US-headquartered hotel chain Starwood just launched its new program, dubbed SPG Keyless, to allow guests across 10 Aloft, Element and W brand hotels in its portfolio, to skip the reception desk and gain access to their pre-booked hotel rooms using their smartphones. New locks at these hotels communicate with guests’ phones via Bluetooth to allow for quick locking and unlocking with a simple tap on the lock pad attached to each door.
Travelers who book a room via official Starwood channels online or via phone can use the SPG app for Android and iOS to receive their room number and unlock their rooms upon arrival. The app also allows you to access gyms and elevators at participating hotels — making for one less key for guests to worry about, reduced check-in time and increased convenience when using hotel amenities.
Currently, only one phone is activated per room, so guests sharing a room will have to get a traditional key for access when the assigned device or its owner aren’t close at hand.
Starwood plans to expand its smartphone-based room access to 140 more properties by mid-2015, and we’ll probably see this functionality extend to smartwatches like the Apple Watch then too. You can also expect to see Hilton Worldwide hotels implement this next year as well, but the chain hasn’t mentioned just how many properties it will be available at.
Given that there could be issues relating to security and malfunctioning, other hospitality companies will probably watch closely before enabling smartphone access to their rooms around the world.