Hilton is testing out various types of technology at its Innovation Gallery to enhance the guest stay and also is trying out different tech-based methods to help with company recruitment and training.
MCLEAN, Virginia—Founder Conrad Hilton made innovation part of Hilton’s DNA. It’s the driving force behind everything Hilton does, from day-to-day operations to the company’s mission to enhance the guest experience, President and CEO Chris Nassetta said.
Hilton recently announced its Connected Room platform, which allows guests to personalize their hotel stay by controlling things like temperature, lighting and the TV from their mobile device through the Hilton Honors app. The platform is currently in the beta testing phase at Hilton’s Innovation Gallery at the Hilton McLean Tyson Corner hotel in Virginia, which was launched in November.
During a recent tour of the Innovation Gallery, Nassetta told attendees that he’s not worried about what Hilton’s been doing over the last 10 years, but instead “what we’re going to do in the next 10 to 20 years to even better serve our customers.” He added that the company’s goal is to innovate products, sub products, service and more.
“I know there’s a tendency in today’s world, and for good reason, to look around and see the robot and think (everything is about) tech,” he said. “…The tech sharing economy sucks all of the oxygen out of the room; that’s all we want to talk about, but I’m here to tell you for us, for 100 years and to this day, innovation is a (balanced) equation, and that is making sure we’re innovative with products,” he said.
Nassetta added that there’s a unique opportunity to connect with guests digitally, even when they’re not staying at a Hilton property.
“We are and will always be in the physical business … but there’s a huge digital element of it … and how do we connect those two things in a way that resonates with customers?” He said. “While they’re with us, we make their experience better, easier, more fun, more functional, but more importantly, how do we use technology in the digital side of the business when they’re not with us. … In today’s world, if we’re smart, there’s so many ways to connect with customers when they’re not with us.”
Retention and training
Hilton is also leveraging new technology in hiring and training its employees.
Matt Schuyler, chief human resources officer at Hilton, said the company has had success so far with using artificial intelligence to gather information about potential hires.
“It’s cutting down our cycle time to recruit talent. It’s easier for the candidates because they don’t have to travel, and the accuracy is off the charts better than it was when we were doing a lot of this manually,” he said. “We’re just getting started; it’s only going to get better.”
Hilton is working with one vendor that uses an artificial intelligence engine to scrape the internet for everything it can find on a job candidate in a matter of seconds, Schuyler said. Hilton asks candidates if they mind if the AI engine sifts through their email accounts, and 75% don’t mind, he said.
“What it does when it looks at your Gmail is it looks at your syntax, it looks at types of things you’re talking about, it looks at you sentence structure, and it gives us … cognitive information on whether or not you’re a good writer, a good thinker, you’re talking about the things that are important to us, what are your values, what type of persons are you associating with, what types of websites have you visited,” he said.
Hilton is also working with partners to train new hires via virtual reality, Schuyler said.
“You can put on the goggles, you can walk back of house at a hotel, you can plate a roomservice cart, and all the while you’re learning how to do that with a smile on your face in a hospitable way and so forth,” he said. “(It’s) pretty cool stuff, and we’re just getting started with it.”
Editor’s note: Hilton paid for airfare expenses and two roomnights at the Canopy by Hilton Washington DC The Wharf. Complete editorial control was at the discretion of the Hotel News Now editorial team; Hilton had no influence on the coverage provided.