Lost hotel key cards could be a thing of the past if a new service that allows guests to access their room using their smartphone takes off.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has begun offering a service called SPG Keyless at hotels in Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Doha, Cancun, New York and Los Angeles.
Australia will get the service in 2016 when Starwood opens Aloft Rivervale in Perth. The company is also planning to offer SPG Keyless at W Brisbane in 2018 when the hotel is built.
When a person has registered their phone, and made a hotel reservation using the SPG app, they are invited to opt into the keyless service.
The app will then tell the user they have been checked in, their hotel room number, and send the Bluetooth key when the room is ready.
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When the guest arrives at the hotel, he/she switches on Bluetooth on their phone, opens the SPG app and holds the smartphone to the door lock to gain entry.
In the advent that the guest’s phone gets lost or stolen, they will need to notify the hotel front desk.
“The hotel will deactivate the key assigned to the phone just as it would a lost or stolen key card. A new key will be activated," said Starwood Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific distribution, loyalty & partnership marketing director, Irene Lin.
"We are also encouraging all guests to enable security on their devices for additional protection,” she said.
According to Lin, the hotel's “tech-savvy guests” manage most aspects of their travel and life from their smartphone.
“Many of them don’t want to keep track of a key card or fumble about with it each time they enter the room,” she said.
“At the same time, this technology frees up hotel staff to give a more personalised level of service, which is much harder when they’re standing behind a desk swiping credit cards and handing out keys.”
For example, front desk staff can spend more time greeting guests and making sure that they have everything that they need, Lin said.
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