New Apple Watch will open doors for Starwood

Starwood Hotels — the hotel group that owns Sheraton, W Hotels, Westin and others — is developing an app for the Apple Watch that will allow hotel guests to use it to unlock their rooms. Just wave it in front of the door and there you go!

No more poking through your wallet to find your missing cardkey (which all too often turns out to be hiding on the dresser in the locked room you’re trying to get into). No more embarrassing journeys to the front desk to get a replacement. If you have the watch (and a compatible iPhone), you can get into your hotel room.

Starwood had already started testing an iPhone app that allows guests to use their phones to unlock their rooms.

But now that the Apple Watch is here, Starwood clearly has big plans for it. Chris Holdren, senior vice president of Starwood Preferred Guest says, “When Apple Watch is available next year, we envision endless ways Apple Watch could help us enhance our guests’ experiences at our hotels from instantly recognising guests with a warm, personal welcome to empowering our SPG members to bypass the front desk. When you arrive at a destination airport, a notification will take you to a list of transportation options to your hotel. When you arrive at the hotel, a notification shows you your room number with instructions for using Apple Watch to unlock your room and when you arrive at the bar, you’ll be asked via notification if you’d like your usual drink brought to your table. You can also view your SPG account in Glances. The marriage of high tech and high touch is poised to transform the hotel experience in so many exciting ways and at Starwood we’re committed to being on the cutting edge of what’s next.”

The Apple Watch app should be available at W Hotels next Spring. But it’s easy to imagine Starwood, and other hotel chains, eventually expanding the feature to all of their properties. Maybe hotel cardkeys may soon go the way of old-fashioned hotel keys.

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