Hilton and Starwood hotel guests can unlock rooms with smartphones

Hilton and Starwood will soon allow guests to unlock their rooms via a smartphone app. Starwood, owner of the Sheraton, Westin and "W" hotel chains, upgraded 30,000 room locks in nearly 150 hotels so they can be unlocked with the new app.

Hilton is planning to enable guests to do the same thing in its 600,000 rooms next year. That hotel chain will begin by piloting a smartphone app at 10 U.S. properties in early 2015. Also, in early 2015, Hilton's HHonors mobile room key app will be enabled at all U.S. properties of Conrad Hotels and Resorts, reports ComputerWorld.

Starwood has been testing out the program at the Aloft Harlem in New York and the Aloft Cupertino in California. On Wednesday, the Stamford, Conn.-company will start rolling it out to Aloft, Element and W Hotels worldwide. SPG Keyless will make its debut in hotels in Beijing, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles and Doha.

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Many hotel companies have recently been experimenting with keyless lock technology as companies have fine-tuned their locks. Typically, the keys are activated through smartphone apps. When guests check in through the app, the hotel will send them their room number and activate the phone as a key though technology such as Bluetooth LE, USA Today reports.

"It solves a pain point that no one has been able to solve in this space," said Mark Vondrasek, SVP at Starwood.

Hilton Worldwide today announced that it will also start using Smartphone check-in at 10 U.S. properties in the first quarter of 2015.

The mobile key will then be enabled at all U.S. properties of Conrad Hotels and Resorts beginning in the spring of 2015. It will then move on to U.S. properties of Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts and Canopy by Hilton properties, launching in the summer 2015.

Hilton is also allowing guests to choose their rooms at more than 4,100 properties worldwide by the end of November.

Since the launch of room selection, one-third of eligible guests have used the function, said Geraldine Calpin, global head of digital at Hilton Worldwide.

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