IHG’s mobile phone locking system pilot goes live at 2 hotels

HOUSTON A pilot of the OpenWays mobile phone locking system, which uses encrypted ringtones to unlock guestroom doors, has gone live at two IHG properties.

Guests at Holiday Inn & Suites Chicago O’Hare Rosemont and Holiday Inn Express Houston Downtown now have the option of bypassing the front desk check-in process using the OpenWays platform. IHG is branding its version of OpenWays as “MobileKey.” IHG announced back in June its intention to field test the system.

“More and more of our guests—especially Gen Y and business travelers—are looking for simpler, more efficient ways to check-in and get to their rooms,” says Bryson Koehler, IHG’s senior vice president of revenue and guest technology. “Due to the proliferation of mobile devices, a MobileKey could be a great option.”

IHG has launched a blog called IHG Innovation Center, which can be found at, to help guests and consumers stay up-to-date about news surrounding the pilot and to interact directly with brand managers.

During the pilot, which involves all guestrooms at the two hotels, guests will have the option to “enroll” for MobileKey via the email sent prior to their check-in date or at the front desk. Participants will be rewarded with a US$10 Gift Card for filling out a short survey after their stay.

OpenWays, the company that created the MoblieKey technology, uses the principle of Crypto Acoustic Credential and text messaging to securely deliver an encrypted tone or “credential” to the right user anywhere in the world. Installation of the technology at hotels involves an upgrade to all existing room locks with a decoding device. The solution is compatible with all mobile phone models and carriers worldwide, as well as all the major electronic-locking systems and access-control systems. 

MobileKey requires users to “enroll” via email for the mobile room key service before their check-in date. On the day of arrival, the guest receives a text message containing both the room number and a secured link to retrieve the room key. When the guest arrives at the hotel, the guest can bypass the front desk, go directly to the room, and via cell phone open the door lock. Each aural key produced is encrypted, unique and becomes obsolete from the moment it is used for optimum security.

“We would like to thank IHG and Holiday Inn for being first in the hotel industry to deploy the MobileKey solution from OpenWays,” says OpenWays CEO Pascal Metivier. “It has been a true honor to partner with such visionaries who strive to keep guest service at the forefront of their operations and who recognize the value that a mobile strategy brings to today’s travelers. We look forward to future of this program.”