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Booking connecting hotel rooms isn’t a new concept, but Hilton’s new Confirmed Connecting Rooms offering — announced exclusively at Skift’s Hospitality & Marketing Summit Tuesday — aims to make the reservations process less arduous for travelers who increasingly have more options to travel beyond the walls of a traditional hotel room.
The technology enables guests to confirm connecting rooms directly through Hilton.com or the Hilton Honors app compared to what has been the process in the past: calling ahead to the hotel or potentially not being able to guarantee adjoining spaces until arrival.
Hilton’s research showed as much as half of travelers booking trips together consider connecting rooms an important part of making a booking decision. The company expects that want will grow higher during the travel recovery and busy summer travel season for leisure travelers heading to resort destinations or theme parks like Disney World.
The move comes as short-term rental platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo grew even more in popularity during the pandemic, as leisure travelers sought more space when looking for a place to stay on vacation. Though, some of that advantage was short-lived, presenting an opportunity for hotel companies to reconfigure and offer some of what drove travelers to vacation rentals in the first place.
“We definitely were paying attention to what customers were telling us what they were looking for: the ability to connect, the ability to have flexible space, and the ability to have common areas where they can congregate with their friends or with their families,” Mike Gathright, senior vice president and head of customer experience at Hilton, told Skift ahead of the launch. “We were definitely paying attention to guest needs and wants and what they were telling us in terms of how they were traveling and what they were looking for in their travel experience.”
Confirmed Connecting Rooms will be offered at all 18 of Hilton’s brands. Motto, where the program was originally engineered, even has an expanded connecting room concept where guests can book up to nine connecting room configurations for group travel.
“We knew there were a lot of needs around flexibility, especially room flexibility,” Gathright said. “If you’re traveling with your family or traveling with friends and extended family, you will now have that opportunity to confirm [connecting rooms] at the time of booking.”