Smartphone app replacing room key at local hotel

At Aloft hotel in Ashwaubenon, smartphones are replacing room keys. “I think with technology and everyone using their smartphones all the time, it’s very beneficial to the guests and convenient, especially if they’re a late check-in and they just want to pass the desk and go right up to their room,” said Elizabeth Schaick, general manager of Aloft.

To use the keyless system, first you have to download, register, and then check-in with the hotel’s free app. “It sends a notification to the front desk in our e-mail and we go into our SPG keyless dashboard and we’ll check them in,” Schaick said.

Once the hotel confirms your information, the phone’s bluetooth has to be turned on, and a digital key is made. “We send a push notification letting them know that they’re checked-in,” Schaick said.

The hotel rolled out the new option last month but the keyless system only works with smartphones.

So what happens if your cell phone dies or you don’t own a smartphone? Schaick says the hotel still offers key cards. “We would make you a new key and bring it up there for you,” Schaick said.

But is it possible for someone else to crack the code and get into your room? “I guess, if it’s digital, there’s no absolute fail-safe but there’s no fail-safe in life,” said Raechelle Clemmons.

Clemmons is the vice president and chief information officer at St. Norbert College. She says technology always has flaws.

“If you had a hotel key, you could lose it and somebody could get into your room, so there were other risks and now you’re shifting them more into a digital environment,” Clemmons said.

Aloft’s general manager says the keyless system uses encrypted codes to keep your digital key secure. The hotel also asks guests to protect their phones with a passcode.


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