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Hilton fluffs the pillows for Uber’s arrival into HHonors app

Hilton Worldwide is opening its doors to usher in a partnership with ridesharing service Uber by enabling 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 application.

Uber is adding Hilton to its extensive repertoire of brand partnerships, but will likely find more value in this specific integration due to the relationship between hotel guests and ridesharing apps. Hilton customers will find relevancy in being able to set ride reminders for offsite events and discovering local nightlife spots courtesy of Uber’s mobile guide, thereby setting the stage for a fruitful and lucrative alliance.

“Uber shares our customer-centric mindset and vision for making the travel experience easier and more seamless,” said Rich DiStefano, senior director of Web and mobile product management at Hilton Worldwide, McLean, VA. “By partnering with Uber, Hilton is continuing to take the friction out of the travel planning process and making unfamiliar cities even more accessible to our guests.

“By better connecting travelers to their destination, we’re helping them have a personalized, local experience.”

Streamlining travel experiences
Hilton guests will now be able to take advantage of a plethora of options to streamline their travel experiences and turn their smartphones into mobile concierges. Consumers who have downloaded Hilton’s mobile application may set “Uber Ride Reminders” with the tap of a finger.

If a user is dining out at a restaurant in town and sets a Ride Reminder, the platform will send a text or push notification to alert him or her to request an Uber vehicle. The hotel’s address will automatically appear in the Uber app, making the process simpler for guests.

The two brands are driving awareness of this feature by gifting any Hilton customer who signs up for the ridesharing service a $20 discount off his or her first ride.

Additionally, Uber is furthering the recent trend of mobile concierge apps for hotels by powering a feature titled “Local Scene,” which will be available within the Hilton HHonors rewards app. Later this month, consumers staying at Hilton properties in 20 major United States cities will be able to pull up the digital guide section.

It will highlight the top local venues most frequented by Uber customers in each area, providing HHonors members with exclusive insights from fellow travelers on what to explore.

“As someone who has had trouble getting a cab on two recent mornings on the East Coast and West Coast, anything that eases the worry of missing a flight sounds good to me,” said Jeff Hasen, co-founder of Gotta Mobilize, Seattle. “Many of Hilton’s guests, especially the road warriors, have Uber.”

Consumers will likely respond positively to this feature, as more and more hotel guests are turning to mobile for help on locating the best dining spots, nightlife and activities. An increasing amount of hospitality brands are rolling out their own branded or third-party concierge apps to help guests make these choices and offer a more personalized stay.

Uber’s omnipresence
While Uber is seemingly becoming more omnipresent in major brands’ marketing campaigns, the partnership with Hilton will offer real utility for travelers. Furthermore, it may help Uber undercut competition away from other ridesharing apps, such as Lyft, that are attempting to make their mark in certain U.S. cities.

Uber has recently forayed into sporadic partnerships with brands including Capital One, but is likely set for the long haul with its Hilton alliance. Hilton customers who previously had no affiliation to a ridesharing service now have extra incentive to choose Uber for the duration of their hotel stay, and beyond.

Hilton could also benefit from offering HHonors members additional rewards points for using the Uber service.

In February, Starwood Hotels and Resorts teamed up with Uber to offer the hotel brand’s Preferred Guest members the ability to earn more rewards points each time they take a ride with an Uber vehicle, displaying that cross-partnerships are imperative for marketers in the transportation and hospitality industries (see story).

Nevertheless, Hilton has been bolstering its mobile strategy to stay competitive in the travel sector. As the brand rolls out its digital check-in function to more than 4,100 of its properties around the globe, more than one-third of guests are embracing the ability to use their mobile device to bypass the front desk (see story).

“We’re most excited for our guests to experience the Local Scene feature,” Hilton Worldwide’s Mr. DiStefano said. “More and more, travelers self-identify as ‘foodies’ and view dining as a unique way to explore the local culture.

“We believe Local Scene can be a meaningful way to empower these travelers with the inside scoop and the ability to personalize their experience. Plus, this is the first time any company has leveraged Uber riders’ most frequented destinations to provide local recommendations – something we’re really proud of.”