Starwood Hotels pilot program lets guests use Apple's iPhone as room key

in iPhone edited April 2014
Two boutique hotels belonging to international hospitality chain Starwood will soon allow travelers to bypass the check-in counter and unlock their room by using digital keys sent to a special application available for Apple's iPhone.

The Aloft hotel in Cupertino

The locks will use Bluetooth proximity keys, similar to the Bluetooth-based consumer lock sets such as Kwikset's Kevothat have hit the market in recent months. 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.

Starwood's system will be compatible with Apple's iPhone 4s, 5, 5s, and 5c as well as recent Android devices. It was developed in conjunction with major access control vendor Assa Abloy AB of Sweden, the same company that owns lock brands like Yale and HID.

Starwood CEO Frits van Paasschen told the publication that the company believes the new smartphone-enabled self-service technology will be an important selling point for hotels in the future.

"We believe this will become the new standard for how people will want to enter a hotel," he said, adding that "It may be a novelty at first, but we think it will become table stakes for managing a hotel."

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.


  • Reply 1 of 10

    YES. Automate EVERYTHING.


    No sense in checking in, confirming, getting a paper key, etc.


    Just come, take your stuff up to your room, and your iPhone automatically unlocks the appropriate door for you because you made reservations on it two weeks ago.

  • Reply 2 of 10
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,855member

    People keep impatiently clamoring Apple for the next big thing.  I have come to believe that this, or things like this (payments, iBeacons, i.e. seamless convenience) is Apple's next big thing and they are in the early stages of rolling it out.


    I'll call it the Apple Convenience Network and every piece of hardware that Apple sells hereon will be designed around it.


    Heretofore I thought wearables was the next big thing, but this multiplies the value and utility of any wearable product that Apple comes up with.

  • Reply 3 of 10
    ???? "Take a bite out of crime...Use an iPhone"
  • Reply 4 of 10

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

    ???? "Take a bite out of crime...Use an iPhone"


    Given the POS credit card frauds of recent weeks, I prefer "Take the byte out of crime... pay in cash."

  • Reply 5 of 10
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member

    Great idea. No more wasted or lost cards....far more secure, and it will actually WORK when you get up to your room.


    Not to mention the convenience of not having to check in at certain hotels. EVERYONE needs to get on board with this.


    Casino hotels should really jump on this.

  • Reply 6 of 10
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member

    In the times I've stayed at hotels, I've had all kinds of problems with room cards. Cards that never activate, cards that activate once and then never work again, other guests that are given active cards to get in to your room ( Oh yea, it has happened ). Lost cards or cards left in rooms. 


    The E-Keys with bluetooth systems like Kwikset are very secure and work perfectly. Just gotta have Bluetooth enabled on the device. But all that info can be delivered via email when they have you download their App and accept their E-Key.


    Users without smartphones should be given a bluetooth key fob at the desk, instead of a stupid card. If you lose the Key fob, they should charge you to replace it.


    I suppose Hotel doors are already hardwired for power to the card scanners, so it should be no issue to replace them with a new type of unit that utilizes bluetooth & E-Keys.

  • Reply 7 of 10

    That coffee shop in the vid is Handsome Coffee roasters in downtown Los Angeles! Okay I'm done feeling proud for small things.


    On a more related note, I really hope BLE (iBeacons) app developers move fast. There are some amazing things Bluetooth Low Energy can do with some imagination.

  • Reply 8 of 10
    Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post



    Given the POS credit card frauds of recent weeks, I prefer "Take the byte out of crime... pay in cash."


    You mean that paper that has lost 95+% of it's value since 1913?

  • Reply 9 of 10

    The NSA will use this to provide 'room service' in the form of special attention given to your tech gear left in your room.


    Given how easy it is spoof bluetooth & other MAC-type addresses, I expect this to be hacked in 3... 2... 1... now!

  • Reply 10 of 10

    This is one of the nice ways to provide facilities & security to the customers at the hotel.


    Hotels Booking

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