Usually, keys and cards are used to access a hotel’s room, but they can be lost or don’t work accurately.
The best solution: biometric access, easy and fast. The user registered previously will place the finger on the sensor, and the door will be opened automatically.
This is an excellent advantage for the hotel manager because all the information is controlled by the host.
Moreover, you can manage at any time if the door is closed, has left itself open or has been opened without permission since the information received after each access can be consulted at the moment or recovered when we want to.
This solution allows us to give access to a person that has not been registered but has been identified (for instance, by a watch camera or someone that goes with a customer).
You can permit access remotely by the host, and you can even enrol anyone without needing to go through reception.
Incorporating electronic locks and access control devices as part of the guest service guarantees a greater degree of security, satisfaction and convenience during their stay.
Why Do Hotels Need Access Control?
These days, it’s crucial for hotels to use an access control system. The hotel staff has to assure their guests that their rooms and belongings will be secure at all times. Additionally, the business must protect sensitive and restricted areas within the building – including:
- Guest rooms
- Reception counters and cash registers
- Offices with financial information
- Guest amenity areas
- Safes within the guest rooms
- Control rooms
- Storage rooms
- Private staff computer networks
- And more
Hotel Access Control For Staff & Guests
Imagine a hotel with standard locks and keys. Cleaning crews and other hotel staff would have to carry keyrings the size of dinner plates, and hotel room door locks would have to be changed with each new guest.
Access cards are a much simpler solution. Cleaning crews are equipped with access cards that grant them entry to every suite, as well as laundry rooms and janitorial or storage closets.
Kitchen staff members have key cards that let them in and out of the kitchen and dining areas.
All the while, guests have a card that opens no other doors but their room and public spaces that are off-limits to non-guests, such as the pool and gym. These can all also be controlled and deactivated remotely.
What Are The Benefits Of Access Control Systems To Hotels And Customers?
- Reduction in instances of lost keys
- Heightened security in rooms
- Easily accessible entry/exit logs
- Limited instances of theft
Why do hotels and various other lodging establishments employ the use of access control systems?
As a way for them to increase the security level in entry and exit points across their buildings.
These systems allow hotel owners to more efficiently manage and secure rooms that contain compassionate information or data.
Customers experience this type of system firsthand when given specific room-access vital cards when they check-in at a hotel.
Using access control systems benefits both the owner and the customer in various ways. It can help both parties gain a heightened sense of safety while conducting their businesses.
What are the other benefits of access control systems to hotels and customers?
Reduction In Instances Of Lost Keys
One of the most traditional tools used to secure a particular room is the key. Keys are manufactured and moulded to open specific types of locks, drawers, or doors.
While some hotel owners still employ the traditional key, more and more establishments are choosing to evolve towards more practical forms. This includes security, such as a key card or a password-based system.
How do hotels and customers benefit from this evolution in security and access? With this system in place, both are less likely to experience instances of losses.
For example, a customer will not have to go through so much trouble to have their keycard replaced if they lose it. Keycards are easily reconfigurable by hotel management.
Heightened Security In Rooms
Another benefit access control systems offer to both customers and hotel owners is that they provide an increased sense of security across the board.
Doing away with the traditional bolt and lock towards a predominantly software-based system allows for fewer instances of crucial duplication.
Imagine this: a keycard is specifically configured to open one specific type of room. The customer is only able to access the room they were checked into.
This means that the hotel room door only recognises the card it is programmed to authorise entry to.
The limited access that the keycard offers allows customers to feel safer in their rooms. They won’t have to worry about strangers breaking in and stealing their belongings and other valuables.
At the same time, the owners will feel more confident under the high-technology system. They won’t have to expend resources in dealing with easily avoidable security issues.
Easily Accessible Entry/Exit Logs
Many front desk managers in older hotels may still require the customer to write their check-in time on a paper logbook manually.
While this practice still works, there are inherent dangers in refusing to keep a digitised, centralised, and more systematised way of tracking entries and exits.
For example, if a catastrophic event may occur, these manual logs might be near impossible to recover.
Access control systems supplement the shortcomings found within this manual method.
They offer a more easily manageable and highly efficient way of tracking the volume of people exiting or entering a room at any given time of day.
These electronic logs contain more accurate information, which the owners can use to review a hotel’s activities for a given period. Information collected by these logs is also helpful for the owners.
If they may need to conduct an investigation relating to possible security breaches, they can use the data as evidence.
Limited Instances Of Theft
The most obvious benefit offered by access control systems is that they allow both customers and owners to minimise possible cases of theft and security breaches.
Hotel owners have the advantage of keeping electronic records of movements across their establishments.
They can monitor activities in each room as well as be notified in the event of an anomaly.
Since hotel owners also keep classified information and other sensitive records, they need to store these inside highly secured rooms.
Rooms that people cannot quickly gain access to. These access control systems provide the owners with more protection as they conduct their daily operations.
Hotels need to make sure everything is safe and secure within the hotel property. This ranges from entryways, computer networks, and various hotel assets across the whole property.
To maintain a high level of security, using a traditional lock and key access system wouldn’t do the job!
Access control systems allow hotel owners to maintain security digitally and reduce security risks.
Most hotels use access control systems to record and store information digitally and automate check-ins and check-outs.
For example, having a hotel access control system lets staff quickly and safely grant access to each guest room when a guest checks in. All the team has to do is enable or disable each room digitally.
This helps hotel admins facilitate the check-in and check-out process as well as efficiently manage all rooms.
Access control systems are so convenient for hotels because they are wireless and easy to use. This can help the hotel staff easily access all rooms as they are on the go.
It also boosts the guests’ experience, as it helps them seamlessly enter their room and other amenities within the hotel.
The move towards more advanced technology in terms of hotel security allows both customers and owners to feel more at ease with their daily activities.
With access control systems, the benefits far outweigh the initial cost of overhauling an entire operation.
It’s the hotel owner’s job to make the customers feel secure, and achieving this is as simple as finding the best-fit system for your establishment.
This Is How Hotel Key Cards Work
Most, if not all, guest management systems in hotels use hotel key cards. Chances are you’ve probably got a hotel key card more than once in your life to access a room.
You also might have some questions about how they work and how secure they are.
People generally think of hotel doors as being highly secure, when in fact, the technology securing them is likely out-of-date and in sore need of modernising.
Here's a complete breakdown of hotel keycards and some info that might surprise you with how vulnerable they are to hacking, along with some suggestions on how to modernise them.
Common Hotel Card Types
Some hotels use access cards with magnetic strips ('mag stripe cards' for short). Magnetic stripe cards are also known as 'swipe cards'.
But there are other alternatives to hotel access, such as proximity (RFID) cards, access cards with holes, photo ID cards, barcode cards, and smart cards.
These can be used to access rooms, use elevators and access specific areas of the building. All of these access methods are standard parts of a traditional access control system.
Magstripe or swipe cards are a cost-effective option for large hotels, but they tend to wear out quickly and are less secure than some of the other options. RFID cards are more durable and more expensive.
Hole (punch) cards are based on a mechanical method that requires the holes on the card to fit the reader’s unique mechanism. These cards are less common.
The above examples are based on different technologies but provide the same functions for door access control.
Smart cards can include a wealth of additional information about the user (whoever the card is assigned).
A smart card can be used to grant the holder access to facilities beyond the hotel room, such as restaurants, gyms, pools, laundry, conference rooms, and any other amenity that requires secure admission in the building.
With their enhanced security and encryption standards, smart cards collect the information from every step of the holder's journey in the facility and allow the hotel to get a joint record of all their expenses at once, rather than tallying the bills from separate places in the same building.
This streamlines the financial management of the hotel and creates a smoother experience for the hotel guest.
Hotel key cards are used with door card readers installed on each door lock and can be programmed to open specific doors in defined periods.
Modern hotel access management systems enable grouping the door locks with many users, providing access to the same group, as well as an audit trail of who opened the door and when.
For instance, one group can have access to open the hotel lobby door or the staff toilets, but only within a certain period in the day if the administrator chooses to implement a specific window of time for access.
We mentioned earlier that smart cards could also be used to grant holders unique access to elevators.
For example, if a guest has booked a penthouse suite on a floor that should be restricted to everyday users, smart cards along with advanced door readers can make this process a breeze!
How Do Mag Stripe Cards Unlock Hotel Doors?
Magnetic stripe cards have a magnetic layer or a strip that contains basic information about the hotel guest.
Typically, the user access number is the most identifiable information stored on the card.
Personnel at the hotel desk will imprint the user information at check-in and usually set a time limit for its use until checkout.
The key card door lock is triggered once the magnetic strip is read and verified by the hotel door card reader.
As a general rule, the access process is completed by swiping the card through the magnetic reader.
Hotel Key Card Myths
The most common myths about key cards are related to the information stored on them.
For example, many people believe that the cards contain sensitive user data, such as personal or financial information.
The fact is, the majority of hotel key cards store only room numbers and dates of stay. While key cards do come with some risks, detailed financial information is not one of them.
Additional information that can be stored on a key card comes down to four key pieces of information:
- Room number
- Date of granted access
- Date of removed access
- Guest number (on occasions)
Hotel key cards are access cards with the least amount of stored information, thus limiting the possibilities of misuse.
This doesn’t protect users from having the card stolen or lost, allowing a stranger to access their rooms before a breach is detected.
This type of security lapse is more of a concern than the possibility of the information on the card being deciphered.
Although indeed, hotel key cards are not wholly immune to misuse, current data protection regulations prevent this from happening. It is worth keeping in mind that not all geographical locations have the same privacy rules. If you are travelling abroad, for example, in Europe, your card may store financial details, such as credit card numbers.
Other possible risks associated with key cards, which can not be classified as crucial card myths, are those ensuing from third-party vendors integrated into the same guest access management system.
However, these systems are also based on strict rule compliance, so breaches are not something that needs to be expected.