Hilton Is Killing The Hotel Room Key, Because The Smartphone Is King

First, we moved from actual keys to card keys that fit in your wallet like a credit card. Now, Hilton has dreamed up a whole new way for you to get into your hotel room using your smartphone. That's right — in 2015, you'll be able to access your room at a U.S. Hilton hotel with your smartphone, and it'll be expanded worldwide in 2016. In the meantime, by the end of this year, more than 4,000 properties throughout the world will roll out a new app for iOS and Android users where you'll be able to bypass the check-in and check-out process, and even choose your own room before you get to the hotel. Pretty cool, right?

Christopher J. Nassetta, chief executive officer and president of Hilton Worldwide, told Cnet, "we have spent the past few years testing a number of different options to make this vision a reality, and we are developing proprietary technology that is safe and reliable for our guests to use, and cost-effective for our hotels to install."

So how will this all work? If you're a Hilton HHonors member, you'll be able to see a digital floor map, and choose your own room the day before you check in through the new app. You can also customize your stay by making special requests in advance. By the end of 2016, you can also request for your hotel key be sent to your smartphone.

It's not clear how guests without a smartphone would be able to access their rooms, and, um what would happen in the event that a guest's smartphone died. But according to the Hilton Worldwide Media Center, this is something that Hilton guests really do want.

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In a press release, Geraldine Calpin, senior vice president and global head of digital at Hilton Worldwide, wrote:

We analyzed data and feedback from more than 40 million HHonors members, as well as guest surveys, social media posts and review sites, and it's clear that guests want greater choice and control. ... In fact, in a recent study, 84 percent of business travelers surveyed said they wanted the ability to choose their own room. We are giving our guests the ability to do just that by enabling them to select not just their room type, but the exact location in the hotel, all the way down to their room number.

The study Calpin refers to included 1,009 participants, and was conducted by Edelman Berland, according to Hilton's press release.

Images: Fotolia; Hilton Worldwide, Getty Images