The hotel check-in process can be long and tedious, but when you have to factor in absurd lines and unnecessary paperwork, it is no wonder why many people would want to avoid the front desk altogether. Luckily, guests staying at the Aloft Hotel in Manhattan or one in Silicon Valley will soon be able to skip check-in and enter their rooms by using a smartphone as a room key.
Compatible with both iPhones and Android devices, the program will send guests a message through the Starwood app containing a virtual key. Similar to the way you unlock the door with a room key, the Bluetooth-enabled system will open the door with a simple tap or twist of the device.
“We believe this will become the new standard for how people will want to enter a hotel,” says Frits van Paasschen, Starwood’s CEO. “It may be a novelty at first, but we think it will become table stakes for managing a hotel.”
The Starwood Hotel brand sees this as an opportunity to attract a younger, more tech-savvy crowd, and hopes that this added feature will boost its bookings. Other hoteliers like the Marriott and the Hyatt have also taken a similar virtual-key approach.