Smartphones Now Serve as Keys at Some Hotels

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Guests of Aloft Hotel in Manhattan will soon have a one ? of ? a ? kind hotel service experience that most hotel owners have been dreaming for years: a virtual room key. As soon as guests arrive at the hotel, they will use a smartphone to open the hotel rooms. The boutique hotel from Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc is planning to offer this high ? tech virtual key feature at two hotels before the quarter ends, in Harlem neighborhood and Cupertino, California.

Virtual Key Unlocks Hotel Doors Using Bluetooth

The Starwood app will send a message to its guests at the said hotels that contains a virtual key. This key will unlock the hotel room door by tapping or twisting their smartphones with the help of Bluetooth technology. Compatible models are iPhone 4s or newer, as well as Android phones 4.3 or newer.

Starwood officials hope that this feature will be one of the biggest technological advances in the hotel industry since Wi ? Fi was first introduced. Starwood CEO Frits van Paasschen said that the company believes it would be the new standard on how guests would want them to be welcomed.

These locks are all battery ? operated, just in case the computer systems go down. Hotel staff will know when these locks have low battery, so no need to worry about getting your things locked inside the room.

Some Guests Still Prefer Being Greeted by Hotel Staff


President of First Hospitality Group Robert Habeeb owns 55 hotels in the United States. He said that he pulled out the check in kiosks at his two Holiday Inn hotels because his guests were ignoring them. Robert realized that most travelers would still opt to be greeted by hotel staff and ensure that the best rooms are given to them. They do not mind the slower process of talking to front desk officers, as long as it is giving them a sense of security.

Habeeb says that the front desk is like a bartender, which people still enjoy. While the hotel industry has never been known for being technologically advanced, many hotel owners are still looking for ways to promote better customer service to guests.

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