Keyless, smartphone-enabled room entry debuts at Starwood hotels

The room card key could become obsolete. (Zdorov Kirill Vladimirovich/

The room card key could become obsolete. (Zdorov Kirill Vladimirovich/


, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

At select Starwood hotel brands around the world, guests will no longer have to fumble for their room key card at the bottom of their bag now that the chain has rolled out keyless technology that opens doors with the swipe of a smartphone.

Starwood's SPG Keyless program is being called a first for the hotel industry and will roll out Wednesday to 10 hotels around the world in markets like Beijing, Doha, Hong Kong, New York, and Singapore.

Hotel brands include Aloft, Element and W hotels.

Experts have been predicting that key cards will become obsolete with the advances of technology; a relic of the industry's past in much the same way that hotel chains have begun to phase out room service and the mini-bar.

The technology, only available to Starwood loyalty members via mobile app, will also allow guests to bypass front desk check-in and proceed directly to their rooms.

By early 2015, the SPG Keyless program will roll out to 150 hotels around the world across the same hotel brands.

After booking a reservation at a participating hotel, SPG members are invited to opt-in to the keyless program. Guests will then receive a push notification that they are checked in and the app will provide the user with their room number and Bluetooth key when the room is ready.

Meanwhile, last-minute reservation site HotelTonight has also developed a mobile app-enabled feature that allows guests to open their doors with a swipe of their phone which is being negotiated with hotels worldwide.

And while they don't offer keyless entry, rivals Marriott, Hilton and the InterContinental Hotels Group offer mobile check-in services.