Exploring the future of guest services

Hilton has opened an Innovation Gallery – an incubator and showcase for development where the company will explore the future of hospitality and the guest experience.

The gallery, located next to Hilton’s global headquarters at Hilton McLean Tysons Corner, was designed by the LAB at Rockwell Group.

It showcases a variety of technologies, design elements and dining concepts, as well as environmental and experiential features, like a noise-masking Nightingale product and Meural, a customizable digital art display.

Guests can explore five immersive experiences: a product showcase, lets visitors interact with new physical and virtual products; a food and beverage concept studio features the latest experiments from the hotel’s FAB team; a virtual reality stage offers guests VR tours of rooms from the chain’s new boutique lifestyle brands ‘Tru by Hilton’ and ‘Canopy by Hilton’; a dark room explores material technologies which might improve quality, sustainability and/or design flexibility; and an innovation theatre will serve as a gathering space for brainstorming and collaboration.     

Products on display at the opening have been recently launched or are under testing, and many were developed through partnerships between Hilton and technology companies like IBM, LG, Amazon and Tesla.

Jon Witter, Hilton’s chief customer officer describes the initiative as “a space for us to incubate, test, scale and showcase the products and processes we’re creating to enhance our guests’ experiences and redefine the future of hospitality.”

Hilton has been beta-testing a smartphone-based Digital Key as well as a smart room that recognizes and is aware of guests, offering a customized experience, including integrated digital entertainment.

The hotel giant has said that smart rooms could be available in as soon as next year.

As the nexus of technology and travel continues to expand, we can expect more of these laboratory concepts to bloom.

Marriott has debuted its own high-tech ‘Room of the Future’ featuring a virtual assistant, a voice activated smart shower, and yoga classes projected on a full length mirror among its digital upgrades.

Unlike the high-design approach of Hilton’s Gallery, Marriott wanted a blank slate against which any innovation could shine through in its own light.

Integrated entertainment is set to grow as companies recognize that guests want more than just the standard suite of television channels and pay-per-view films.

Swiss entertainment technology company ADB Global is banking on guest-device driven entertainment to take off, especially at boutique hotels and smaller properties where digital solutions may offer a better opportunity to let guests enjoy their preferred entertainment.   

The company’s digital entertainment solutions let guests access their own content from smartphones, tablets, laptops and other portable devices to project it to the TV in their room, through Screen Casting.

It also suggests applications for safety, by broadcasting emergency alerts directly on room TVs, as well as converting TV monitors into digital marketing campaign players.

Chris Dinallo, CTO & general manager of ADB vuTyme says:

“Hoteliers are finding that they can use the IRE (In-Room Entertainment) system to do much more than provide guests with television programming.

“Research shows a big chunk of hotels’ IT spending next year will be used towards improving digital customer engagement. As guests become more accustomed to accessing information when and where they want it, hotels must invest in technologies that meet those demands.”

Related reading:

How Hilton sees digital today and in the hotel of the future

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