Hilton is taking a page out of the airline handbook. This week, the hotel giant announced a plan to open room selection for members of the brand’s HHonors loyalty program—for the first time ever, this would allow guests to review floor plans of open rooms and pick their favorite before check-in. Roll-out is expected for over 650,000 rooms at 4,000 hotels across the Hilton portfolio—including its Waldorf Astoria and Conrad brands—by the end of the year, with limited availability piloting by the end of the summer.
Much like selecting your seat on a flight, guests will only be able to pick their room starting at 6 AM the day before check-in—which means that those looking for a corner room with a high-floor view may still be better off calling in their request at booking time. Thankfully that’s where the similarities to airlines end: while you can purchase a room upgrade in-app, you shouldn’t expect to pay a premium for well-situated hotel rooms the same way you do for exit row seats. (Just imagine the uproar if hotels decided to nickel and dime the way airlines do.)
The move signals a big, high-tech shift for the Hilton brand, which also announced that digital check-in and check-out—along with mobile room keys—will be among the technological innovations rolled out globally in 2015 and 2016.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.