Hilton Hotels Corporation (NYSE:HLT) announced plans today to install and test guest self-service kiosks at two of its largest wholly owned properties—the 2,035-room Hilton New York and 1,544-room Hilton Chicago—which will provide hotels and guests alike with a new approach to expedite the check-in/check-out process. Hilton is working with IBM to develop the kiosk hardware and software. This three-to-six month test—which will begin during the 4th quarter of 2003—is the first stage in the potential rollout of self-service kiosks at the Hilton Family of Hotels—which feature such well-known brands as Hilton(R), Conrad(R), Doubletree(R), Embassy Suites Hotels(R), Hampton Inn(R), Hampton Inn & Suites(R), Hilton Garden Inn(R) and Homewood Suites by Hilton(R).
“Today`s frequent travelers are increasingly sophisticated technology users who have been using self-service technology, such as bank ATMs, for several years. This type of tech-savvy traveler will benefit from this alternative to the traditional hotel check-in, particularly during peak hours,” said Tim Harvey, chief information officer for Hilton Hotels Corporation. “The Hilton proprietary, standardized technology platform, OnQ(TM), which reinforces our Customer Really Matters (CRM) strategy, has been the catalyst for launching this program. Our hotels now have access to up-to-the-minute information regarding guest preferences and service-recovery alerts, and we can transition that into an opportunity to provide prompt, accurate service to incoming guests.”
During the pilot test at the Hilton Chicago and Hilton New York, travelers can check in at one of several kiosks that will be placed at strategic points in each hotel`s front lobby. By inserting a credit card for identification purposes, guests can follow a set of simple on-screen instructions and utilize the touch screens to check in to the hotel. The kiosk displays the traveler`s reservation, selects a room based on the customer`s preferences, issues a room key and provides printed room directions and information. At the end of the stay, the traveler can check out at a kiosk in the same fashion by reviewing and confirming their bill and printing out a receipt for their records. Members of the Hilton HHonors(R) guest reward program will eventually have the opportunity to access their account and update their membership profiles.
“Self-service kiosks have been positively received by travelers at airports worldwide, because of the convenience they provide to the traditional check-in process,” said Thomas Spitler, vice president - front office operations & systems for Hilton. “The human element always has been and always will continue to be a critical cornerstone of the hospitality industry. This initiative is just one more example of how Hilton continues to implement user-friendly, leading-edge technology to improve guest service for those that want it. Self-service kiosks will allow our guest service agents to focus on providing value-added services to those guests who require it.”
Hilton anticipates that the majority of guests will be able to check in at self-service kiosks without assistance. However, hotel staff will be readily available to answer questions and assist guests or to direct guests with additional service needs to the fully staffed front desk. The company believes that this new technology alternative could lead to improving guest service by reducing line time, thereby increasing customer convenience and reducing transaction costs.
“We are pleased that Hilton Hotels Corporation has chosen to work with us, thereby becoming one of the first major hotel companies to test and implement this powerful new technology,” said Rob Ranieri, practice lead, e-Access, IBM Global Services. “IBM`s experience in developing check-in kiosks for worldwide airlines, airports and passenger rail companies will enable us to assist Hilton in anticipating and proactively addressing technology and operational issues. This expertise will also be tremendously useful in addressing the guest experience that is so vital to the hospitality industry.”
About IBM -
IBM, the global market leader in travel check-in kiosk systems, has more than 3,000 self-service check-in kiosks installed or on order at over 200 locations worldwide. IBM`s Electronic Access team, which is part of IBM Global Services, provides worldwide support for all of IBM`s self-service application software, middleware and kiosk hardware development. For more information on travel/hospitality related solutions from IBM and its business partners, please visit www.ibm.com/industries/travel.
About Hilton Hotels Corporation -
Hilton Hotels Corporation is recognized internationally as a preeminent hospitality company. The company develops, owns, manages or franchises more than 2,000 hotels, resorts and vacation ownership properties. Its portfolio includes many of the world`s best known and most highly regarded hotel brands, including Hilton(R), Conrad(R), Doubletree(R), Embassy Suites Hotels(R), Hampton Inn(R), Hampton Inn & Suites(R), Hilton Garden Inn(R), Hilton Grand Vacations Company(R) and Homewood Suites by Hilton(R).
For more information on the Hilton Family of Hotels, please visit www.hiltonworldwide.com.