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Starwood makes it possible to check-in and unlock a hotel room using your phone

Starwood Hotel group is preparing to roll out a new feature that will allow preferred guests to skip the check-in process and unlock their rooms through their smartphones.
January 27, 2014

Smartphones are already changing the way we browse the web, play games, conduct business, communicate and so much more. Now it looks like smartphones could also change up the way we check into hotels and unlock our rooms as well.

The Starwood hotel group has announced a new update to its Starwood Preferred Guest app that will allow ‘preferred guests’ to bypass the the hotel check-in process and go directly to their rooms, unlocking the door using a smartphone, and effectively eliminating the need for a card key.

The app will work on all Android 4.3 or higher handsets (as well as iOS) using Bluetooth technology, and the tech will first be tested at two Aloft hotels, one in Harlem and the other in Silicon Valley. If all goes well with the pilot program, we could be looking at a full rollout to Starwood hotel group’s W and Aloft hotels worldwide by the end of 2015.

Just like the modern card key did before it, the smartphone unlock system might be starting small, but it has huge potential. We imagine it is only a matter of time before other major hotel groups start their own similar trial programs.

If this becomes an industry standard over the course of the next few years, travelers are looking at a quicker and more convenient way to ‘check in’ to their rooms. On the downside, such a move also has the potential to cut jobs, as the new instant check-in system might mean hotels will need fewer employees at the front desk.

What do you think of the idea of checking in and unlocking hotel rooms directly from your Android device? Like the idea, or feel that the current card key system is more than good enough?