Hotel door locks play an important part in the security of your guests but also for your property. It can be easily compromised if you haven’t taken the necessary steps to protect your guests.
Your guests want to feel safe.
Bust most importantly… They need to be safe.
First, let’s take a look at how the electronic options have evolved, how these enhance the guest experience, and the possibility of risks.
In addition to improving the guest experience, the electronic options can also save hotel staff time, making their tasks hassle-free. We look at this aspect also in more detail.
Finally, we look at the whole issue from the viewpoint of the guest. Guests are concerned about their personal safety as well as the safety of the items they leave in the room. By looking at the different options that improve the level of safety, hotels can find ways to build greater guest safety into their processes. This can be another way to enhance the guest experience.
We conclude with a look at top hotel lock manufacturers and ancillary systems.
What Hotel Door Locks Do?
Hotel door locks are helping hotels to increase their occupancy rates by enhancing the guest experience. This can be done by speeding up their check-in and check-out through the use of electronic door lock options.
Your hotel guests must be welcomed correctly in a fast and efficient way.
Research about hotel-stay satisfaction levels has revealed that a wait of over five minutes leads to a 50% drop in these levels. This finding points to the importance of speeding up the check-in process.
The old school check-in
The traditional check-in experience involved guests meeting the staff at the front desk, confirming their booking, and collecting a metal key to the room door. This process adds a few (or more) minutes to the process (though it does provide the opportunity for the guest to establish personal contact with the hotel staff). The guests will also usually carry around the key-ring with the room number when they go to the restaurant and other hotel facilities to charge the services’ prices to the room bill.
The risks for the hotels of this traditional option
For the hotel, this traditional method did pose some risks. What if the guest loses the key (or deliberately takes it away)? The hotels would have to incur the cost of changing the room lock to prevent unauthorized persons from getting into the room using the missing key.
Today hotel keys
The welcome experiences of both the guest and the hotel improved with the use of key cards and battery-powered door locks, which have a sequence of lock codes. The cards can be swipe cards with magnetic strips, proximity cards with RFID, or even cards with holes, all of which allow you to open the lock of your room. Additionally, the cards could record different pieces of information, such as room and guest account numbers and the departure date. The card cannot be used to open the door after this date, as the lock code will be reset if an attempt is made to open it with an expired card.
Risks of losing key card
Even if the card is lost, the risk involved will be minimal as the new card (that replaces the lost card) will automatically change the access code in the lock. However, the room remains unprotected after the loss until the new card is inserted.
Electronic card keys generate an audit trail of room access, indicating who entered the room at that time. This can help identify the persons who entered the room during the period when a theft or other unwelcome event happened.
The cards are cut at the front desk when the guest checks in and integrated with the Property Management System (PMS) that records confidential data such as guest name, address, and credit card details.
The newest method to open hotel room
The latest advance is smartphone access, where you check in with your smartphone. What this means is that you can go straight to your room without passing through the front desk. For example, Hilton Hotels have implemented a system where the guest downloads an app, chooses a room of their choice, and activates a digital key a day before their arrival. The guest can press an unlock button in the app when near the door of the room.
The evolution of the hotel lock has made check-in a hassle-free experience both for the guest and the hotel. Hotels also gain from the ease of maintaining guest records and preventing unauthorized access to the rooms.
Risks of the digital options
The digital options have roused fears among users on two major counts – privacy and hacking.
One IT professional reported a case of a card key that contained guest identification details and credit card number on a card he was given. However, card key companies say that such information is not recorded under modern systems. Instead, the card will communicate with a secure PMS containing sensitive details when such information is needed. The card itself will not contain these details. Additionally, the information on the card is encrypted using a proprietary card encoder and is not readable by users.
The key card system is in wide use now, and security breaches have not been reported.
The smartphone-based system is not yet widely used as hotels fear hackers might gain unauthorized access to rooms and guest details. On the other hand, Hilton reported that there had been not a single security breach over 11 million users of the key under this system.
Supplementing the Locks to keep your items (and yourself) safe
The guest viewpoint.
Though sages advise us not to get too attached to our possessions, most of us find that belongings like our wallet, laptops, and smartphones play essential roles in our lives, and losing any of these could disrupt things seriously. While it might be okay to carry a wallet and phones around with us, it is quite inconvenient to carry around laptops and many other valuables when we are out sightseeing.
How can we ensure the protection of the things we leave in the room when we are out?
One way to do it is by keeping these possessions under the protection of additional locks. The most obvious way is to use the hotel room safe.
However, it is risky as hotel staff can use master keys to open the safe.
Basically, they will be entering the room for cleaning and other purposes, and if they can access the room with the master key and are criminally inclined, they can steal items from the safe. An outside thief can also carry away the whole safe unless it is bolted to the wall.
Additional security devices that supplement the hotel door locks
Several devices in the market can ensure the safety of guests’ possessions whether the guest is inside or outside the room. We take a brief look at these.
Room Safe Lock: These come in different shapes. All provide an additional layer of security before an intruder can access the safe lock itself. This outer layer is under your control, and hotel staff or others cannot unlock it.
Portable Safe Box: This “box” usually comes in the shape of a sturdy lockable bag that can be attached to a permanent structure in the room (so that it cannot be carried away). You carry this with you during your travels, and as the key to open it is with you, others cannot open it.
Portable Door Lock: In this case, you prevent access to the room itself by locking it with your supplementary lock. This additional lock can work with the existing door lock, or it might merely jam the door shut from the inside (when you are in the room). A simple wedge that slides under the door from inside can do the same thing.
Door Alarms: These emit a loud alarm when the door is opened so that people cannot enter the room without alerting you (and others). These, too, come in different shapes. Some of these work by sensing motion anywhere in the room (other than the bed on which you are sleeping!)
Sturdy Wire Locks: These consist of a long wire with a lock and can be used to attach something to a strong fixture in your room, such as the radiator. These locks can be used not only in hotel rooms but also in other places such as a waiting room or a restaurant so that a thief will not make away with your box while your attention is focused on something else.
Guests can also ask the front desk to keep valuables in the hotel safe (not room safe) that is under the watch of the staff (and hence offers greater security).
Suppliers of Best Hotel Door Locks and Systems
I am not affiliated with any of the hotel door locks manufacturers below. These have been used by the biggest hotel branches in the world.
ASSA ABLOY offers security solutions drawing on the world’s largest selection of locking products for a diverse range of applications and environments.
Onity DirectKey™ system for mobile access launched and expanding at Hilton properties. Cloud-based key credentialing technology allows straight-to-room option and smartphone access for hotel guests. Onity unveils the new Trillium® lock series at the Hotel Show in Dubai. Features modern look, advanced security, and seamless interface with DirectKey system
The SALTO XS4 access control platform combine electronic door components, peripherals and software, providing tailor-made wire-free networked access control solutions. Everything fits together; everything works.
You can find all kinds of locks – conventional, supplementary, and electronics – at Amazon. Just look for the rating stars and number of customer reviews to identify the best choices.
Other helpful Hotel Door Locks resources
Guests want to use their smartphones to control every aspect of their stay – and the major hotel chains around the world are responding. Keyless entry, mobile check-in, and check-out equal a quantum leap for the guest experience. OpenKey makes delivering on guest expectations simple, fast, and affordable.
Mews is a Cloud-based property management software that helps hotels and hostels automate their operations so they can focus on their guests. Plugin your favorite apps and manage your PMS from any device and at any time.
Hotels operate under a highly competitive environment, and anything they can do to improve their guest experience could help them compete more effectively. In this connection, it is best to remember that all guests do not seek the same kind of experience. While business travelers might prefer the quick entry and exit option (with minimal staff interaction), tourists are likely to prefer the help of staff in getting the best local experience.
Security of your guests must not be compromised. Get a proper Hotel door lock.