Has The Hospitality Industry Found Its Mobile Ace in the Hole?

Has The Hospitality Industry Found Its Mobile Ace in the HoleIf you own a smartphone, the next time you travel you may not need a key for your hotel room. In fact, you may be able to bypass the registration desk altogether.

This, we’re told, is what the future holds for the hospitality industry. As a result, the industry’s biggest players are speeding ample sums of money to ensure that the full potential of mobile can be leveraged to make their respective properties as cutting-edge and convenient for travelers as technology presently allows.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which owns more than 1,150 hotels in nearly 100 countries, tells CNN that it will debut smartphone-based hotel keys within the next three months at two of its Aloft hotels, in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City and Cupertino, California where Apple is based.

If all goes well, the company says it could have the feature in all of its hotels by next year. A spokeswoman said the app will initially be compatible with recent iPhone models (4S and newer) and newer Android phones. The app will use Bluetooth technology to unlock the room with a tap.

“We believe this will become the new standard for how people will want to enter a hotel,” Frits van Paasschen, Starwood’s CEO, tells The Wall Street Journal. “It may be a novelty at first, but we think it will become table stakes for managing a hotel.”