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The back of a sample Aloft Smart Check-In keycard
It turns out that the number of people who check-out of hotels the old-fashioned way is shrinking at an alarming rate. But what about checking in? Are people in such a hurry these days that they can't bear the thought of waiting in line to get their keycard and be told which room is theirs?
In a word, yes. Judging from the popularity of Aloft's smart check-in program, people seriously value convenience over a face-to-face welcome. And the numbers speak for themselves: last month, the program reached 10,000 users, even though only a limited number of Aloft hotels are equipped to use it.
This year, Smart Check-In is set to expand to even more properties all over the world. In case you're considering signing up, here are some fast facts on how the whole thing works.
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Back in July, we wrote about how a certain Cody Brocious had figured out a way to pick the locks on any hotel room door manufactured by Onity. And since Onity has installed somewhere between four and five million hotel room doors all over the world, that was kind of worrying.
Now, Brocious' idea has been taken one step further by another dastardly hacker, this time by the name of Matthew Jakubowski. NBCNews reports that Jakubowski has managed to fit all the parts of the lock-picking device into a single dry erase marker.
What's more, he went and posted a YouTube video to show the marker in action, and even wrote out instructions on his blog, giving everyone and their mothers the means to assemble a lock-picking dry erase marker of their very own.
It seems like once a year we hear about some nefarious new way for thieves to break into hotel rooms using both sophisticated and not-so-sophisticated gadgets to do so. (Metal hangers anyone?)
This year's hack comes courtesy of a software developer and security researcher named Cody Brocious who recently told Forbes.com that his less than $50 invention can break the locks installed on hotel room doors by lock manufacturer, Onity. Onity has done about four and five million hotel room doors around the world. Yikes, right? However, don't write off staying in hotels forever just yet.
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Hotel Kamp in Helsinki is owned by Starwood
The New York Daily News is reporting on a lawsuit between Wall Street banker Alison Fournier and Starwood Hotels, who gave an unknown man the key to Fournier's Helsinki hotel room, after he explained to the Front Desk that he was her husband. Creepy! And kinda unbelievable.
The surveillance video depicts an American man showing up at the Hotel Kamp's Front Desk, drunkenly explaining he had been locked out from his wife's room, and walking away with the key. Minutes later, he entered Fournier's room, took his clothes off and got into bed with her. Creepy again! Though half-asleep, and alone, Fournier immediately realized what was going on and ran straight out of the room. Starwood has called the event "very unfortunate" and is looking into the facts before taking any further action.
Like, um, an apology?
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Black Friday has officially come and gone, and though we hate buying into all the commercial hype, we've got to admit—we're starting to feel the clock ticking. Tomorrow is December 1, and before we know it, Christmas will be here! Here to help is HotelChatter's mini gift guide, featuring all hotel-inspired Etsy finds. Browse away, and if you come up with other hotel-related trinkets to add to the list, do let us know!
$9 While not exactly the most flattering piece of jewelry ever made, this is certainly a creative take on the hotel keycard. The designer takes recycled credit, gift and hotel keycards, cuts them into shapes, and then sands the edges to smooth them down. The above pair measures 4 inches long. And if these aren't up your alley, how about a pair made from tiny plastic Monopoly hotels?
Warner Bros. is throwing a key party at Comic-Con. Get your mind out of the gutter—we don't mean those crazy swapping-keys sex party. Instead, the studio is unveiling limited-edition hotel keycards for the geekfest.
This is the fourth year that Warner Bros. is creating the special keycards for hotels throughout San Diego. About 40,000 such keycards will be available at 36 area hotels.
Aloft Hotels / Hotel Keycards / Hotel Technology / Smart Cards / Starwood Preferred Guest / Hotel News / → All Tags
Starwood Hotels announced today that the speedy heck-in program for Starwood Preferred Guests will soon be in place in Aloft Harlem, Aloft Brooklyn, Aloft Dallas Downtown, Aloft Jacksonville Tapestry Park, and Aloft London by the end of 2011. Previously, the program was only in place at Aloft Lexington in Massachusetts.
If you aren't quite familiar with Smart Check-in, here's how it works. SPG guests first have to let SPG know that they want to participate in this program. Then they are given a special SPG/Aloft-branded RFID keycard. When guests arrive at the hotel, they will already have received a text message from Aloft Smart Check-in telling them their room number. So they can just blow through check-in and head straight to their room.
While it seems that bibles in the nightstand are on their way out--or at least hotels are leaning towards more non-demoninational spiritual texts--one hotel in Nashville isn't giving up on Christianity entirely. The Gaylord Opryland Hotel offers guests keycards with advertisements for GodTube.com which is exactly what you think it is--a Christian video sharing site. Um...okaaaaay.....
Hotel ads on keycards are not new. Vegas hotels have advertised their shows on keycards for years. Hilton Hotels recently did a crosspromo on their keycards for that movie, Up in the Air and down in Mexico, the Intercontinental Guadalajara even advertised help for sexual dysfunction on their room keys. (Yes, way!)
But advertising for a religious site like GodTube.com might be a first. We wonder what the American Atheists would have to say about this.
What do you think about advertising for GodTube on the hotel keycards--praise the Lord or should we just stick with YouTube? Let us know your thoughts in comments below!