Starwood Mobile Check-In and Keyless Entry

Client: Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Role: Creative Direction / App Design / UI Design

SPG Keyless represents a groundbreaking turning point in the traditional hotel experience by fundamentally redefining how guests arrive and check in to their rooms.

SPG Keyless, powered by the SPG app, enables guests to bypass the front desk, avoid waiting in line, and ultimately unlock their stay with a simple smartphone tap. This innovation frees up hotel associates’ time, allowing them to engage with guests and transform the first interaction from transactional to personal. It’s high-tech, supporting high-touch unlike ever before.

Behance – Featured in UI/UX curated gallery

Key learnings from this project

Start with simple and small prototypes

Instead of trying to launch new functionality to all 1500 Starwood Hotels, we started with only 2 Aloft Hotels in Harlem and Cupertino to be able to prototype and test this, which made all the difference.

Teamwork makes everything possible

This was only possible because of the great partnership between our design, engineering, and product teams who were able to work with and push each other throughout the development process.

Success products are based on unmet consumer needs

No one through rethinking the plastic card key was a problem that needed to be solved but through our research and testing, we saw this was a big pain point people just accepted because there was no other option.


Disrupting a 40-year-old hotel standard

SPG Keyless is an evolution of Starwood’s Smart Check-In, another industry-first that debuted at Aloft hotels in 2011, allowing guests to bypass traditional check-in and access their rooms with an RFID-equipped key card. Building upon those early learnings to develop SPG Keyless, Starwood tapped the world’s largest lock manufacturer, Assa Abloy, to create an all-new, Bluetooth-enabled lock and keyless software, which are designed to recognize and connect with a guest’s mobile device securely. SPG Keyless works with both iPhone and Android devices.


Step 1: Register your device

For security reasons, each device must register with SPG Keyless, and the guest can register multiple phones for their person, business, and other devices. The process is very simple and only needs to be done once per device. Once registration is completed, the guest can read an extensive FAQ to prepare to use keyless for their next stay.

Step 2: Receive notification

After you have registered your iPhone to an Android device with the SPG app it will let you know when you have an upcoming keyless stay to start the mobile check-in process.  You will receive a notification that will take you into the app to confirm your check-in time, check-out time, and payment method. After that, the keyless tile in the stay mode screen will keep the guest up to date on the process as it does from invitation to request to have your digital key.

Step 3: Open the door!

Once your room is available and your key has been sent to your device, you will get another notification letting you know everything is ready. Simply go to the hotel, open the app to see your room number, and hold your device up to the keypad to open your door.

A media darling

The media launch generated millions of dollars in media impressions across most major global media outlets, 500k YouTube views in two weeks and all on $0 in media spend. 

Available on Apple Watch

SPG Keyless is also available on the SPG app for Apple Watch which makes it even easier to open your hotel room door with SPG keyless. The SPG app for Apple Watch gives you the option of opening your door from the app’s glance, an actionable notification, or from several places within the app.


And Steve Wozniak loves it!

We were lucky enough to capture Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak using SPG Keyless for the first time at the Hotel in Hollywood.


Great design and experiences that drove business-changing results.

80k to 5m users within 6 months of launch.

( Half of all SPG customers )

5-star rating within 6 months of the relaunch.

( Globally for Android and iOS )

Beat mobile revenue targets by at least 15% for 10 consecutive quarters.