Hilton injects spontaneity into guests? stays via beacon-enabled mobile guides

Hilton is enabling its hotel guests to receive insider tips on resort amenities, places of interest and various activities by leveraging a new in-application Fun Finder travel guide, which uses Wi-Fi, GPS technology and beacons to provide on-site recommendations based on users? preferences.

The resort brand is inviting consumers to add a dose of spontaneity to their vacations by taking advantage of the activities and amenities suggested to them by Fun Finder, a new tool available within the Hilton HHonors mobile app. Users will be able to leverage the interactive platform to find the latest specials, such as discounted spa services or children?s activities, and add more enjoyment to their hotel stays ? thanks to their smartphones.

?Fun Finder helps to bring the resort to life for each guest,? said Rich DiStefano, senior director of mobile products at Hilton. ?Once guests opt-in to Fun Finder, they are prompted to take a pre-arrival survey to share their preferences after booking their stay.

?From those preferences, their location and the time of day, Fun Finder alerts Hilton HHonors members of different activities or specials that are available to them,? he said. ?For example, if you are traveling with your family at Hilton Hawaiian Village, you might receive a notification sharing that four seats have opened up for the luau?s evening show.

?You can explore the property and make dinner, entertainment or spa reservations all before you step on the plane.?

Customized, on-the-spot recommendations
Hilton?s Fun Finder platform offers insider resort information, special offers and personalized recommendations based on a pre-arrival survey given to guests, as well as their departure and arrival details.

The platform is currently live at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort and Hilton Anatole, with a wider rollout expected to occur in the near future.

Fun Finder acts as a personal mobile travel guide for users, leveraging Wi-Fi, GPS technology and beacons to accurately pinpoint an individual?s exact location and serve relevant content to him or her.

?Fun Finder allows us to personalize our guests? stay on an even deeper level,? Mr. DiStefano said. ?Beacons have been installed in high traffic areas and key places of interest.

?The combination of GPS, Wi-Fi and beacon technology determines a guest?s exact location, while internal algorithms share the optimal walking path, helping to navigate the guest throughout the vast resort property,? he said. ?The technology provides real-time analytics and insights to help us pinpoint which information would be helpful to the specific guest at their exact location at that time of day.

?For example, we can inform guests at the super pool that happy hour has started and what the drink specials are for the day. Or, if a guest just arrived in the main lobby, we can share a welcome message and let them know the activities available that evening.?

The platform will learn what guests enjoy over time and will also offer recommendations based on information collected within the pre-arrival survey.

For instance, Hilton HHonors app users who are staying at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort and opt into Fun Finder may be able to receive a complimentary island walking tour. Meanwhile, those who attend the Waikiki Starlight Luau could earn a free drink special at the bar.

Dallas? Hilton Anatole provides HHonors members with push notifications regarding happy hours at the pool?s swim-up bar. Additionally, consumers can also get more information on the historical artifacts and art housed in the resort?s on-site museum.

Hilton is attempting to make it easier for guests to engage in spontaneous plans and get the most out of the resorts they choose.

Fun Finder also provides navigation capabilities that enable users to find optimal walking paths to their final destination, a feature that could be useful at larger properties.

?With Wayfinder technology, guests will never get lost,? Mr. DiStefano said. ?Like many resorts, the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort has 22 acres of restaurants, activities and events, which can be difficult to navigate.

?Fun Finder can direct guests throughout the property by guiding them from their current location to their destination,? he said. ?Running late for morning yoga? Just find your yoga class on Fun Finder and hit ?navigate.?

?Fun Finder will show you the most direct route to the class, so you don?t miss your morning sun salutation.?

Reimagining guest experiences
Additionally, guests can use Fun Finder to message with Hilton team members and on-site staff in real time. For instance, if an individual wants to secure a dinner reservation at a hotel restaurant or ask for extra pillows for his or her room, he or she can input that request into the in-app platform.

On the business side, Fun Finder will allow Hilton to receive more valuable data regarding customer behavior and most desired activities and amenities.

?It?s a huge leap forward for the hospitality industry,? Mr. DiStefano said. ?We?re artfully blending technology with exceptional experiences in a way that gives travelers a smarter, more personalized stay.?

The brand has rolled out a slew of mobile-first travel iterations in the last few months.

Curio ? A Collection by Hilton recently ramped up awareness of its boutique properties by teaming up with musical artist Gavin DeGraw to create a series of mobile-optimized city guides, showcasing how hospitality brands are leveraging mobile devices as travel concierges (see story).

However, other resort marketers have also attempted to transform consumers? mobile devices into on-the-go travel companions with various brand partnerships, campaigns and platforms.

Several weeks ago, InterContinental Hotels Group?s Holiday Inn brand teamed up with digital road trip planner Roadtrippers to invite travelers to create destination guides for a chance to win a vacation, highlighting the potency of collaborations with third-party travel platforms (see story).

Ultimately, Hilton is likely to see an uptick in the number of new HHonors member signups following the Fun Finder rollout ? especially if the platform hits locations other than Texas and Hawaii soon.

?We have plans to expand to more resorts; however, we don?t have a definitive list as of yet,? Mr. DiStefano said. ?Our properties vary in size and amenities; therefore, we?ll need to explore unique use cases that provide value at scale.?