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Soon, Your Smartphone Will Also Be Your Hotel Key

Sometimes I think the elusive green entry light on hotel-room doors is my nemesis. At best, it’s a finicky friend–never there when I need it most, and certainly not amenable to coaxing.

But there’s hope for me yet: InterContinental Hotels Group is testing technology that allows guests to bypass the reception desk and enter their room with their smartphones.

Following the lead of airports already using smartphones as boarding passes, the Holiday Inn & Suites Chicago O’Hare Rosemont and the Holiday Inn Express Houston Downtown Convention Center will begin granting guests access to rooms via an app for iPhones, Android phones, and BlackBerries.

We’ve come a long way from the clunky keys of yesteryear, assuming the smartphone-as-key technology is a lock. And I think that anyone who has stood in a Disney-esque line to check into a Las Vegas hotel would agree that skipping check-in sounds like a wonderful idea.

What do you think? If you were given the choice between a traditional check-in with key card and a smartphone check-in with virtual key, which would you choose? Would you trust one more than the other?

Holiday Inn Express Houston photo courtesy of Travelocity/IgoUgo


My name: Michelle Doucette

How I earn my keep: I'm an editor at

Favorite way to get around: Some of my favorite trips involved renting cars in foreign countries and driving through the countryside, stopping on whims. You get a feel for the culture away from the big cities and meet interesting people on the road, including, I must admit, an embarrassingly high number of local policemen. I suppose it would be prudent to learn all of the traffic laws ahead of time.

Best meal I've had while traveling: Since a succession of gelato cones probably doesn't count as a meal, my favorite must have been a fresh crabmeat lunch prepared by a St. John sailboat captain while we took a break from snorkeling in the Caribbean. Sharing baklava as the sun came up over Paros, Greece, (while, once again, not technically a meal) was also memorable.

Travel ambitions: Since climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, I've figured out that I'd like to keep trekking while traveling. I've got my eyes on epic hikes in Nepal, Bhutan, and Peru.


Nathan Rodriguez

In my opinion it´s a clever use of technology to help in organization of the place, allowing people to serve better in other areas.

Bob McNulty

When I go away on a trip, I leave my phone at home along with my worries!

Atlanta GA Homes

I would prefer checking in via my Blackberry, but would have safety concerns because the technology is so new.

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