UAE: Hotels begin to allow guests to access rooms through cell phones

Guests can now use smartphones as digital keys to access their rooms and reduce check-in times


Waheed Abbas

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Photo: KT file
Photo: KT file

Published: Sun 21 Aug 2022, 1:28 PM

Last updated: Sun 21 Aug 2022, 6:23 PM

Certain hotels in the UAE have now started allowing guests to access their rooms using their cell phones, eliminating the complications of losing your key, reducing check-in and check-out times, and improving safety during the pandemic.

Hoteliers are initially rolling out this facility only to their loyalty programme members.

Park Hyatt Dubai and DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island are among the first hotels to introduce this guest-friendly service in the UAE.

Pieter Van Beugen, general manager at DoubleTree by Hilton Resort and Spa Marjan Island, said the hotel now provides its guests with the option to use the digital key service.

“A five-minute wait at check-in is said to reduce customer satisfaction by 50 per cent", notes Van Beugen, "so the adoption of digital key technology ensures guest satisfaction, facilitating a seamless guest journey with reduced check-in and check-out times.

Additionally, it also optimises the welcome process at reception with decreased traffic in the lobby, thus providing great customer service."

In addition, utilising digital key technology also helps reduce the hotel’s use of plastic and its overall impact on the environment, Van Beugen added.

Hotels across the globe have increasingly been adopting smartphones as digital keys in order to provide their customers with unique experiences, particularly after the pandemic in order to prioritise the safety of the hotel staff and guests.

As a major global tourist destination, Dubai attracts millions of tourists every month from across the globe. The emirate received 7.12 million international visitors in the first half of 2022 as compared to 2.52m in the same period last year. The UAE’s branded hospitality market reached 116,800 keys by the end of the second quarter of 2022.

Park Hyatt Dubai has also confirmed it allows guests to access their rooms using their smartphones as digital keys.

“For the hotel, it is very cost-saving and eases the operation, particularly the check-in process", the hotel said in a statement to Khaleej Times. "It's also safer due to Covid and enhances the guest experience as they do not need to pass by the reception for extensions, lost keys and room moves."

Radisson Hotel Group has also said they are considering deploying mobile keys across some of their properties in the first stage, then later across all of its portfolios.

"Digital ID tools and the contactless experience are key for success. We are looking at enhancing contactless check-ins by deploying mobile keys in select properties starting in 2023, followed by a general roll-out across all our brands," said Fraidy Pinto, area director of IT at Radisson Hotel Group.

How does the mobile key work?

In order to use a mobile phone as a digital key, guests need to be World of Hyatt members and download the World of Hyatt application. From the app, they can manage their bookings and access the option of a mobile entry. The booking is activated once the guests taps on a blue label showing their room number and a 'key', following which an SMS is sent to the guest with an activation code. Entering the code activates Bluetooth, at which point the guest can tap it on their door and unlock it.

To use the digital key at the DoubleTree property, a guest must be an enrolled Hilton Honors member and must utilise the Hilton Honors app. Guests will need to register to join the Hilton Honors loyalty programme. Through Hilton Honors, members can not only access digital keys, but can also receive a number of other member-only benefits.


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