Your smartphone may soon be the key to your dream vacation.
Various reports and recent travel trends have shown that more and more major timeshare brands are experimenting with new technology to improve the overall experience of their guests. With Starwood implementing keyless entry for select hotel rooms, and other brands like Hilton and Marriott expanding the features of their rewards apps, the hospitality industry is finally blazing a new trail in the 21st century.
One of the most popular travel trends taking hold in the timeshare industry is rooms with keyless entry. The traditional magnetic stripe locks are being replaced by Bluetooth-enabled locks in select hotels and resorts around the U.S. The theory behind the transition is simple—guests can get into their accommodations using an app on their smartphones. This way, they will never lose their room key, and the cost of producing thousands of little plastic cards will be a thing of the past.
Starwood was the first major brand to start experimenting with this technology back in 2014. Starwood’s app actually enables guests to skip checking in at the front desk. Instead, the app will notify guests what room number they have on the day their stay begins, and they can unlock the door to their room, suite, or villa instantly.
Hilton soon followed suit by announcing their own smartphone technology. They have synced the keyless entry functionality with their HHonors app, which can also enable guests at select Hilton hotels to choose the room they want during an entirely mobile check in process. Marriott, Hyatt, and Holiday Inn have similar products and services in development.
While these keyless entry features and other smartphone-based functions are slowly entering the hospitality industry, the timeshare industry has the potential to be changed the most. Keyless entry is one thing, but as soon as brands move more aspects of the vacation ownership business to mobile apps, it could not be uncommon for timeshare owners to manage their membership points, make reservations, access upgrades, and more.
Many vacation ownership programs also offer bonuses and exclusive offers on things like airfare, dining options, and attractions. As these hotels and resorts form more business connections, a more inclusive all-in-one digital vacation planning experience could also be possible. Timeshare exchange companies like RCI and Interval International have already begun to do this to some degree through their website.
For current timeshare owners, the future looks bright as the vacation ownership industry begins to adapt to and embrace new travel trends. However, those who do not own a vacation club membership may find themselves missing out.
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