Brian McGuinness, senior vice president of specialty select brands for Starwood, stands with an iPad inside a room at the soon-to-open Aloft hotel in Harlem. Some of Starwood's urban-style Aloft hotels are testing a tech-driven welcome service where customers are texted their room numbers before arriving, allowing them to bypass the front desk and head to their floor. Traditional hotel front desks may be destined for a scrap heap teeming with bygone lobby fixtures like key boxes, desk bells and hat racks.



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