It’s 1am and you return to your hotel after a long business dinner and drinks. It’s already your 10th hotel this month. You fumble in your pocket for your hotel key. Now which way do you insert they key? Where did you put your key anyway? You’re too tired to remember. Out of your pocket you pull your smart phone. Now you remember! Just tap on the mobile key app, press Unlock and your door opens.
Science fiction? No, this is how the guests at the brand new 274-room HTL Hotel in Stockholm open their doors today. The journey starts even before check-in. Guests pre-register and pay for their stay. On the day of arrival, the key and the room number is pushed to the guest’s mobile key app on their smart phone. And that’s all there is to it. Upon arrival at the hotel, the guest can go directly to their room.
What makes this all possible is the new technology from Zaplox and hetras. Zaplox, based in Lund, Sweden, provides the mobile key solution including the mobile key app. hetras, based in Munich, Germany, delivers the cloud-based hotel management software and a custom interface to Zaplox. But the catalyst driving it all is Joachim Högefjord, CEO of HTL Hotels. “People in Scandinavia are no strangers to high tech. Smartphone penetration here is the highest in the world and our guests are tech savvy. So using a smartphone to open a hotel door feels quite natural,” explained Högefjord, a true new generation hotelier.
Having just opened - on time, no less - in the beginning of May, HTL is already running at high capacity. „Guests and staff have piloted the system since beginning of May and already opened doors countless times with the Zaplox app and we’re still waiting for the first complaint. Not only does the system simply work, but the guests enjoy it,“ continued Högefjord.
Zaplox expects that as hotel guests become accustomed to using their smartphone as their key, they will strive to use the same solution for all other doors in their daily life “The same app can open everything,” said Magnus Friberg, CEO of Zaplox. “Together with our partners, we can retrofit almost any existing door to bring our modern technology to traditional buildings. It’s easier and cheaper than many realize.” HTL has contingency plans in place in case a guest loses their smartphone or the battery dies.
Ulrich Pillau, managing director of hetras, happens to be the very first user of a Zaplox key on the hotel’s opening night. “It worked brilliantly. But it’s more than just a cool gadget. It’s improved security from the guest’s perspective and it saves money for the hotel. Think of all those expensive RFID cards that no lo longer have to be produced. So it’s environmentally friendly as well."
Will smartphone-based keys replace that bulky key chain in our pocket? It may take some time, but companies such as Zaplox and hetras have shown that the technology is here today.