It seems that smartphones can do just about anything. They can help people rent cars, shop, pay bills and get directions. Smartphones can also allow travellers to check in to hotels without having to go to the reception desk. This is all thanks to a new update to the Starwood Hotels and Resorts app on both Android and iOS.
This new app not only allows guests to completely bypass reception, but the app can also double as a hotel room key. This is perfect because people are much more likely to walk out of their hotel rooms without their room keys rather than their phones. To start with, this new app will only work in locations in Silicon Valley and Manhattan. However, the ability to use this feature of the app will soon spread all over the world, or at least that is what industry experts believe.
However, this app may be more amazing than what people first assume. What makes all of this possible are the new electronic door locks that Starwood Hotels and Resorts is installing in certain hotels. The locks can be unlocked by guests holding their smartphones up to them. These locks are so advanced that is can actually read the phone as it approaches, which means that guest will not even have to take their phones out of their pockets to unlock doors. Guests can even set it up so that the door will automatically open as friends and co-workers approach the door with their phones.
Guests connect to these new locks via Bluetooth. If all goes well, Starwood Hotels and Resorts hopes to install them in all of their hotels in the United States by the end of 2015. From there, it hopes to move this technology to other places in the world.
Of course, this app can be used for more than booking hotels and unlocking hotel room doors. It can also be used to browse rooms and learn more about the hotel the guest is considering staying in before they make a booking. The app also provides pictures of the hotel and rooms.
The CEO of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Van Passchen, said that this may only seem like a novelty at first. However, guests will soon love this kind of technology so much, that they do not want to stay at a hotel without it. This new technology will soon be a requirement for guests to consider staying at a hotel. In short, it will become the new standard for hotels around the world, and Starwood is leading the way.
This new service is replacing Starwood’s keycard by post scheme, which was introduced in 2010. This was a scheme that saw loyalty club members located in the United States receive keycards in the mail. Once they got their keycards, they could use them time and time again. That being said, once guests arrive at the hotel, they still have to visit the check-in desk. It streamlined things, but it was still an extra step.