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Holiday Inn to start testing smartphone hotel room key program

Holiday Inn is currently gearing up to test a program at a pair of selected locations in which smartphones would be used as hotel room keys.

If the idea of being able to use your smartphone to display boarding passes excites you, then you'll be happy to know that that convenience could be extended to hotels.

Holiday Inn is currently gearing up to test a program at a pair of selected locations in which smartphones would be used as hotel room keys.

According to USA Today, InterContinental Hotels Group (the company encompasses Holiday Inn, among other hotel chains) says that the motivation for such an initiative is that guests prefer to avoid the front desk and don't want to be burdened with extra items. (Is a thin plastic card really that cumbersome?)

IHG's test program will take off first at Holiday Inn locations in Chicago and Houston with technology made by Open Ways that should be compatible with the iPhone, Blackberry and Android-powered devices. Basically guests register with the hotel and download an app, which could be slightly annoying unless you travel frequently and will make good use out of it.  Upon arrival, guests open up a confirmation email on their smartphones and then hold it up to the door's sensor for entry.

Seems simple and handy enough, and it would save on plastic consumption of all of those key cards. Although not everyone has a smartphone, so hotels would need to keep service that on hand.

Do you like the idea of using your smartphone for unlocking and locking your hotel room door?