by Michael J. Shapiro | December 01, 2014
The use of smartphones as hotel room keys has advanced with new initiatives by Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Worldwide.

Last month, Starwood launched SPG Keyless at 10 hotels, available to Starwood Preferred Guests who first register a Bluetooth-enabled iPhone or Android device via the SPG app, then opt in to SPG Keyless when booked at a participating hotel. Guests receive a push notification when the room is ready, bypassing the front desk and using the app to open the room.

"Through mobile we have the opportunity to marry high tech and high touch to transform the hotel experience in many exciting ways," said Frits van Paaschen, Starwood president and CEO.

Among the first participating properties are W Hotels in Doha, Quatar; Hollywood, Calif.; Hong Kong; New York City, and Singapore. SPG Keyless will be available at 150 hotels by early 2015, within the Aloft, Element and W brands.

For its part, Hilton Worldwide has announced that mobile-app key functionality will be broader than the chain initially projected. In addition to guest rooms, Hilton HHonors members will be able to access fitness centers, executive floors and more using the HHonors app. The service will be rolled out at all U.S. Conrad Hotels in early 2015, followed by U.S. Hilton, Waldorf Astoria and Canopy properties by the summer, and to other Hilton brands in 2016.