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Starwood’s select service hotel brand Aloft is trialling automatic check-in using mobile phones, ABTN can reveal.
Roeland Vos, Starwood’s president EMEA, said: “Those pilots are being done right now and we would expect that within Aloft we would start seeing some of that coming online.”
Guests will be able to walk into their hotel “with just a reservation on their mobile phone which would open the door to their room”, he explained.
Vos said it will be introduced in the US first, but wouldn’t confirm when.
Speaking at Deloitte’s European Hotel Investment Conference in London, Vos said Starwood is attempting to catch up with the airlines in their use of technology.
“Technology will be used in order to drive customer experiences,” he said.
The benefit of trialling the technology for the limited service Aloft brand came from the fact it would be “seen as an upside” by tech-savvy guests, said Vos.
He indicated it is not something Starwood would consider for all its brands at the moment, although the more “experimental” brand W could also see the technology being introduced.
Starwood has already started trialling automatic check-in for members of its loyalty scheme at a number of Aloft properties in the US.
Guests are texted their room numbers before arrival and then use their Starwood Preferred Guest membership cards as a key to enter the room.
At the conference, Vos also spoke of Starwood’s “bullish” recovery in most regions, with both rates and occupancy coming back, as well as meetings and events bookings.
One area of concern, however, is the middle east market, which Vos said is “taking longer” to recover.