by Michael J. Shapiro | November 05, 2014
Two lodging companies took steps this week toward the use of smartphones as guest room keys. Starwood Hotels & Resorts launched SPG Keyless at 10 hotels, available to Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members who book their stays via one of Starwood's channels, including hotel websites,, the SPG app or customer contact centers. Once SPG members register an Bluetooth-enabled iPhone or Android mobile device via the SPG app, they can opt in to SPG Keyless when booked at a participating hotel. Guests will receive a push notification when the room is ready, at which point they can bypass the front desk and use the app on the phone to open the room. The first participating properties include Aloft Hotels in Beijing; Cancún, Mexico; Cupertino, Calif.; and Harlem in New York City; W Hotels in Doha, Quatar; Hollywood, Calif.; Hong Kong; New York City and Singapore; and Manhattan's Element Times Square. Starwood plans to make SPG Keyless available at 150 hotels globally by early 2015, within the Aloft, Element and W brands.

Meanwhile, Hilton Worldwide announced that its mobile-app key functionality will be broader than initially projected. In addition to guest rooms, Hilton HHonors loyalty members will be able to access hotel fitness centers, executive floors, elevators and parking facilities using the HHonors app. The lodging giant intends to roll out the functionality at all U.S. Conrad Hotels in early 2015, followed by U.S.-based Hilton, Waldorf Astoria and Canopy properties beginning in the summer of 2015. The keyless entry will expand to other brands in the Hilton portfolio in 2016.