Starwood Hotels and Resorts is launching a feature to let guests skip the reception desk and go directly to their room using their smartphone as a room key at some of their hotels. This new method of check-in will undergo a trial run at Aloft hotels in New York City and the Silicon Valley.
Guests who download the Starwood Preferred Guest App will be able to use the app to find nearby hotels and book rooms. Hotels under the Starwood brand include Westin, Sheraton and W Hotels. They have nearly 1,000 hotels in 100 countries.
According to a video from the company, the app will allow guests to find their hotel, then allow them to check themselves in using the app. They’ll receive their room number on the app and unlock the door by holding their phone up to the lock.
The hotel chain says that with customers performing so many tasks with the help of their smartphones, such as navigation, shopping and paying for items, the smartphone as a room key is a natural extension of that trend.
If the tryout goes well, the company will add that feature to the rest of its U.S. hotels by the end of next year. Starwood has already experimented with mailing guests a keycard to their room ahead of their hotel stay.
As more and more people become accustomed to using smartphones to book and check in to hotels and companies look for ways to cut costs, this trend could catch on. If customer are showing themselves to their rooms and handling their own keys, it would allow many hotels to reduce the size of their staff.
The Starwood Preferred Guest App is available in the Apple App Store and in the Google Play Store.