My iPhone as a Hotel Key? Wierd.

a black cell phone with many apps on the screenIn USA Today’s Hotel-Check In, Barb De Lollis writes about business travel related stuff, often hotel-related. I enjoy reading her column, and I enjoy reading the debates that often rage in the comments below. I am looking forward to the comment debate today!!

Today the column is about Holiday Inn rolling out a pilot that uses smartphones as a hotel key. Basically you download an app to your iPhone, Blackberry, or Android, check in on the hotel website, and bypass the desk in the lobby completely as you head to your room. Pull up your confirmation email, hold your phone against the lock, and voila! Open door. That’s the way it’s supposed to work, anyway.

This is incredibly interesting to me, and I can think of several arguments for and against this technology. First of all, I love a timesaver. Sometimes hotel desks have long lines, and any way to bypass a line while I’m traveling is a great thing. Second, I love my iPhone and I’m always excited to find out it can do more cool stuff.  That may be as far as it goes for me with the pros.

As for the cons, well, I have thought of a lot of those. What if you get to your room and the technology doesn’t work? You have to go all the way back to the front desk and stand in that long line anyway. Also, things are constantly being hacked. How’s the security? What if it gets compromised? Will someone walk into my room and steal my stuff? If the front desk staff doesn’t see everyone checking in, how will they know if someone suspicious is wandering around?

If this becomes available for Hilton hotels, I would probably use it just to see what it’s like. But I would have to be assured of its safety and reliability first.

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