most popular streaming media and other accounts to in-room TVs. Eventually, however, it also will mean uploading their own artwork and photos to automatically display in their room. Voice commands also will be enabled at a later date.
"At Hilton, almost all digital products are born out of necessity and shortcomings in the marketplace -- and Connected Room is no exception," said Senior Vice President of Digital Product Joshua Sloser. "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."
Connected Room is just the latest innovation to grace Hilton's Hilton Honors app. In 2015, the hotelier introduced its Digital Key technology, which allows guests to check in and unlock their guest room from within the app. To date, Hilton has logged 34 million digital check-ins, 4 million room key downloads, and more than 18.7 million opened doors.
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