Added 13 February, 2014
Remember the days when hotels rooms had real keys? Often connected to large and heavy key chains meant to remind guests to return them to the front desk, these old school metal keys are hard to find these days. Now it's all about key cards with magnetic strips – or sometimes with embedded RFID chips. But the days of disposable plastic cards are numbered as hotel chains are testing technologies that allow guests to access their rooms via mobile phone apps. Aloft Hotels in New York and Silicon Valley are at the forefront of this trend, allowing arriving guests to check-in on their mobile devices and head straight to their rooms, without even having to pick up a key. It's all done on the hotel's app which contains a virtual key that is activated via Bluetooth technology. While using a phone as a your key may be helpful, many in the industry are doubtful that guests will want to avoid front desk personnel entirely, since many people who check-in are looking for that human touch to find the best room or ask about breakfast options or directions. Are phones the future of hotel keys?