The keyless entry system has been long-awaited for the industry. With a successful beta test, let's hope Starwood's system continues impressing guests. It will also be interesting to see how many guests bypass reception completely upon arriving at hotels and how many still stop to notify the hotel that they've arrived.
For some Starwood Hotels and Resorts guests, starting this week they’ll no longer have to worry if they’ve remembered their room keys as they leave a property.
If they have a smartphone in hand, they’ll have their key as well.
On Wednesday, SPG Keyless goes live at Element and W Hotels around the world and is the first keyless entry system for the industry. SPG Keyless, powered by the SPG app, enables guests to bypass the front desk at properties where its available and go directly to their rooms. Guests then unlock their rooms with a simple tap of their smartphones.
The system works by SPG guests registering their phones once through the SPG App and allowing push notifications. After booking a reservation at a keyless hotel and approximately 24 hours before arrival, SPG members are invited to opt-in to SPG Keyless.
Guests will receive a push notification noting they are checked-in and the SPG App will update with their room numbers and Bluetooth keys when rooms are ready. Upon arrival at the hotels where the system is available, guests can completely bypass the front desk and go directly to their rooms. After ensuring their Bluetooths are enabled, guests simply open the SPG App, hold their smartphones to a door lock, wait for the solid green light and then enter their rooms.
The system will roll out at ten hotels, including Aloft Beijing, Aloft Cancun, Aloft Cupertino, Aloft Harlem, W Doha, W Hollywood, W Hong Kong, W New York-Downtown, W Singapore and Element Times Square.
Starwood will implement SPG Keyless in 30,000 doors in 150 hotels around the world by early 2015 across Aloft, Element, and W Hotel brands.
The SPG Keyless beta test began in March, and users were 25 to 65-years-old and were all Starwood Preferred Guests. The system is an evolution of Starwood’s Smart Check-In, which debuted in Aloft hotels in 2011, allowing guests to bypass traditional check-in and access their rooms with a radio frequency identification (RFID)-equipped key card.
Starwood tapped one of the world’s largest lock manufacturers, Assa Abloy, to create the system.
There are also plans to bring the Apple Watch into the keyless entry picture next year.
“When Apple Watch is available next year, we envision endless ways Apple Watch could help us enhance our guests’ experiences at our hotels from instantly recognizing guests with a warm, personal welcome to empowering our SPG guests to bypass the front desk,” said Chris Holdren, a spokesperson for Starwood.
“When you arrive at a destination airport, a notification will take you to a list of transportation options to your hotel. When you arrive at the hotel, a notification shows you your room number with instructions for using Apple Watch to unlock your room and when you arrive at the bar, you’ll be asked via notification if you’d like your usual drink brought to your table.”
The hotel is also currently piloting an update to its SPG app, which will enhance SPG Keyless and equip hotel associates with tools to improve personalization and customer service.
Here’s an amusing promotional video Starwood made to showcase the various ways SPG Keyless comes in handy.
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Photo Credit: Starwood's SPG Keyless debuts this week at some U.S. and Asian properties. Starwood
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