Hilton Worldwide has recently launched its 'Digital Key' within the hotel group's mobile loyalty app, offering HHonors members the option to bypass the hotel check-in counter and access their rooms, as well as any other area of the hotel that requires a key, directly via the Hilton HHonors app on their smartphone. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

By early 2016, HHonors members will be able to use their smartphones as their room key to enter more than 170,000 rooms at 250 U.S. properties within the Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts and Canopy by Hilton brands.

Since Hilton's introduction of digital check-in with room selection last July - an industry first - HHonors members have digitally checked-in more than 5 million times to date. In that same time period, the HHonors app has been downloaded more than 2 million times, and customer feedback on digital check-in has been overwhelmingly positive, with 93% of guests saying they've felt satisfied or extremely satisfied with the experience.

"HHonors members can use digital check-in and room selection at more than 4,100 properties globally - and those who have used it have shared exceptional feedback," said Geraldine Calpin, senior vice president and global head of Digital for Hilton Worldwide.

Digital Key provides guests with an additional convenient and secure way to access their room. Beginning the day before arrival, HHonors members who booked directly with Hilton may select their desired room on their mobile device using digital check-in and will be asked if they'd like a Digital Key during their stay. If the guest elects to use a Digital Key, it is issued as soon as the guest's room is ready the day of their arrival.

When Diamond, Gold and Silver HHonors members arrive at the hotel, they can head straight to their room - without stopping at the front desk* - since they already digitally checked-in through the HHonors app. When the guest approaches their hotel room, they can simply press the virtual "unlock" button on the app to unlock the door.

The Hilton HHonors mobile app itself provides a number of benefits to members of the programme who book directly though the app, Hilton.com, the Hilton reservations call centre or via Hilton's corporate travel partners. In addition to checking in digitally, selecting their own room from a floor plan or list and using their smartphone as their key, members can further customize their stay via the app by requesting amenities - like extra pillows, snacks or drinks - before arrival, or at any other point during their stay.

With 45 million members, HHonors offers hundreds of ways to earn and redeem Points. Members can redeem their Points for free nights, premium merchandise, charitable contributions, or unique events through the HHonors auction platform (hhonors.com/auctions), such as exclusive artist experiences and hotel concert events with Live Nation or a race experience with the McLaren-Honda Formula 1 team. There is no cost to join.