For Hilton Worldwide officials, technology innovation is always at the forefront of customer engagement strategy because it often leads to brand loyalty.
But, Hilton didn’t gain its meritorious status as a technology leader by simply churning out new offerings for the sake of them.
“Across the industry, you can see travel brands innovating to reach the consumer in any way possible,” Joshua Sloser, vice president of digital product innovation at Hilton Worldwide, explained to Loyalty360. “But it’s important to stay focused on what the guest is really telling you and what they will find useful. We can’t just innovate for the sake of it.”
Sloser said that mobile is a major platform and mobile enhancements will continue to be a focus for travel brands.
“We are still seeing growth in the number of consumers using mobile over other platforms,” he said. “We must make it easy, make it simple, and make it fast to stand out from the rest.”
Hilton recently announced new upgrades to its Hilton HHonors apps. For the first time ever, the iOS app is compatible with iPad devices, including high-resolution imagery that looks beautiful on larger screens. What’s more, Hilton officials used design best practices to introduce an easy-to-use navigation tab located at the bottom of the app in addition to an updated look and feel.
The HHonors 3.0 updates launched on Nov. 2 and are available when members update the Hilton HHonors app or download the newest version.
“We’ve updated the design and interface of the app to create an easy-to-use navigation tab and higher resolution imagery that looks great on larger screens,” Sloser said. “We’ve also introduced the concept of a stay mode, which enables our guests to easily access all of our stay-related features that guests love. Guests also have the option to choose which device they’d like to receive and use their digital key (smartphone or tablet). Many of these updates are grounded in guest feedback. Not only will they make the Hilton HHonors app easier to navigate, but it enhances the aesthetic making it even more beautiful to look at. We’re excited to continue to provide innovative solutions that simplify the booking process for our members.”
All of Hilton HHonors app features and updates are created with the guest in mind, Sloser added.
“We want to simplify their stay and give them the personalization they desire,” he said. “In July 2014, we launched our digital check-in and room selection feature allowing guests to choose their desired room from a digital floorplan using Google Maps. Last year, we combined that with Digital Key – the ability to use your smartphone to go straight to your room – to expand and enhance our digital check-in package. To date, Hilton HHonors members have check-in over 20.4 million times and opened more than 2 million doors.”
In September 2015, Hilton partnered with Uber to offer guests expanded digital features like “Local Scene,” giving Hilton HHonors members access to a list of popular restaurants and nightlife locations through the Hilton HHonors app – curated by Uber’s rider pick up/drop off data. Then guests can request an Uber to their desired location all within the app.
“In the near future, we are working on our in-app real-time chat feature that will allow guests to communicate with the property as early as a day before and up to one week after their stay,” Sloser added. “They can request additional towels, make reservations for the spa, or ask for a late check-out right within the Hilton HHonors app. We are continuously looking to enhance our digital offerings keeping the Hilton HHonors member top of mind every step of the way.”