Is Digital Key the future of hotel check-ins?
A newly launched hotel overlooking the Old Trafford cricket pitch is leading the way in digital adoption.
The four-star 150-bedroom Hilton Garden Inn is part of a £60 million redevelopment of Emirates Old Trafford and includes 85 rooms with balconies which look out over Lancashire County Cricket Club’s world-famous pitch.
General manager Michael Hewson took BusinessCloud on a tour of the hotel and explained the trail-blazing digital check-in system used by loyalty card holders.
“Hilton have had e-check-in for a number of years. It’s very similar to flying: you check in online in advance, pick your room and let us know what time you’re arriving,” he said.
“Hilton has now taken it up a level. We’re using a system called Digital Key for Hilton Honors members: on the morning of your stay the front desk team sends a digital key to your Hilton app and you can literally use your phone to access the hotel.
“As your approaching your room, from a metre away, you hit the button – and the door unlocks.
“It’s proving very popular and gives guests access to various parts of the hotel, such as the gym. There is no hassle of queuing at the front desk to get your key – it’s a simple and efficient system.
“I don’t believe any of the other major players are doing this.”
(l-r) Daniel Gidney, chief exec, Lancashire CCC; Nick Smart, VP development for north & west Europe, Hilton; David Hodgkiss, chairman, Lancashire CCC; Tal Schefer, VP regional head, focused service brands Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hilton
Hewson says that tech is very part of Hilton’s worldwide strategy.
“This has been launched globally, but we’re the first in the UK to adopt it,” he said.
“All of the new properties we build now have to go digital – and all Hilton hotels have to convert to the digital system by the middle of next year.”
Emirates Old Trafford has reinvented itself as more than a cricket venue. The new hotel has created more than 70 new permanent jobs with the venue now hosting music concerts, conferences and other events alongside sporting fixtures such as the recent England v West Indies one-day international.
The recent launch completes the next phase of Lancashire CCC’s long-term strategic plan to develop the venue and create a sustainable business with diverse market offering. The venue’s events and conference business had a record year of revenue in 2016 of £3.7 million.
This year has seen the likes of The Courteeners, Radiohead and the One Love Manchester concert entertain sell-out crowds of 50,000.
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