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Skip the Front Desk. IHG Pilots Cell Phone Check-ins

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is piloting of a mobile-based front desk bypass solution that gives guests at the Holiday Inn & Suites Chicago O'Hare Rosemont and the Holiday Inn Express Houston Downtown the freedom of choice. As part of the pilot that began this month, travelers visiting the two locations can choose between MobileKey access to their guestroom or continue to check-in the traditional way and obtain a plastic keycard prior to going to their room.

"Through technology we are able to find new ways to enhance the guest experience at our hotels. More and more of our guests - especially Gen Y and business travelers - are looking for simpler, more efficient ways to check-in and get to their rooms," says Bryson Koehler, senior vice president of revenue and guest technology, IHG. "Due to the proliferation of mobile devices, a MobileKey could be a great option. With all the interest in MobileKey, we've created a blog called IHG Innovation Center. The blog will help our guests and consumers stay up-to-date about the latest news surrounding the pilot, interact with us directly and ask questions. We also hope that our guests will tell us what they think about MobileKey."

During the pilot, guests will have the option to "enroll" for MobileKey via the e-mail sent prior to their check-in date or at the front desk. If they choose to participate in the pilot, they will be among the first guests to use MobileKey. Participants will be rewarded with a $10 Gift Card for filling out a short survey after their stay.

OpenWays, the company that created the MoblieKey technology, uses the principle of Crypto Acoustic Credential (CAC) and text messaging (SMS) to securely deliver an encrypted tone or "credential" to the right user anywhere in the world. Installation of the technology at hotels involves a simple upgrade to all existing room locks with an OpenWays CAC decoding device. The solution is compatible with the latest smartphones (including the new Apple iPhone 4 and 3GS, the Google Android-based phones, Blackberry's, etc.) and every other cell phone and carrier worldwide as well as all the major electronic-locking systems and access-control systems. The easy-to-use MobileKey invites each guest via e-mail to "enroll" for the mobile room key service before their check-in date. The day of arrival the guest receives a text message containing both the room number and a secured link to retrieve the room key. When the guest arrives at the hotel, the guest can bypass the front desk, go directly to the room, and via cell phone open the door lock. Each CAC "aural" key produced is encrypted, unique and becomes obsolete from the moment it is used for optimum security.Õ

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