By Jess McHugh
August 15, 2016
A Hilton property.
Credit: Hilton Hotels

Hilton Hotel’s digital key initiative has taken the luxury giant by storm, according to figures released little over a year after the launch of its mobile application. The HHonors app looks to streamline guests’ experiences by giving them more control over every aspect of their stay from reservation to check-out.

Available to Hilton HHonors club members, the app essentially turns guests’ smartphones into a digital key. Beyond eliminating the frustrating issue of a fickle key card that simply won’t swipe, the digital key program offers a variety of additional services, including the ability to check in and out online, order room service and even select your room from the hotel’s floor plan.

As the app completes its first year, some 50,000 Hilton HHonors members have used it to open 2 million doors at 400 hotels in the U.S. and Singapore, according to an August press release.

Customers have selected nearly 7 million rooms using the app, and around 70 percent of the people who used the online check-in feature of the app also used their device as a digital key.

“We also hear from people that it’s great when they’re traveling for business; it’s one less thing to keep in their wallet,” Blake Rouhani, director of public relations for Hilton, told Travel + Leisure. “Guests are finding it helpful no matter the property type.”

The digital key has been vetted by third party security experts and is constantly monitored for breaches, according to Rouhani. The app relies on bluetooth technology, however, and both glitches or drained battery could cause technical problems for guests.

For now, the digital key is only available to one guest per room, and any other travelers must continue to use the plastic key card.

Planned updates to the app aim to allow multiple-person access via mobile phone by 2017, along with other upgrades including the ability to have a real-time chat with the front desk via smartphone. Hilton plans to roll out an international expansion of this app in 2017.