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Way back in 2006, before the advent of the iPhone, the Droid and whatever the latest model of the Blackberry is, Marriott Hotels announced they would be testing a smartphone check-in in which guests could not-so-simply check into a Marriott hotel provided they had the right type of smartphone and had already downloaded the Marriott hotel's software.
Well, in the year 2010, Intercontinental Hotel Group is now testing a smartphone check-in that will allow you to actually open your hotel room, thus eliminating the need for a keycard completely.
According to USA Today, IHG will test the high-tech check-in next month at two Holiday Inns--one in Chicago and one in Houston. You will still have to download the technology's software from Open Ways and will also have to register to be one of the testers. But once you have that down, the next time you check into your hotel simply hold your smartphone up to a sensor on the door and voila! You're in the room.
USA Today has a half-hearted report on the emerging room key technologies in hotels these days. We say half-hearted because there's no technology mentioned that gets us really excited about staying in a hotel room in the future.
For instance, the Plaza Hotel when it finally opens whenever that may be will use radio-frequency key-cards that can unlock your room door when swiped past the lock at close range. That's kinda cool. It can save us the frustration of trying to swipe a keycard thats been demagnetized against our knowledge.
There's also talk of creating a papercard which would look and work exactly like the plastic keycard, except it's more environmentally-friendly. This sounds nice until the paper gets squashed in our purse.
Lastly, Accor Hotels is testing out a new lock that opens when guests' cellphones or PDAs are flashed in front of the door. Now, this is some great hotel technology. We imagine your cellphone is programmed at the front desk to open your room and your room only. Wouldn't want people breaking into rooms just by flashing their BlackBerrys around.
Sadly, they say it will be years before this type of lock becomes common in hotel rooms.
Hotel News / Hotel Technology / Smartphone Check-ins / Marriott Hotels / Mobile Check-Ins / → All Tags
On the heels of their controversial smoking ban, Marriott Hotels continue to forge ahead in the tech world.
The hotel chain already allows you to check-in for your flight from kiosks in their lobby and now they have announced that testing has begun on wireless check-in with Microsoft's Windows Mobile®-powered devices at the Redmond Marriott Town Center in Washington.
In a collaborative effort with Intel Solution Services and Microsoft Marriott is working toward implementing a mobile wireless check-in process that is convenient and easy for guests to use. During testing, guests with Microsoft Windows Mobile-powered Smartphones-running the PocketPC Platform-can simply download and install Marriott's seamless mobility software from Arrive.Marriott.com. Using the Internet, they can then connect securely to the Redmond Marriott Town Center hotel's property management system and check in to their room while in transit to the hotel.
So essentially, if you have the right type of smartphone and download the Marriott hotel's software, you can check-in from your phone. You will also be able to change room types, reconfirm room rates and pick up a key from the automated key dispenser which will be made available in the lobby.
But don't get too excited yet. Marriott still has to finish testing this plan out, which may take to the end of the year, and then they will revisit a timeframe for rolling out this service.
So gadget freaks, what do you prefer--a hotel that lets you smoke or one that lets you check-in from your smartphone?