Smart Phones Debut as Hotel Keys

Chicago hotel will test new check-in app

By Matt Bartosik
|  Wednesday, May 26, 2010  |  Updated 2:26 PM CDT
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You could soon use your phone as your hotel key card.

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Our smartphones are incredible pieces of technology, allowing us to do everything from check the CTA bus schedule to read up-to-the-minute news.

And soon, right here in Chicago, you may be able to check into your hotel room with your phone, instead of a key card.

Holiday Inns in Chicago and Houston are testing a smartphone application that allows guests to skip the check-in desk and unlock their rooms by holding their phone to a sensor, reports USA Today.

"The holy grail item for us is to simplify the room-key hand-off moment at the hotel," InterContinental Hotels Group executive Bryson Koehler told the paper.

Testing is set to take place for a minimum of 60 days at the Holiday Inn Chicago O'Hare Rosemont and the Holiday Inn Express Houston Downtown Convention Center.

"We don't need to burden people with additional items; it just clutters up their lives," Koehler said. "The beauty of the smartphone is that they've already got it."

Heck, many folks are firmly attached to their phones 24/7.

If the trial is successful, the app will be made available to most mobile phones, including the iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

The program could significantly cut down hotels' waste, as well as save time for both guests and staff.

Now we just need an app that tells the guests in the next room to keep it down.

Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign.

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