Your smartphone is now your room key

27 January 2014

With technology moving on in leaps and bounds, the old plastic hotel key card is starting to look old fashioned, isn’t it? Whereas once we all used to enjoy the checking in and the swipe and beep thing, it’s now all gone a bit too Premier Inn.


The US Starwood Hotel chain has been thinking about this, and they’ve decided to introduce Bluetooth activated hotel doors that can be opened using your Smartphone. Fancy, eh? You’ll receive your hotel room ‘key’ on your Starwood app, and when you wiggle your phone at your door, it’ll let you in, like magic. No negotiating with reception, and no checking-in process.

However, the idea has its critics. Some say that the check in desk is a valuable point of contact with a real person, and people enjoy being greeted.

But Starwood believe they’ve found the checking-in holy grail, and will soon be introducing its smartphone door opening extravaganza at two of their Aloft hotels in New York and Sillcon Valley, which will be compatible with the iphone 4 or Android 4.3 upwards.

If this catches on, this could see the end of the check-in desk entirely, and hotels will just be filled with people fruitlessly pointing their phones at doors.

There is one - quite major - problem with it, though. If your phone battery dies, you'll have to sleep next to the ice machine in the lobby.

TOPICS:   Technology   Mobile   Travel


  • klingelton
    unless you provide a charge point for people to put enough electricity into their phones to get into their room...
  • Wolfie
    Nothing new, they've had these in Bangkok for a couple of years.
  • Kevin
    'Some say that the check in desk is a valuable point of contact with a real person, and people enjoy being greeted.' Quite the opposite for me. And as long as there is someone on site to deal with issues why do you need to see anyone?
  • Digital C.
    Thanks, I've included this in my overview "How to Replace All you Keys with your Smartphone"
  • Dick
    I stayed in a premier inn last week. They had keys for the doors. Not swipe cards, fucking metal keys. They were so low tech. Worked fine though.
  • _Me_
    Clearly you lot don't stay in hotels. There are quite a lot of hotels these days (and not so cheap ones either) that use automated check-in using debit and credit cards that simply recognise the card and spit out a pre-programmed door card. So it's hardly going to save any extra money or stop people talking to receptionists. It's just a gimmick.
  • sid
    My phone is smart enough to do what I want it to do - make the odd phone call and send the odd text. Any hotel that expects me to buy my own expensive key to get into their room not going to get my business.

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