Gone are the days you needed physical keys to enter hotel rooms, and coming are the days when the standard practice of using keycards can become obsolete. In November 2014, Starwood Hotels & Resorts (now under Marriott) piloted their keyless entry system in 10 of their hotels through their SPG app. Before coming under the umbrella of Marriott, Starwood integrated keyless technology in 160 of their properties worldwide, with the technology being most popular in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Miami. Now, a few years later, the technology is becoming more commonplace.
With the demand from the customers align with going mobile, the radio frequency ID (RFID) technology is predicted to take over. Not only is it believed that the technology will improve the guest experience, but it is also believed that using the keyless technology will positively impact their bottom line in the long run. According to Hotel Management, guests who use the digital key rate the hotels where they stay “seven points higher than keycard guests with 84 percent of guests likely to use digital key again.” Although the use of this technology appears to be a must-have for hotels that want to stay innovative and technologically savvy, it does come with some associated risks and considerations.
Installment & Adoption. The hotel has to be sure that the technology is properly installed so that the guests has a seamless experience at every lock interaction throughout the hotel – elevators, rooms, amenities, parking, etc. Staff also must be properly trained on how to use the technology so they can accurately educate and inform the guests on the availability, uses and benefits of the technology, as well as provide any assistance to guests as they need it.
Cost. Installing such technology can be costly, especially for older hotels that may also need new or upgraded technology infrastructure to support its use. The hotels will have to pay for the creation of an app or use an already existing one so that guests can have access to mobile keys. The locks in the hotel must be changed to be compatible with mobile keys. And staff must be trained on the use of mobile keys. However, the use of mobile keys can save the hotel money in paying for replacement keycards and can align with the hotel’s environmental efforts.
Safety & Security. Whenever new technology is presented, consumers often have the concern of how safe the technology is. The hotels will need to make sure that the keyless system they choose works with the security features they already have set in place in. It is also best to look for systems that have an additional layer of encryption that will make every mobile key unique and only for a finite credential time. Hotels should also be sure to select a system that is compatible to their property-management system.
For those hotel managers looking to incorporate keyless technology, here is some information on the best of keyless.