You Can Use Your Smartphone As A Hotel Key Card. Here’s How

The Clarion Hotel Post in Gothenburg has recently announced that they are officially the first hotel in the world to offer Google Wallet hotel room keys. This is a great replacement for hotel guests to use their phones instead of keeping physical key cards.

Integrating room keys into Google Wallet simplifies the guest experience as it eliminates the need to carry around physical keys and speeds up the entire process of accessing rooms and other facilities within the hotel.

About The Technology, And How It Works

The same way one would add any other card, guests can simply add their cards to their Google Wallets upon check-in. “All you have to do is wake your phone and hold it up to the card reader,” explains the spokesperson. “Your door will unlock, and even the lift can be activated without pressing any buttons.” This is convenient guests, and safer for their valuables in the rooms.

Guests can also use their digital keys to get into secured areas like gyms, pools, and lounges throughout their stay. The technology is designed to work seamlessly with NFC-enabled door locks.

Essentially, NFC technology, brought by Near Field Communication developers, is a set of communication protocols that allows 2 devices to communicate when close by. This is also the tech that powers most of the contactless systems we already use for digital transactions.

Its designed as a safety and a low-energy solution for data exchange by authenticating and initiating transactions- perfect for retail outlets, as we’ve seen, and now hotels.


Who Brings These Technologies To Hotels?

Manufacturers NXP Semiconductors teamed up with hospitality tech providers Vingcard as some of the first companies to make this possible for hotels. Their solution uses NFC technology backed by NXP’s MIFARE® 2GO credential service.

Li Wang, Senior Vice President and Head of Hospitality at Vingcard explained, “Whether accessing their hotel key through a mobile app or a digital wallet located on their Google or Apple device, guests using Mobile Access gain the ultimate convenience of choice and instant service.”

Another hospitality software company, 4SUITES, is also using NFC tech for better access in the industry. They also work with the tech that now lets Google Wallet keep hotel keys on Android devices.

“We are very excited to offer smart room access to our customers via Google Wallet. This new solution will allow hotel guests to use a digital key saved in Google Wallet in order to access their room with a tap of their Android smartphone,” Schöllkopf, CTO of 4SUITES explains.

Clariton Hotel Post’s Digital Innovations

Strawberry Hotels, the group Clarion Hotel Post is from, confirmed in their release that it was in fact Vingcard together with Zaplox, a key card provider, who helped them bring this new innovation to their hotel.

In their release, they explained, “Strawberry and Vingcard have had a successful partnership since 2010 to provide mobile key solutions and in December 2022, Zaplox joined the partnership to handle the full life cycle for mobile keys in the portfolio.”

What About Apple Wallet?

On March 6, Apple had also announced that they now offer the service of allowing users to use their Apple Pay Wallets to store their hotel key cards. Not too different from using Google Wallet, users can use Apple Pay to add their key cards by simply opening the hotel or resort app, signing into their account, and selecting their booking.

From there, they tap ‘Add to Apple Wallet‘ and follow the on-screen instructions to integrate their room key directly into their wallet. Once added, this digital key allows guests to unlock their hotel room door by simply holding their iPhone or Apple Watch near the lock

The first hotel group to use this was the Hyatt group. The Strawberry Hotel group wasn’t too far after, with them being the first in Europe to integrate with Apple at Clarion Hotel Post.