A few years ago, the Hilton hotel group unrolled the Digital Key, a feature of the Hilton Honors app that allows you to unlock your hotel room with your smartphone.
While there may be concern that this technology could be hacked and thus give others access to your room, Hilton just announced that the Digital Key was used over 11 million times without a single security breach.
Hilton started experimenting with this mobile key technology three years ago and now states that its safety has been completely proven. According to the company, over 1,700 hotels throughout the US and Canada have implemented the system. Due to its success, there are now plans to roll out the technology to customers throughout the world, starting with the United Kingdom.
The technology works by requiring customers download the Hilton Honors app and activate their digital room key the day before they arrive. Upon arrival, they can unlock their doors by clicking the virtual unlock button as they approach the room. To make your stay even more hassle-free, you can also check into the hotel early and select your room through the app.
In a press release emailed out by Hilton hotels today, Chief Marketing Officer Geraldine Calpin spoke highly of the new technology.
We know that our guests are looking for more choice and control over their entire travel journey and through digital tools such as Digital Key and digital check-in with room selection, we are giving guests the ability to personalize their stay at every stage, wherever they are in the world.
While Hilton is working to roll out this technology everywhere, it has some competition. Other hotel corporations are developing similar technology, although at a much slower pace. Marriot International introduced digital key technology in about 200 hotels with plans to add more before the end of the year. Hyatt Hotels tested out similar technology as well, but it has not yet been made available to customers. InterContinental Hotel Group has also experimented with mobile keys but is hesitant to employ it because of safety concerns.
Hilton may be leading the pack among hotels, but this is not entirely new technology. Keyless entry apps have been around for homes for years. In 2013, Kwikset released the Kevo door lock, which let you unlock your house door by tapping your phone against the digital lock. The August smart lock — a device that lets you connect to your lock from your phone with WiFi — soon followed in late 2014. Since then, numerous other smart locks have been released. In fact, so many are on the market now that media companies often put out articles ranking the best ones on the market to help you choose the cream of the quickly growing crop.
Despite not being the first to utilize digital keys, Hilton's efforts are still remarkably innovative for the hotel industry. It will be interesting to see in what direction Hilton takes this technology next. For now, let's hope it remains hack-free.
Gifs from Julio Ojeda-Zapata/YouTube