Starwood announced a pretty awesome new innovation today, whereby they’re testing a new keyless mobile check-in option. Through this program you can use your smart phone to enter your room. Via Apple Insider:
Two of Starwood’s Aloft hotels — one in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood and another in Apple’s native Cupertino — will be pilot sites for the new program, according to the Wall Street Journal.
After the two-property pilot, Starwood hopes to have the system active across each of the hotels in its W Hotel and Aloft portfolios by the end of 2014, which would represent some 123 locations throughout the U.S. While hotel owners would be required to make a capital investment to implement the technology, von Paasschen said Starwood would provide a “significant contribution” to defray those costs in order to get the program off the ground.
Here’s a video advertising the new offering:
Frankly I’m surprised it took this long, as I think this is a really exciting new innovation. I would’ve guessed that programmable loyalty program membership cards would double as room keys first, but I think this is great as well.
While I think this is a great idea, there are a few logistical challenges that immediately come to mind:
- If you’re an elite member (theoretically the one that would benefit most from this), you probably won’t want to skip the check-in desk in terms of seeing about the possibility of an upgrade, late check-out, the welcome amenity, club lounge hours, etc.
- What if multiple people are staying in a room? It seems like this would only work for the primary member’s iPhone.
- How will IDs be verified? Not that I personally see this as an issue, but this means it could be quite easy to have a family member or friend stay at a hotel under your name so they get elite benefits and you earn points and stay credits.
So it’s certainly exciting technology, though I’m curious to see how it’s executed.
What do you guys think? Would you do keyless mobile check-in, or do you want to make sure everything is to your liking with your reservation and go the “traditional” route to the front desk?
(Tip of the hat to Mike)