Daily Report: Hotels Try Smartphone Apps as Room Keys

People use smartphones today to do everything from pay for coffee to board a plane. Now, a growing number of hotels want guests to be able to unlock their guest rooms with their phones,Martha C. White reports.

“It’s a simple proposition,” said Mark R. Vondrasek, who leads digital initiatives for Starwood Hotels. “Why can’t I use my phone as my room key?”

Starwood will begin offering smartphone key apps at 10 hotels in its Aloft, Element and W hotel brands this week, including five in the United States. The introduction comes after testing conducted this year at two of Starwood’s Aloft brand hotels, one in Harlem and one in Cupertino, Calif.

In September, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts started testing mobile keys at one of its hotels in New York City, a pilot it expects to wrap up by early 2015, said Brett Cowell, vice president of strategic systems.


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