iOS 15 and watchOS 8 introduce the ability to add hotel room keys to the Wallet app on the iPhone and Apple Watch, allowing you to gain access to your room, elevators, and other locked areas by simply tapping your iPhone or Apple Watch against a card reader. The feature eliminates the need for a traditional plastic room card.
Last month, hotel chain Hyatt became the first to adopt the feature at six U.S. locations, including Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa, Hyatt House Chicago/West Loop-Fulton Market, Hyatt House Dallas/Richardson, Hyatt Place Fremont/Silicon Valley, and Hyatt Regency Long Beach.
Using the Hyatt app, hotel guests can add their room key to the Wallet app after completing a reservation, and they will be notified when check-in time arrives. Once a guest is checked in and the room is ready, the room key in the Wallet app will be activated for immediate use and display the guest's room number and reservation length.
DeMuro tested the feature with Express Mode enabled, meaning that the iPhone does not need to be unlocked in order to be used as a hotel room key. The process was quick and seamless, allowing him to gain access to his room and the elevator in a split second. Express Mode can be disabled for users who prefer an added layer of security.
Should the iPhone run out of battery, an automatic Power Reserve feature allows the device to be used as a hotel key for up to five hours.
Hotel room keys in the Wallet app are both convenient and can provide for a contactless experience. If a Hyatt guest needs to change rooms, extend a stay, or request a late check out, the hotel can update the guest's room key in the Wallet app remotely, eliminating the need for the guest to visit the front desk. When it's time to check out, guests can do so through the Hyatt app, and the room key will be remotely deactivated.
Hyatt plans to roll out hotel room keys in the Wallet app globally over time, and other hotel chains will likely follow suit, but the feature remains limited for now.