Will RFID Join QR Code in Coolsville?

aloftlobbyRFID Check-In at Trendy Aloft Hotel

While QR Codes have made the long sojourn from TechTown to Coolsville, emerging into the arena of urban chic with seeming effortlessness; RFID is, perhaps, the Mayor of Tech-Town. However, a visit to Aloft Hotel Lexington has turned into a permanent stay and may yet alter RFID’s boring reputation.

The Aloft hotel brand was created to shake up the staid, traditional select service segment of the hotel industry. The brand delivers style at a steal with urban-influenced, modern, open and vibrant design, and a social guest experience - at an affordable price point.

Now, with the help of RFID, the hotel is also delivering automatic check-in. After a successful pilot program at Aloft Lexington last year, Aloft’s Smart Check-In, the hotel industry’s first such program, will let guests zoom to their rooms at Aloft Harlem, Aloft Brooklyn, Aloft Dallas Downtown, Aloft Jacksonville Tapestry Park, and Aloft London by the end of 2011.

“Aloft guests never settle for a traditional hotel experience, and they’ve embraced the Smart Check-In revolution with tremendous enthusiasm,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President, Specialty Select Brands for Starwood. “For our associates, freedom from traditional check-in procedures means they can spend more time engaging with guests and enhancing the social atmosphere that’s made Aloft such a huge hit.”

Running on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, Smart Check-In caters to a new generation of guests on the go who are more interested in high-tech than high-touch service. Technology has been a vital component of the Aloft brand’s DNA from day one, when the “first” Aloft hotel made its debut in virtual reality on Second Life.

RFID Smart Check-in works like this: Select Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG) members who opt to participate receive a new enhanced SPG / Aloft-branded RFID keycard. On the day of a planned stay, a text message is sent to the guest’s mobile device with their room number. Once at the hotel, guests skip the check-in line and head directly to their room, where their keycard will unlock the door.

A video tour of Smart Check-In is available here.

The company has plans to expand the The SPG / Aloft-branded RFID keycard to allow guests to make purchases throughout the hotel such as at the bar or their deli-style, grab-and-go pantry. The pilot program partner is VingCard Elsafe, a cutting-edge security technology leader for the hospitality industry.

Aloft attributes its success to its focus on the new, urban tech-savvy hotel guest, with intuitive, high-tech features throughout its public spaces and guest rooms, ensuring guests are always plugged in and connected. All Aloft hotels are prepared to accommodate future technologies with CAT-6 high thru-put wires. The guest rooms at Aloft, while preserving the calm one expects from a hotel room, are like a combination high-tech office and entertainment center. They all have plug & play, a one-stop connectivity solution that links multiple electronic gadgets at once such as PDAs, cell phones, mp3 players and laptops, to a 42” flat-panel HDTV-ready television for optimal sound and viewing.

From the ski slopes of Vail to trendy Aloft Hotel lobbies, RFID is breaking free of its warehouse-only reputation. Look out QR Code, RFID is outgrowing TechTown and looking for a new position in Coolsville.


If you liked this article, also try:

RFID Offers Slick Solution for Ski Resorts

The Point of Sale News, an online magazine dedicated to the retail industry.


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