Hotels.com tests a mobile app that generates a guest room key

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Expedia Inc’s online travel agency brand Hotels.com is testing a mobile app that will let guests check in and check out — and generate electronic room keys — at partner hotels.

The prototype was demonstrated at a customer conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

Hotels.com’s president Johan Svanstrom says “quite a few hotel chains” have expressed interested in trialing the technology. He anticipates real world uses launching by March 2017.

The first target market will be Europe. Hotels.com is partnering with SALTO Systems, a third-party vendor based in Sweden whose software layer interacts with its hardware installations at more than 6,000 hotels.

Hotels have been anticipating smartphone-powered electronic key technology since 2010. But the concept became serious when Hilton Worldwide began two years ago to enable guests at several of its hotel brands to pick their room after they check in via an app. A handful of other chains, large and small, have followed suit to varying degrees.

In related news, several vendors are competing to become the standard for the space, including OpenKey (see our profile)

NB: Image via Salto

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