So you’ve been traveling all day. You just arrived in a foreign city. You took a stuffy airplane followed by a stuffy shuttle to get to your hotel. And now you have to wait in line at the hotel’s check-in desk before you can throw your stuff on the bed and relax.
Fortunately, a new hotel technology lets you bypass that last step and go straight to your room. Instead of waiting in line when you check into a hotel, guests at Starwood hotels can simply walk by the front desk and go straight to their room without even talking to a hotel employee.
How do you unlock the door to your hotel room, you might ask? With your phone, of course!
Here’s how it works:
Step 1) You download the Starwood Preferred Guest app
Step 2) Check into a room
Step 3) Walk right past the peasants waiting in line at the front desk and stride confidently to your room
Step 4) Open the app, hold out your phone, and twist it in a 90 degree motion in front of a sensor to unlock the door
The Starwood Preferred Guest app update hasn’t been released yet, as I presume they’re trying to tighten up security. Hopefully, you’ll never be able to inadvertently access somebody else’s room simply by twirling your smartphone.
Starwood hotels can be found around the world and include hotels like Westin, Sheraton, and W.
Here’s a look at the app in action:
I have a feeling this feature will struggle to get off the ground. Why? Because this seems like a very hackable system.
Judging by the video, your screen simply displays a unique code. The scanner on your door reads this code and you gain entry to the room.
There’s a major problem with that: mimicking a screen isn’t all that difficult. How accurate will the system be? What happens if I take a picture of my phone screen today and bring up that picture next week at the hotel?
Hotels already have the odd security problem with ‘unique’ room keys, where you accidentally walk into somebody else’s hotel room because the codes got messed up. It’s foolish to think a smartphone system like this would be 100% accurate.
Of course, we’re dealing with one of the largest hotel chains in the world here, so it’s not like security is lacking. I hope this idea catches on to all hotel chains and front desk wait lines become a thing of the past.