Now we are talking. This is a truly useful piece of functionality. Holiday Inn is testing in two locations (Chicago and Houston) their new ability to unlock your hotel room door with your iPhone. I am thinking about taking a trip to Houston or Chicago just to play with it.
Aside from the obvious cool factor involved here, this is yet another baby step towards a fully integrated mobile-driven world. At this point the technology exists, we just need someone to actually do it. I love this idea because it accomplishes two primary goals for me. One, I no longer have to stop at the front desk to check in. You are texted your room number and code the day of your arrival and you simply show up to the room. Voila! No lines, no muss, no fuss. With express checkout ubiquitous everywhere, I can skip interacting with absolutely anyone at the hotel should I opt to do so.
Number two, it puts the control of my life on my phone which I have on my person everywhere anyway. Less to carry, less to worry about loosing, less to throw away later, less, less, less. The result is more. I get more use out of my mobile device, I get more convenience in the hotel check-in process, and I get more time on vacation, less time in line checking in. While they are not mentioning it, I am sure the digital key comes with some type of check in/out feature as well as room account viewing. If it does not now, it will. Again, wonderful.
Clearly you won’t hear us argue that everything should have an app. I daily recognize tasks in my life that would be made easier with an app. I am just happy to see that we are moving in the right direction. Meanwhile I cannot wait to check in to my first hotel with my iPhone.