Now here’s an innovative, useful and convenient development for smartphones: an app that allows you to check in at hotels AND works as a room key. Unlike the official Kim Kardashian app, the “I am Rich” app (which costs $200 and is just an image of a glowing crystal), or the “Hold On” app (where you’re asked to press the button and hold it down for as long as you can… that’s it), the smartphone hotel room key is a brilliant embrace of what modern technology can do. The first hotels to pioneer this technology: Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ Aloft locations.
The Wave of the Future
The addition of this new technology won’t be too difficult for Starwood. They already have the SPG, Starwood Preferred Guest, app that allows you to learn about their hotels, see photos of them, receive exclusive offers and, of course, browse and book rooms. The hypothetical Starwood door lock app would then just be an additional feature of its already successful SPG. The way the door lock and phone work is also pretty straightforward. The lock is battery powered and the phone communicates with the lock’s reader via Bluetooth. It’s actually a wonder that this kind of innovation wasn’t made sooner. But before this app revolutionizes the industry, Starwood has to give their new idea a trial run. This is being conducted at Aloft locations in Manhattan and Silicon. If the trials are a success and not too many guests are left scanning and re-scanning their phone until the battery dies, then Starwood will move forward and adopt the tech for all its locations.
Other Hotel Innovations
But what will become of the receptionists when checking-in is wiped out?
Hotels have been steady, and maybe even slightly under the radar, innovators when it comes to smartphone apps and integration. Starwood themselves launched a forerunner to digital keys in 2010. In this keycard-by-post program loyalty club members are sent a room keycard that can be used over and over again once they’ve stayed at least one night. Here are some other great innovations that hotels have already put in place:
- Radisson iConcierge: It allows guests to access a huge variety of services including the ability to order room service, book a spa appointment, set a wake-up call, have your luggage picked up, and grab a taxi.
- LodgeNet Service: This powers the TV menu in many hotel rooms. What’s great is that you can download its companion phone app and control everything in your room, in over 630,000 locations in North America. You can use your own phone or tablet to power the TV on/off; change the channel; browse, order, and control in-room movies.
- Bellagio: The famous Las Vegas casino has a very convenient set-up. When it says it has “free Wi-fi” anywhere, it really means it. Poolside, lobby and, of course, your room, you have full connection. In fact, they have so many hotspots their app can triangulate your exact indoor location and provide step-by-step directions to wherever you choose to visit within and around the casino/hotel.
Dr. Sam Sadati is the owner and practitioner of The Sadati Center of Aesthetic Dentistry in West Palm Beach and a leader in the world of cosmetic dentistry and smile design. He is the only accredited cosmetic dentist in all of South Florida and is one of only forty dentists in the world to receive an Accredited Fellow honor from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). Apart from creating beautiful smiles, Dr. Sadati enjoys photography, travel, and the opportunity to tell a good joke. If you have a question or comment, dental-related or otherwise, connect with us on Facebook or Twitter. We always reply to our fans and followers!