Starwood goes keyless, Hilton trails but will go beyond

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Starwood has launched SPG Keyless, a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone app allowing guests staying at selected Aloft, Element and W hotels to unlock rooms using their mobile devices, with Hilton to follow suit in 2015.

SPG Keyless is now available in 10 hotels in markets including Beijing, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles and Doha.  Starwood will upgrade 30,000 room locks in almost 150 hotels across the globe to enable SPG Keyless to function by early 2015.

SPG members – Starwood’s free to join loyalty programme – will only have to go through a one-time registration process before being sent a push notification that will enable their smartphones to unlock rooms. After booking a reservation at a keyless hotel and approximately 24 hours before arrival, SPG members are invited to opt-in to SPG Keyless and can now completely bypass the hotel’s front desk and go straight to their rooms.

According to a report in Computer World, Starwood said its in-house team worked with Swedish lock manufacturer, Assa Abloy to develop the hardware to ensure SPG Keyless is "safe, reliable and design-forward – and equally secure as key card technology”.

The ‘mobile keys’ that are sent to the guest smartphone uses AES encryption and cryptographic has functions, according to a Starwood spokesperson, ensuring its safety against possible hackers.  

Hilton is also planning to launch keyless entry in 600,000 rooms in 2015 by piloting a HHonors smartphone app at 10 US properties, before extending it across 11 brands globally.

However, according to reports, Hilton will take the technology one step further, and allow their mobile app to access areas of hotels that usually require a room key, such as the fitness level or executive club floors.

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