Who Needs a Front Desk? Starwood Hotels Launches Keyless Entry at Hotels

The keycard may soon be a thing of the past. By early 2015, the chain plans to offer Bluetooth-enabled mobile key technology in 150 hotels. Not too far behind is Hilton, which has similar plans.

The future of hotel stays will start and end with your phone, and one chain plans to be at the forefront of that. On Monday, Starwood Hotels announced that through an update to its Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) app, it would start rolling out keyless room entry at its chains by early 2015. Covering hotels within its Westin, Sheraton, Aloft, and W brands (among others), the company is starting with 10 hotels in major international markets such as Beijing, Doha, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and New York.

“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,” Starwood President and CEO Frits van Paasschen said in a news release. “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.”

The system, available for iOS and Android devices, would allow members of the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program to book a reservation at the hotel and, if they choose to opt in, receive a Bluetooth “key” through the SPG app when the room is ready. The company teamed with the Swedish lock manufacturer Assa Abloy to make the functionality possible.

The announcement follows one in July  by Hilton, which plans to allow customers to pick specific rooms directly via its app. Starwood’s own Aloft chain began testing mobile check-ins earlier this year.

Not to be outdone, though, Hilton announced on Monday that it would launch a pilot program for mobile room keys of its own starting in early 2015.   It plans to expand the rollout throughout the year.

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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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