The new technology, which follows upgrades in Hilton hotels across the Atlantic, is expected to provide a tenfold increase in bandwidth and “consistent, high-quality” internet access in 100 UK and Ireland properties as of autumn 2011.
The move comes as hotels in the UK increasingly aim to improve their technology offering to a more demanding contemporary guest.
According to some of the leading CEOs of hotels around the country, a focus on technology is crucial in order to keep abreast with the industry and with today’s customers.
“Technology will be a necessary enabler in our business. It’ll take a larger place and will speed up all our processes. We need to learn more about it and educate our people about it. If we don’t, we’ve missed the boat,” said hoteliers in a panel discussion held last year.
“Free Wi-Fi is absolutely in the future. People want it and we’re going to have to go that way.”
Technology to match hospitality
Robert Webb, chief information officer at Hilton Worldwide, said the group wants to “provide guests with access to the very latest technology”, in the same league as the hospitality offered in its hotels.
"This deal builds on last year's agreement with AT&T in the United States and Canada as we look to partner with the very best technology providers around the world."
Hilton’s new agreement with BT Openzone will provide Wi-Fi access, high-speed fixed line, conference and event services in over 17,000 bedrooms, public areas and meeting and conference spaces.
However, the group will not be offering Wi-Fi free of charge to all guests. Only Gold and Diamond Hilton HHonors members, as well as BT Total broadband customers, will get access to the free service.
BT Openzone, which will oversee network operations and provide network support and monitoring, will use an 'above property', centralised cloud computing architecture in holes across Hilton’s UK and Ireland brands, including Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton.
"The growing number of travellers with mobile devices such as tablet computers and smartphones, means guests increasingly expect to be able to log on wherever they are and with a fast and reliable connection,” said Chris Bruce, CEO at BT Openzone.