Apple is teaming up with Starwood Hotels to turn iPhones into hotel keys and let you skip checking in when you arrive. The SPG Keyless technology is now available at Aloft, Element and W Hotels. Bethesda-based Brivo Labs introduced its own system to do something very similar back in June, partnering with booking app HotelTonight to start getting hotels to use the keyless check-in and entry. Clarion Hotels are also testing out a keyless entry system for their properties. Clearly the moment for mobile hotel connections has arrived, and now the competition is sure to heat up. The Apple version is the first to be widely available though, starting this week.
“Innovation and personalization are at the forefront of everything we do at Starwood and SPG Keyless represents the perfect intersection of these two pillars,” said Frits van Paasschen, CEO of Starwood in a statement. “We are excited to be the first in our industry to debut this new technology allowing us to further deliver on the wants and needs of our early adopter, hyper-mobile guests who use their smartphones for just about every aspect of their lives.”
Only 10 of Starwood’s hotels will have the technology active this week, but the plan is to put the tech into 150 hotels, 30,000 doors, by the end of next year. Basically, hotel guests will register their phone throught the SPG app, getting the digital key before arriving at the hotel and using it to check in and go straight to the room. Once at the room, the guest can just tap the phone on the door to unlock it and go right in.
Regardless of the source of the software, the goal is to make the whole experience of staying in a hotel as easy as possible. As Lee Odess, general manager of Brivo Labs explained back in June, making the process frictionless is what he and the other companies building this kind of tech want to do.
“We want to eliminate keys and cards and all the things nobody wants to use,” Odess said. “It’s where hotels are going.”
There’s not too much out yet about the Starwood and Apple collaboration, but check out Brivo Labs demonstrating how this technology works at the Google I/O conference early this summer.