Hilton scraps room keys in favour of smartphones

Losing a room key whilst having a night cap at the hotel room bar is set to become a thing of the past thanks to that trusty smartphone in your pocket.

Related: Report: Poor Wi-Fi risks repeat hotel business

Hilton is rolling out technology to six hotels this summer that will allow guests to turn their smartphone into a room key and it plans for all of its properties to have the technology installed by 2016.

"We are giving customers unprecedented choice and control at scale, and in the palm of their hands,” said Christopher Nassetta, chief executive of Hilton, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It adds to a technology push by the internationally renowned hotel brand that has already seen it allow guests to check in and out of hotels using a smartphone or tablet and the new move is thought to be targeting a younger clientele.

The hotel industry is adapting to a world that is increasingly being dominated by online sales and customers using mobile devices. One of the clearest indicators is data released by Marriott that showed over 40 per cent of visitors view its site on a mobile – up from one per cent four years ago.

Another example of Hilton’s mobile use came with a guest booking a standard room at the Hilton Miami Downtown on a mobile device that was offered a junior suite upgrade for just $25 [£14.76] more – a saving of around $40 [£23.62] from the regular price.

Hilton’s push under the stewardship of Nassetta began in 2007 when the group was acquired by Blackstone Group and since then it has invested some $550 million [£324 million] in technology.

Related: US Secret Service warns that hotels are cyber attack havens

Giving customers the chance to use a mobile device for certain tasks is also allowing companies to make savings and Nassetta admitted that “over time there is the opportunity to gain efficiencies".