Aloft Piloting Smart Check-In Program That Allows Guests to Bypass the Front Desk

Industry innovator Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Inc., has announced an unprecedented Smart Check-In pilot program at its much-talked-about, tech-savvy Aloft Hotels brand that allows travelers to skip the front desk at check-in and head directly to their rooms. Made possible through a partnership with VingCard Elsafe, the Smart Check-In caters to a new generation of guests on the go who are more interested in high-tech than high-touch service. Technology has been a vital component of the brand's DNA from day one, when Aloft Hotels debuted in virtual reality on Second Life.

Through the pilot, currently being tested at the Aloft hotel in Lexington, MA, select Starwood Preferred Guest members who opt to participate in the program, which runs on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, receive an enhanced SPG / Aloft-branded RFID keycard. On the day of a planned stay, a text message is sent to the guest's mobile device with their room number at Aloft Lexington. Once at the hotel, guests can skip the check-in line and go straight to the room, where their keycard will unlock the door, giving guests control of their check-in experience in the palms of their hands.

"Removing the mundane task of issuing keys allows our talent to focus on the guest rather than the transaction," says Brian McGuinness, senior vice president, specialty select brands for Starwood. "We love the idea of further transforming Aloft's lobby atmosphere into one that's even more vibrant and engaging by changing the traditional arrival experience from sterile to social."

The SPG / Aloft-branded RFID keycard may eventually act as an all-access pass throughout the Aloft stay, allowing guests to purchase cocktails and bites at the hotel's signature wxyz bar, sundries at the re:stock retail kiosk and snacks at re:fuel by aloftSM, the Aloft brand's deli-style, grab-and-go pantry. The pilot program partner is VingCard Elsafe, a cutting-edge security technology leader for the hospitality industry.

Aloft features intuitive, high-tech features throughout its public spaces and guest rooms, ensuring guests are always "plugged in" and connected. Along with free and fast Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, all Aloft hotels feature CAT-6 high thru-put wires which means that all hotels are wired to accommodate future technologies. Guest rooms provide a calm oasis that is combination high-tech office and entertainment center, thanks to the plug & play, a one-stop connectivity solution that links multiple electronic gadgets at once such as PDAs, cell phones, mp3 players and laptops, to a 42" flat-panel HDTV-ready television for optimal sound and viewing.

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