Hotel brand Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide says its loyalty program members will soon be able to access rooms with their smartphones thanks to mobile, keyless check-in.
A pilot program is set to begin at select locations in the coming months with the potential to launch in the brand's Aloft and W Hotels in 2015.
Starwood says travelers will be able to opt out of traditional check-in completely when using their smartphones.
"A truly keyless check-in allows the first guest interaction with hotel associates to be personal rather than transactional," Starwood says.
The brand says the initiative was developed "as a top-secret project" in collaboration with Swedish lock manufacturer Assa Abloy.
"This is the latest in a series of innovations stemming from a multi-year investment Starwood is making in digital/mobile technology including hardware, software, and global infrastructure," the brand says.
The hotel chain plans to pilot the program first in "key tech hubs," starting with its Aloft Harlem and Aloft Cupertino locations "in the next three months" with the potential to roll out the technology further in its Aloft and W Hotels next year.
Starwood says it is "approaching this project with a start-up mentality, focusing on getting each aspect of the functionality right before rolling it out more broadly."
A Starwood rep was not available for further comment.
According to its website, Aloft is "a modern, fresh, and fun destination" that "celebrates the individual and gives you freedom to control and customize your travel adventure to fit your personal style."
W Hotels, on the other hand, says it is "a contemporary, design-led lifestyle brand and the industry innovator with 45 hotels and retreats, including 17 W-branded residences, in the most vibrant cities and exotic destinations around the world."
Keyless check-in is enabled via the Starwood Preferred Guest app, an iPhone app that allows users to perform functions like find nearby hotels and book rooms by preference, access maps and directions, and track reservations.
Starwood Preferred Guest, or SPG, is the brand's loyalty program, which allows members to earn points for stays, upgrades, and flights.
The brand is asking interested SPG members to opt in on its website for updates and the ability to participate in pilot programs.
A YouTube video teasing the program has 177,000 views as of February 3.
Starwood has 94,000 likes and 108,000 followers.
W Hotels has 153,000 likes and 22,000 followers; Aloft has 101,000 likes and 6,500 followers.
Starwood operates 1,169 properties in about 100 countries.
Its brands also include St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Westin, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, and Element.
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March 19, 2014