Business hotel introduces world's first smart hotel key
This is one hotel key you don’t want to lose.
A new business hotel in Seoul has started using smartphones for hotel keys that also allow guests to surf the Internet and control room lights, television and temperature.
Hotel Skypark Central in Seoul’s financial district launched the smart-key service on December 26, changing the locks and room controls in 16 of its rooms.
Guests pick up the smartphone when they check in at the front desk.
“We wanted to do more technological advancement with smart buildings, so working with a hotel was a new initiative for us,” said Dong-hui Lim, public relations representative for LG CNS, the IT service provider that developed the technology.
“It’s convenient for guests, as they can control the room from outside the hotel, as well. For example, in winter, they’d be able to have the room heated before they came back to the hotel.”
Although a number of hotels around the world have placed tablets in rooms with similar capabilities for controlling room features, LG CNS and Hotel Skypark Central say this is the first time this particular technology has been used in a hotel anywhere in the world.
Dubbed Near-Field Communication (NFC), the new technology also allows hotels to monitor the environment of all rooms via a single management screen.
“We plan on implementing the service at two more hotels that we are planning on opening,” said Hotel Skypark Central marketing representative Woo Hye-yeon.
“We had a brief testing period before we officially launched the service, and the users liked it a lot. They found it very useful.”
Actual phone services aren't enabled on the smartphone keys, but Wi-Fi is provided by the hotel at no extra charge.
Asked if guests would be worried about losing the smartphone key (the hotel won't say what it will charge for a lost key), Lim said that may be the case for a short period, but added that in the future guests will be able to download an app on their own smartphones in order to use the service.
Skypark Central Hotel, Myeongdong 9-gil 16, Jung-gu, Seoul; +82 2 752 0092; rooms from ₩200,000 (US$187); www.skyparkhotel.com