The idea is that tourists will find that a virtual key might come in handy, with only a message from the Starwood Hotels app to activate. The door will be unlocked at the tap of the screen or rotation of phone, for the vintage fans. The app will run on iPhone 4 or more recent, and on Android 4.3 or newer versions of it.
“We believe this will become the new standard for how people will want to enter a hotel. It may be a novelty at first, but we think it will become table stakes for managing a hotel.” – Starwood CEO Frits van Paasschen via the Wall Street Journal.
The final touches have to be set in order as the arrival at a hotel implies a certain etiquette that has been kept for a long time now. Adapting this standard to the app will require some great PR skills from the Starwood representatives.
As far as being a threat to the front desk, the technological solution does not yet bear the versatility of a trained professional, making it less likely to replace this category of tourism operators.
As it is with every enquiry in the world of technology, time will tell if this idea is a winning ticket. However, it also sets a trend of courageous initiative, worthy of pursuing.
The Wall Street Journal report has shown that big names like Hilton, InterContinental and Marriott are looking at similar technologies useful for the check-in.
If this initiative proves to be sustainable, Starwood will perform an upgrade of its locks by the end of 2015.