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Hilton unrolls expanded Uber integration as hospitality partnerships thrive

Hilton Worldwide and ride-sharing service Uber are furthering their collaboration by enabling the former’s loyalty members to book a ride directly from the HHonors application, highlighting the lucrative potential of relevant partnerships on mobile.

In what is reportedly a first for the hospitality sector, Uber customers will be able to view their check-in details while en route to their hotels, while Hilton HHonors members will receive the option of ordering an Uber ride directly from the HHonors app. The expanded partnership comes several months after the initial collaboration, which incorporated Uber-powered ride reminder tools and local activity guides into the hotel giant’s rewards app.

“By further bringing the Uber and Hilton HHonors apps together, this expanded partnership is making travel even simpler by providing intuitive and timely information to guests as they use both apps,” said Rich DiStefano, senior director of mobile product innovation at Hilton Worldwide. “This results in a more streamlined travel experience for Hilton guests and Uber riders both on and off-property, enabling access to hotel stay information while on the Uber app and transportation reservations via the Hilton HHonors app.”

Building on existing foundations
Hilton is aiming to cement its status as a mobile leader in the hospitality industry by extending a partnership with a highly relevant platform, popular ride-sharing app Uber. Engaging in cross-partnerships with complementary organizations, such as transportation services, is a smart strategy for any hotel marketer to leverage.

The newfound expansion offers mobile users even more convenience than its previous incarnation did by letting them book an Uber ride without having to leave the HHonors app. Similarly, Uber riders can pull up their hotel check-in information without exiting the ride-sharing app.

When a customer’s reservation time approaches, the Uber app will set the respective hotel as the final destination. Once in a taxi, the traveler may press the “view stay details” button in the Uber app, which will then seamlessly bring him or her to the HHonors app.

There, guests can check-in to the property, select their room and ask for a Digital Key, which enables them to use their smartphone in lieu of a physical room key card.

Reaping positive results
The integrated apps reflect the next step in the two companies’ partnership, which has resulted in positive feedback and high usage from consumers.

Hilton first ushered in the initial partnership with Uber last September by allowing guests to set ride reminders, request vehicles to and from nearby locations as well as explore local scenes via a digital guide powered by Uber within the HHonors loyalty app (see story).

Within four months of the collaboration’s kick-off, nearly one-fifth of HHonors users who engaged with the app before or after their hotel stay used the Local Scene feature. This tool offers travelers a list of popular venues and restaurants within a specific geographical radius, based on most-frequented destinations of Uber riders in that location.

Consequently, Local Scene rose to be one of the top-performing features in the HHonors app.

Additionally, consumers set more than 2,000 ride reminders – notifications synced with hotel bookings that remind guests to order a ride to and from their property of choice – within the first two weeks of the partnership’s launch.

Fifty-eight percent of users took advantage of the ride reminder tool again, proving strong repeat engagement.

Hilton is not the only major resort brand capitalizing on the lucrative potential of relevant cross-partnerships.

Several weeks ago, Starwood Hotels & Resorts furthered its loyalty program perks via a collaboration with Major League Baseball, giving Starwood Preferred Guest members the ability to play a responsively designed game for a chance to win World Series tickets (see story).

Consumers appreciate receiving exclusive rewards from hospitality brands’ loyalty programs, even if the prizes are not directly related to travel. Rather, these types of partnerships – whether they are for loyalty members only, or convenience-driven efforts to entice the general public – thrive due to the increased options individuals receive.

“We are always looking at new ways to enhance our Hilton HHonors app and its features in order to simplify the travel experience for our guests,” Mr. DiStefano said.