by Michael J. Shapiro | January 29, 2014
Starwood Hotels & Resorts will roll out a pilot program this quarter allowing guests to enter their rooms using a smartphone app. The lodging company's digital team has been developing this in "top secret," according to a company spokesperson, with a lock manufacturing company based in Sweden. The functionality will debut at two properties, Aloft Harlem in New York City and Aloft Cupertino (Calif.), within the next three months. Guests will be able to bypass the front desk entirely, using the app both to check in and to open guest-room doors. The Bluetooth-based feature will be delivered through the SPG loyalty program app and will be compatible with iPhone 4s or newer models, as well as Android phones running system 4.3 or newer. Using what Starwood terms a start-up mentality, the company will focus on fine-tuning the functionality before committing to a broad rollout. If all goes according to plan, the feature will be available at all Aloft and W properties in 2015. Members of Starwood's SPG program can register for information as it becomes available at