The key to the future of hotel booking might just lie in new technologies being developed by BMW. The car company is researching a process that will allow drivers to book a hotel room from their car’s navigation system, be directed to their hotel and then proceed straight to their rooms where they can then unlock their hotel room doors using a chip in their keys.
BMW has been working with electronic lock and safe company VinCard Elsafe and Micros property management systems to create the new mode of booking, which works thanks to near-field communications (NFC) – a set of short-range wireless technologies.
Here’s how it works: drivers will be prompted to enter their credit card information into their navigation systems one time (and one time only). BMW’s navigation system will then be able to use Google to detect nearby hotels, populating a list for the driver. The system will connect to the hotel reservation system thanks to Micros, a property management software, which enables guests to book and pay for the room from the car. At this point, drivers must confirm their identity by entering a personal identification number. A credit card clearing company handles the invoicing and the hotel is notified that the reservation is guaranteed. It sounds complicated, but the entire process will only take a few taps on a screen for drivers.
Then comes the really cool part: the hotel room assignment is then sent back to the car, where drivers can press a button on their navigation system that puts them on course to the hotel. Their car key, which is equipped with NFC, will then receive an access code to the guest room. Guests have no reason to check in at the desk; they can go straight to their room where VinCard Elsafe locks, which are NFC-enabled, will let them in with the swipe of a key.
There was some buzz about BMW’s research back in April, but a press release from VinCard Elsafe confirms that development is underway. For now, we can only speculate what this means for the future of hotel booking – even to those of us who don’t drive BMWs. When the new mode of booking is finally introduced, here’s to hoping drivers pull over to the side of the road to make their selections.
[Photo by drewgstephens, Flickr]