Hotel Key Out, Smartphone App In

The plastic hotel keycard, that credit card-size device that can easily get demagnetized or lost in the briefcase of a harried business traveler, may be on its way out. Starwood Hotels has announced that it will be introducing technology to allow guests to unlock their rooms with an app on their smartphones.

Starwood is only implementing the technology at a handful of hotels under the W, Element and Aloft brands to start. The hospitality company said it will expand that to an additional 140 hotels by the middle of 2015. Starwood also owns the Sheraton, Westin and St. Regis hotel chains.

Check-in with an App

The new system, known as SPG Keyless, could significantly simplify the check-in process. Guests must register their phones through the app and allow push notifications. After booking their reservations at keyless hotels, the app will notify them once their rooms are available.

Instead of heading to the front desk, the app will then update the guest with their room number and a Bluetooth key for the room. To unlock their door, guests will hold their phone up to the roomEUs Bluetooth lock. The app will go live Wednesday, November 5.

EUNot 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,EU said Frits van Paasschen, StarwoodEUs President and CEO.

In addition to booking reservations and unlocking rooms, Starwood said it is also working on additional capabilities for SPG Keyless to EUempower guests to control aspects of their stay.EU Potentially, the app could be used for services such as purchasing movies and room service, or to contact hotel staff directly.

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