Hilton Announces 'Connected Room,' First Mobile-Centric Hotel Room

The company's new high-tech platform, to begin rollout in 2018, will transform the customer experience and allow guests to manage their stays from the palm of their hands.

Hilton (No. 30 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) unveiled on Dec. 7 Connected Room, a first-of-its-kind, high-tech guest room that enables guests to personalize and control every aspect of their stay from one central point – their mobile device. Currently in beta testing, Connected Room is live in one hotel, will deploy in coming weeks in several more, and will begin to scale rapidly to hotels across the United States in 2018.


The Connected Room Experience

Guests who stay at Connected Room-enabled properties will soon be able to use the Hilton Honors app to manage most things they would traditionally do manually in a room, from controlling the temperature and lighting to the TV and window coverings. Guests will also be able to personalize their room with technology that loads the most popular streaming media and other accounts to in-room TVs.

In the longer-term, Connected Room will support a range of connected devices, engagements and experiences. Guests will able to use voice commands to control their room or access their content, and to upload their own artwork and photos to automatically display in their room. Guests will also be able to set various preferences in their Hilton Honors account profile to further customize their in-room experience to their individual preferences.

"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 Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton. "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."

A First-of-its-Kind Technology

With Connected Room's introduction, Hilton is delivering the industry's first truly mobile-centric hotel room, building on the success of the award-wining Hilton Honors app. Hilton Honors members are already using the app to check in, select their room, and open their hotel room's door with Digital Key. Hilton knows their guests value this type of access from their smartphones based on the wide usage already seen from Hilton Honors members – 34 million digital check-ins, 4 million room key downloads and more than 18.7 million doors opened. In the month of October, a door was unlocked with Digital Key every 1.5 seconds.

Designed and built by Hilton from the ground up, Connected Room is a natural extension of the Hilton Honors app's existing capabilities. Its creation was rooted in the unique needs of guests, who have voiced an increasing desire to personalize their stays. The beta version of Connected Room uses a physical remote control to manage the experience, with the goal of supplementing it and all traditional remote controls with the Hilton Honors app before deployment at hotels across the portfolio. Hilton is working with popular streaming media providers to enable guests to seamlessly access their favorite programs in Connected Room hotels.

"At Hilton, almost all digital products are born out of necessity and shortcomings in the marketplace – and Connected Room is no exception," said Joshua Sloser, senior vice president of Digital Product, Hilton. "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."

Optimizing Hotel Operations

Connected Room is Hilton's solution for continued innovation and will make it easier for hotels across the portfolio to keep pace with the rapid change in technology. Instead of relying on new hardware to update hotel rooms, Hilton can more efficiently push software updates through the platform to create new experiences and offer new features. Connected Room also has implications for Hilton's corporate responsibility program, Travel with Purpose. The technology will give guests the option to help conserve energy by syncing the air conditioning with their schedule and allow hotel operators to monitor how their hotels are managing energy in real time to ensure they are effectively reducing environmental impact. Hilton Team Members will also benefit from Connected Room since the platform will provide them with better insight into guest preferences.

Hilton's History of Innovation

Hilton has a 100-year history of pioneering the hospitality industry: The first airport hotel, the first central reservations system, the first hotels to provide air-conditioned comfort and televisions in every room, and even the invention of the piña colada. Operating within a culture of creativity, Hilton continues to deliver on its commitment to deliver exceptional experiences – every hotel, every guest, every time.

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Hilton Names Global Head Of Diversity & Inclusion

"As a global hospitality company, it's increasingly important to leverage the benefits of an intentional diversity and inclusion management practice to drive sustainable engagement and company performance," said Muñoz.

Hilton has named Jon Muñoz as Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion. In his new role, Muñoz will oversee Hilton's global diversity management practice, focusing on developing culture, talent and marketplace strategies that cultivate inclusion.

Already known as one of the World's Best Workplaces, Hilton was recognized in 2017 for its diversity and inclusion efforts by DiversityInc, Fortune, Forbes, Human Rights Campaign, National Business Inclusion Consortium and LATINA Style.

Muñoz joined Hilton in 2011 as Senior Director, Diversity & Inclusion and has played a key role in driving Hilton's global diversity and inclusion efforts. Prior to joining Hilton, Muñoz served in diversity roles for Sprint and multicultural marketing roles for Nextel Communications, Bank One (JPMorgan Chase) and NationsBank (Bank of America).

"As a global hospitality company, it's increasingly important to leverage the benefits of an intentional diversity and inclusion management practice to drive sustainable engagement and company performance," said Muñoz. "I'm proud of the important strides we've made on our diversity and inclusion journey at Hilton and look forward to building on those successes to support our mission to be the most hospitable company in the world."

"In his seven years at Hilton, Jon has built a track record for success, providing leadership for our comprehensive, and now award-winning, diversity and inclusion program," Matthew W. Schuyler, Chief Human Resources Officer, Hilton. "This role is incredibly important as we continue to create welcoming and inclusive work environments for all, and amazing experiences for our guests."

Muñoz actively serves in leadership roles at a diverse nonprofit organizations including: Conference Board Diversity and Inclusion Center Advisory Board, Friends of the American Latino Museum Treasurer of the Board of Directors, International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, League of United Latin American Citizens Corporate Alliance, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ACT-SO Advisory Council, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Co-Chair of the Corporate Advisory Council, and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Senior Executive Corporate Advisory Board. He is also a co-founder of the National Hispanic Corporate Council Corporate Executive Development Program (CEDP), offered in partnership with Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business. The CEDP is dedicated to advancing Hispanic managers to executive positions in global enterprises.

Muñoz holds a Bachelor of Science in communications and advertising from the University of Texas at Austin.