Hotels to turn smartphones into room keys

Global hotelier InterContinental is planning to trial a scheme at two of its Holiday Inn hotels, where guests can use a mobile phone app to unlock their rooms rather than using a key card.

There will be a dedicated website where you'll have to register and the Open Ways app will need to be pre-downloaded in advance of your stay. It would allow you to totally skip the whole check-in business which, let's face it, is the bane of any frequent traveller's trip. It works by calling up the confirmation email onto your phone and, when you hold it up to a sensor, it will unlock your room door.

"The holy grail item for us is to simplify the room-key hand-off moment at the hotel", said InterContinental chief, Bryson Koehler.

"The proliferation of smartphones is growing in such a way that we have to look at what people are already bringing with them to make their stay more enjoyable. We don't need to burden people with additional items, it just clutters up their lives. The beauty of the smart phone is that they've already got it".

The scheme will be running for around 3 months at Chicago's O' Hare Rosemont Holiday Inn and the Holiday Inn Express in Houston. It begins in June and may even run longer if it proves to be popular.

If you're in the Windy City or H-Town over the next few months and bed down at one of these Holiday Inns for a night, let us know if the app proves to be any good.