After about two years of a massively successful launch in bringing Digital Key to guests in hundreds of hotels around the world, we were looking at ways to improve the feature and increase engagement.
The Problem:
With the existing opt-in flow for guest’s being provisioned a Digital Key, they were required to use the app’s Digital Check-In feature, otherwise they would only be able to check-in and receive a physical keycard from a hotel’s front desk, quickly becoming the hospitality industry’s version of ‘snail mail’. This meant a large chunk of guests were missing out on one of Hilton’s biggest stay experience innovations.
The Process:
The biggest hurdle to pass on the way to allowing users to request a digital key at any point in time during their stay was security. The initial flow was designed with security in mind, as business leaders were wary of any situation that would compromise the safety of our users.

So right off the bat, a multidisciplinary team worked together to figure out how we could reorganize the validation and provisioning process to make it simple, quick and easy for a user. This required a lot of data analyzing and mapping and working closely with development teams to adapt the existing code construction.

Throughout this process I played the key user advocate and made it my mission to ‘cut the fat’ on wait times and various states, pushing for a kind of magic for the front-facing interface where requesting a key and having it be delivered on their phone would happen almost simultaneously.
- User research
- User flows
- Data mapping
- iOS + Android wireframes
- Review and presentation materials

The Result:
The number of guests requesting and using a digital key grew exponentially since the launch of this feature, and guests seem to really like the options they have to request at any point during their stay. I like to point to actual user feedback, so here’s an excerpt from a recent app review: “You never have to worry about where you put your key again (perfect for the forgetful person, like me).”