This Major Hotel Chain Now Lets You Access Your Room by Smartphone
Starwood just became the first hotel chain to allow guests to use their smartphones as keys to their hotel rooms.
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Soon, you may never need to keep track of your hotel room keys again. That is, as long as you don't lose your iPhone.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts introduced the first mobile entry system in the industry on Monday, allowing guests to use their smartphones to unlock their hotel rooms instead of keys. When guests arrive at the hotel, they no longer even need to check in. They can just go directly to their room and unlock their door with a tap of their smartphone.
The system, called SPG Keyless, debuted today in 10 hotels in cities including Beijing, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles and Doha. The system will roll out in Aloft, Element and W Hotels worldwide, with plans to implement the system in 150 hotels by early 2015.
"Not only does SPG Keyless alleviate a perennial pain point for travelers, but it also transforms the first interaction with our guests from one that is transactional to something more personal," Frits van Paasschen, Starwood's CEO, said in a statement. "This is just the beginning, because through mobile we have the opportunity to marry high tech and high touch to transform the hotel experience in many exciting ways."
Not every guest will be forced to swap out hotel keys for smartphones. They service is only available for SPG members who book a hotel room through a Starwood channel and register their phone through the SPG App. One day before arrival, the guests have the chance to opt-in to SPG Keyless, which will automatically check in guests and provide their room numbers, cutting the front desk out of the process.
As mobile payments are poised to become the new normal at restaurant chains, hotels may soon follow suit with increasingly high-tech apps. Starwood reports it is currently working on innovations for the next wave of upgrades for the SPG App, and Hilton reportedly plans to roll out mobile room keys at the end of 2015 in some U.S. properties.