- Hilton added a feature to its Hilton Honors mobile app that gives the hotel chain's loyalty members access to employee suggestions of restaurants, attractions and neighborhoods to visit. The Explore feature will be available on Sept. 12 in 28 markets among 1,000 locations globally, per a statement.
- Foursquare is providing the location technology for the Explore feature to help Hilton customers navigate their hotel's surroundings. Foursquare's Places API provides updated information such as ratings, features, photos and hours of places to visit.
- Hilton's employees who live in the area and know it best have hand-picked their favorite food, nightlife, shopping and activities for hotel guests to try. The Explore feature has categorized recommendations to appeal to different audience groups, including families searching for kid-friendly restaurants and businesspeople seeking more formal dining.
Hilton's Explore feature is the latest mobile-based service that the hotel chain is providing to members of its loyalty program. The more personalized recommendations from hotel employees helps to supplement information that hotel guests may seek from the front desk, while adding Foursquare's navigation capability and real-time data about nearby venues. Foursquare claims that the more-than 50 million people who have used its apps have provided more than 95 million tips about places to visit.
Hilton is among the traditional hospitality brands that seek new ways to improve their services to compete with startups like Airbnb that let people rent out their homes or spare bedrooms to travelers seeking lower-cost or "more authentic" lodging. The personalized recommendations from Hilton employees may help to deepen that sense of authenticity.
Hilton's mobile app also lets guests pre-select hotel rooms before they check in, choose to receive a digital key to access their room with their smartphone and complete their check-in process. The chain is in the process of rolling out a Connected Room to more of its hotels so that customers can use a mobile device to control TV programming, lighting and temperature controls. Hilton in April partnered with Showtime to let hotel guests stream the premium cable network's content to specially equipped rooms at no extra cost.