Hotel Room Key… There’s an App for That!
Regular visitors to hotels might have wondered what it would like to just skip the hassle of checking in. Having to wait in line at reception just to let them know you made it there, and be handed a plastic card that will probably get lost or broken. And then have to juggle your luggage in one hand with the silly card in another just to get into the room in the first place… What if there was an app for that?
Well, now there will be – if you’re a guest at an Aloft, Element or W Hotel, owned by the hotel group Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. From today, 10 of Starwood’s hotels will be installed with the technology to open your hotel room door with just your smartphone.
The way it works is that a guests books their reservation at one of the participating hotels. They are then invited to enroll their phone in the keyless system by installing the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) app. SPG is a loyalty scheme that guests from the three hotels – Aloft, Element and W – can participate in.
Up to 24 hours before the guest is due to arrive at the hotel, a “key” is sent to their phone in the form of some encrypted code. This is sent alongside a message that informs the guest of the room they will be staying in. Then, when the guest arrives at the hotel, they find their room, hold their phone to the keyless lock, the door unlocks and the guest can enter their room.
There are a many great benefits to having the key to your hotel room embedded in your phone. For one, it means fewer things a person has to keep an eye on – they are already used to checking for their phone. Plus, their phone is (probably) a lot bigger than a swipe card, so generally less likely to be lost. Swipe cards can also be in the habit of becoming demagnetised by other items in the guest’s pocket or bag, which isn’t likely to happen with a smartphone. There is also the skipping having to check in and out, as mentioned before.
And while some concerns have been raised about how secure a system like this could be, the development company have made their assurances. HID Global, the company who developed the tech, said that SPG Keyless has its own secure and encrypted channel. This should ensure that the innovation cannot be abused by thieves or hackers.
Starwood is hoping to roll the technology out to the almost 150 hotels in the three chains across the next few months.
It is obviously a great move for the hotel and resorts group because it is also being taken up by huge rival chain, Hilton Hotels, early next year.
In a statement, Starwood CEO Frits van Paasschen explained that personalisation and innovation are two pillars at the forefront of everything his company does, and the keyless system is a perfect representation of that.
“We are excited to be the first in our industry to debut this new technology,” he said. “[It allows] us to further deliver on the wants and needs of our early adopter, hyper-mobile guests who use their smartphones for just about every aspect of their lives.”