Downloading an app on to a smart phone and being automatically checked in upon arrival has been a use case for NFC-enabled smart phones since the technology was first discussed.
While it’s taking some time for NFC to gain a foothold, two Starwood Hotel properties are taking advantage of the latest Bluetooth specification, enabling guests to skip the front desk and walk straight to their rooms, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The system will be piloted at two Aloft properties – Cupertino, Calif. and the Harlem location in New York City – by the end of the first quarter. By the end of next year, the company is hoping to introduce the virtual key at all its W Hotels and Aloft hotels, which represents 123 properties.
Guests staying at these properties will receive a message on a Starwood app containing a virtual key, which will unlock the door with a tap or twist of their phone through the use of Bluetooth technology. The company says the iPhone 4s or newer models and the Android phones running 4.3 or newer will be compatible.