Chances are, you’ve experienced the pain of stumbling to your hotel room late at night only to realize you don’t have your key card. Someday, if Hilton Hotels and Resorts has its way, you’ll never need anything but your smartphone to get in.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Hilton is investing $550 million in new tech that will allow its clients to book rooms, view their location before visiting and even open their doors right from their mobile device. Aimed at younger travelers, the company’s smartphone-based entry system will start trickling out in select locations next year, and will be available at most Hilton hotels by the end of 2016.
You can already check in and out of Hilton rooms using your phone, and the hospitality giant has touch displays at all of its U.S. locations that allow you to do the same. This feature, combined with the ability to use your phone as a room key, could eliminate the need to use the front desk entirely.
Hilton competitor Starwood has already begun testing a similar system at two of its Aloft hotels, and aims to bring the service to 150 of its locations by late next year. According to Hilton, giving clients the ability to perform functions that typically require the assistance of staff members will allow hotels to ultimately save money and run more efficiently.
Smart locks have been available to homeowners for years, but now the growing smart home home trend is converging with the hospitality world. While the security of this tech is debatable, it makes a logical fit for temporary locations like hotel rooms, where a family is probably less concerned about someone hacking into their doorknob.
Hilton’s move also opens up the opportunity for a fully connected hotel experience, where you might be able to turn on the TV, dim the lights and even close the blinds with your mobile device.