Hilton Tallinn Park Estonia
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Elite Upgrades 72 Hours in Advance and Digital Key Sharing Announced by Hilton

These are the latest two innovations in technology by Hilton.

In the latest in a series of technology innovations which are designed to enhance the experience of guests at participating hotel and resort properties worldwide, eligible elite members of the Hilton Honors frequent guest loyalty program will be notified of room upgrades as much as 72 hours prior to arrival; and the Digital Key to rooms can now be shared.

Elite Upgrades 72 Hours in Advance and Digital Key Sharing Announced by Hilton

Digital Key was first introduced to the Hilton HHonors mobile software application program for portable electronic devices by Hilton on Tuesday, August 11, 2015. By using Digital Key, you have the option to bypass the front desk of the hotel or resort property and access your room — as well as any other area of the hotel which requires a key — directly via your portable electronic device, which you use as the key to your room.

The technology is now available at almost 5,400 of greater than 6,600 hotel and resort properties — or greater than 80 percent of the portfolio of Hilton — worldwide. Digital Key has been used to open the doors of greater than 135 million guest rooms; and it has reduced plastic waste by 125 tons, furthering the Travel with Purpose commitment by Hilton to cut its environmental footprint in half by 2030.

a screenshot of a phone
Click on the graphic for an enlarged version. Source: Hilton.

In the coming months, Digital Key Share will roll out globally to all hotel and resort properties which currently offer Digital Key technology:

  • The primary guest can share his or her active Digital Key with up to four additional people or devices from the Hilton Honors mobile software application program
  • For the secondary guest to gain access to the Digital Key, he or she must:
    1. Receive an invitation from the primary guest
    2. Be logged into the Hilton Honors mobile software application program, and
    3. Pass a security check that occurs instantly in the background
  • Guests who accept a share will have access to the room and property throughout the duration of the stay and — for security purposes — cannot further share the Digital Key

“With Digital Key, our HHonors members can access not only their hotel room via their smartphone, but other areas of the hotel that require a key for guest access, such as the fitness center, pool or even parking garage”, Dana Shefsky said during this interview with me in September of 2015 when she was the director of digital product innovation at Hilton Worldwide and Hilton Honors was still called Hilton HHonors. “Using Digital Key does not affect an HHonors member’s chances of receiving a space available upgrade. Guests who use our digital check-in on the day before or day of arrival can choose a room based on the room type they booked. Should an upgrade become available, the hotel will move the guest into the new, upgraded room. Hotels do their best to upgrade guests as often as possible. Availability is dynamic and always changing, so hotels take this fluidity into account when determining if they are able to offer a complimentary room upgrade.”

Speaking of upgrades…

Elite Upgrades 72 Hours in Advance For Gold and Diamond Members

Hilton Tallinn Park Estonia
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Complimentary upgrades at the time of checking in at a hotel or resort property — when space is available — is one of the most important perks of the Hilton Honors frequent guest loyalty program; and that benefit now has even more value, as members who have earned either Gold elite status or Diamond elite status will be notified of their complimentary upgrades 72 hours prior to arrival by Hilton when possible.

Each members who has been officially notified with early confirmation of receiving an upgrade will then be able to choose his or her upgraded room directly via the Hilton Honors mobile software application program, which can be downloaded for free.

The brands at which upgraded rooms are eligible and offered include:

  • Canopy by Hilton
  • Conrad Hotels & Resorts
  • Curio Collection by Hilton
  • DoubleTree by Hilton
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts
  • LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • Signia by Hilton
  • Tapestry Collection by Hilton
  • Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts

Final Boarding Call

Hilton Tallinn Park Estonia
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Hilton became the first major lodging company to introduce a reservation booking experience which allows individuals to easily book reservations for — and instantly confirm — at least two connecting rooms, as guests will no longer need to wait until checking in at the front desk to confirm a reservation with connecting rooms. Confirmed Connecting Rooms by Hilton has started to be implemented at hotel and resort properties worldwide; and it will be available when booking reservations at participating hotel and resort properties within any of the 18 brands of its portfolio…

…and Hilton is now the first major lodging company to introduce technology which allows guests to share a Digital Key to his or her hotel room.

I have never used a digital key at any hotel or resort property; so I cannot attest to its convenience.

I am definitely looking forward to being notified of upgraded rooms in advance — although it somewhat takes away from the surprise of being assigned an upgraded room, as has happened to me numerous times. For example, here is a video of my experience with discovering being upgraded to a suite at the Hilton Tallinn Park hotel property.

All photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

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