Checking-in at the hotel could become a thing of the past

The Starwood hotel group has announced its plans to make visiting the check-in desk at the hotel a thing of the past, by allowing you to complete the whole process and get your room key on your smartphone. Using its SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) app for Android and iOS and Bluetooth, you'll be able to twist your phone in front of the lock and gain access to your room. 

The decision to use Bluetooth and not NFC isn't just important for people using phones of fruit based nature. NFC isn't a standard inclusion on each and every Android phone yet, and so Starwood has opted for a solution that will be accessible to more of its customers. 

The process will first be trialed on a small scale at selected Aloft brand hotels, with a view to rolling it out across the Aloft and W brands throughout 2014. SPG members can opt in to learn more and for opportunities to participate in the pilot program. 

Source: Starwood


Reader comments

Starwood wants to replace your hotel room key with a smartphone


Very interesting if they could roll this out across the entire industry by 2016/2017. I feel for the jobs that would be lost though.

Nope. There is so much more to the front desk beyond check in and check out. That's not even 25% of it.

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Not sure how I feel about that one. I don't see it as much of a convenience, and I would rather feel better about the card being handed to me and used. I don't spend that much time at the check-in desk when I have to. I don't see it as a pain to be resolved. This just seems like an oddity.

It's a pain at a busy hotel or at any convention, or if you arrive at an odd hour. Last time I went to AC for example, I waited in line for about 30 minutes after driving 2 hours. Would've loved to have this app and just go straight to my room.

Well it's going to need really good security, I don't think any apps would be trusted. The only app I use that I trust is Google wallet. I don't know about an app room key and I bet their will be ways to spoof it.

There are a lot of hotels switching over to NFC cards. No slots to stick the card in. That would have made more sense than Bluetooth in my opinion.

1)The range on bluetooth is far too great, in excess of 30 feet.
2)And their own ad shows people using pay-by-bonk (NFC)so its already on the phones.
3)Further, the whole TWIST thing is a fake, and a security issue. Radio waves can't tell that you twisted the phone. Which means they have to have more smarts to send your phone's orientation, (or a camera) in their door locks to check for the twist movement.

(Why? See point 1. If you went into your room and didn't turn bluetooth off, your door would unlock at random. How long before someone twists some random object and unlocks your door because you didn't turn off your bluetooth? Cloning a bluetooth mac address is pretty easy too.

NFC is way cheaper, range limited, more secure.

Check into a Vegas hotel on a Friday afternoon. Come back and tell us how the experience went.

I think this is a great idea and would welcome it with open arms. I would also like to see my vehicle used in the same way to be able to just walk up to the car, phone in hand, and get in and go. would also like to see this technology used on my home when entering it.

I love technology and progress.

As a person who works at the front desk, I both welcome and fear this. Welcome it because it'll help everyone get to their rooms faster and easier, hopefully making long lines that much shorter. I fear what's going to happen when something goes wrong - as it is the front desk is expected to troubleshoot Internet, movie, computers, key issues, etc; how do I train people who are barely making more than minimum wage to troubleshoot Bluetooth, phone and app issues too?

If it doesn't work, I'm sure you'll just issue a standard key card as a fallback. That's what I would expect as a guest, anyway.

I wanna know how his front desk is making minimum wage? What location and brand because Downtown Chicago front desk are paid very well at most hotels.

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Having just spent the last few minutes checking in with a a VERY chatty Hilton front desk manager, I would really welcome this.

It's a shame that Apple didn't include NFC on their latest models. If they had, I'm sure that NFC would've been Starwood's preferred method for this, and I think that would be easier and more easily configured.

I want Apple to start including NFC on their phones, just because I know it would mean quicker adaptation of NFC payment terminals.

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Hi, and welcome to your suite. I just hacked your door lock. Now I'm going to rob you, rape you, and kill you.

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I had two guys walk it my room, about twenty years ago, at 3 AM. They were issued a key by the front desk by mistake. Problem was, they got smart and asked me why I was in THEIR bed. I got really nasty, pointed a SIG 226 at them, and explained I was the one point a loaded gun at them.

Night manager called, and all was sorted out. I got the room for free; not sure about them.

Taught me a lesson....keep the deadbolt engaged and that other funky lock on the door.

NFC by a long shot. Or at least a 30 to 40 foot shot.

With Bluetooth they have to:
See the mac address being broadcast (Their app has to turn it on)
Sense the twist, (reading your accelerators, OR have a camera in the doorlock
Have a camera in the door lock to make sure you are outside, not inside fiddling with your phone.

I'll bet they've spent more time trying to make sure it doesn't work by accident than it would take to just program their app to use the built in NFC.

Designing for last year's IOS device is something that can't stop soon enough.

lol I love this " The decision to use Bluetooth and not NFC isn't just important for people using phones of fruit based nature. "

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And if your phone happens to be dead from a long day at the office or a long night after clubbing? I'm down for this but still going to need people at the front desk I guess

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