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The key to a successful technology is making processes easier and more efficient with less stress. Streamlining property operations and enhancing the guest experience is the end goal for any hotel technology solution which is no different for door locks and security.
It’s about utilizing the most advanced technologies available to accomplish the aforementioned objectives. The next technology for door locks will be solutions that streamline the check-in process to benefit both hoteliers and guests, and as door lock technology continues to advance they will incorporate more user-friendly and robust technologies.
What to keep in mind while choose hotel door lock system for your business
Safety has always played an important role in our industry. However, a traditional security lock, which is – the key. If it is lost, the finder can easily get access to your hotel. Moreover, lock replacement is expensive and takes time. Adopting more advanced technologies may help you to avoid such problems.
Nowadays, electronic door locks, also called electric, are widely used in hotels as a practical alternative. You can open them with a PIN, a chip card, fingerprint, or app. The usage of electronic locking systems is becoming increasingly popular in the hotel industry. If you plan to invest in a new solution for your business, in this article you will find some useful tips that might help you to make the right decision.
The types of locking systems
A lot of things must be considered before you choose a certain type of lock. For instance, you should be aware that some of them need access to a stable Wi-Fi connection to work. However, with this type of system, you will be able to manage it wherever you are!
Today, there is a plethora of options on the market, which can be confusing. But to make your choice easier, we have collected relevant information on the most popular options in the hotel industry for today. Before revealing the advantages and disadvantages of different kinds of locking systems, we will focus on their general characteristics.
To start with, they fall into three categories: mechanical, mechatronic, and completely electronic.
Mechanical door locks
This type belongs to the simplest locking systems. These locks can have different lock cylinder mechanisms, e.g., with reversible or spanner keys. They are affordable, as there is a wide range of prices that can be suggested, and the installation is easy. However, they can be easily picked, and they are less convenient for elderly and disabled persons.
Mechatronic locking systems
This version combines mechanical and electronic components. The main parts of this system are the locking cylinders plus programmable keys, special devices for programming, the management software, etc.
This type combines the best parts of ordinary and digital locks, providing extra security for your building. It does not require complicated wiring installation, as the power source is located within the key. Each one has a battery, which lasts approximately for a year and can be easily replaced. If the locking system features Bluetooth connection, it is possible to receive up-to-date information concerning access to the building or room where the lock is installed.
Electronic (or digital) locking systems
Electronic locks are the most innovative options available. To operate, this kind of locking system needs electricity. There should be a stable source of energy, and thus, you need to install a cable as well. Digital systems are very handy and provide a wide range of functions and features – for example, you may set a specific time for the door to lock and unlock automatically. Nowadays, you can even or use your smartphone to open the door via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth!
Here are several kinds of electronic locks that you should know about:
1. The RFID locking system
RFID stands for 'radio-frequency identification', which means recognition through electromagnetic waves. The contactless transmitter-receiver system identifies objects and people by using radio waves. It can be combined with an electronic door lock. In this case, a special chip must be programmed and built into a small transponder*, placed on the door.
The authorization check is performed by the data transfer via the radio frequency.
Depending on the provider, the guest's transponder can look like a key fob, card, special bracelet, etc.
The RFID locks are widely used in hotels because the code cards can be reprogrammed for each guest. These are the advantages and disadvantages of RFID system:
|Full-time control over the door;||Higher cost compared to an ordinary lock;|
|An opportunity to program the key for each guest specifically;||In case of a power failure, an RFID lock cannot be opened.|
|Suitable for disabled people with physical limitations;||Vulnerability to lock-picking;|
|Low level of hack vulnerability.|
2. Code lock with PIN
This type of locks can be opened with a correct sequence of digits, entered on a keypad or
touchpad. The input field is usually attached to a wall at a maximum of 50 cm from the code
lock. Among other useful features, the software allows recording the time of access.
Compared to the touchpads, keypads are splash-proof, have a smaller surface area, and
thus are less vulnerable.
|An opportunity to easily pass the PIN||It is possible that unauthorized persons can get the code and enter the building.|
|Possibility to use several PINs|
|Low level of vulnerability.|
3. Lock with a chip card
Electric door locks with a sensor and a chip card are extremely popular with hoteliers. They can be easily reprogrammed as well. Another factor that makes them attractively convenient is the ease of use for both guests and hotel employees.
|Convenience for many users;||Unfortunately, the card can be lost.|
|An opportunity to pass the card on;|
4. The lock with a smartphone control
The locking system with a smartphone app control is still relatively new. It allows users to enter the room or apartment using Bluetooth technology or Wi-Fi. Their possibilities and functions are endless! For example, you can significantly improve customer experience by combining the Mobile Check-In option with a possibility to open the door with a smartphone.
This will save your guest’s time and let them avoid queuing at the reception. These locks can be easily integrated with your current Property Management System. The only drawback is that guests must always carry smartphones with them and keep the battery charged.
|Fast Check-In possibility||Wireless connection is necessary|
|PMS integration||Availability of a smartphone with a charged battery is necessary as well.|
|Easy door opening with a mobile phone|
|Various app functions|
Well-known brands and manufacturers of electronic door locks: ZKTeco, Paxton,
Choosing the right solution
After our brief introduction to mechanical, mechatronic, and electric locks, you may be considering one of the suggested options. But do not rush with your choice, as each type of the locking system has its own limitations and characteristics. Before investing in a certain type of lock, think about such points as the type of credentials, the type of card, the type of access and entry control.
- Type of credentials
Key Cards or Numeric Codes?
Should you opt for the key cards or numeric codes? Well, using numeric codes for each door can lead to various complications, such as the need to change them frequently after each stay. Moreover, guests often forget the code they were assigned. And hotel Key Cards can be used by guests during their stay and returned on departure. It is better to change the codes each time the customer checks out
- The Type of key card
RFID Cards, Magnetic Cards, Smart Cards?
Choosing between the RFID Cards, Magnetic Cards, and Smart Cards? Among these options, the RFID cards are the most popular. The smart cards are a high-frequency version with much larger storage capacity.
- The type of access control
Consider your access requirements. For example, with cloud-based systems, you can change access settings from anywhere. This option is essential for hoteliers, who run their hotel remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The type of entry control
Finally, when choosing a suitable solution, take a closer look at the aspect of entry control.
As it was mentioned above, some types of locks may remain closed in case of power failure.
To avoid major inconveniences during your hotel’s workflow, take into consideration these characteristics in the locking system´s description:
• Fail-safe – the system unlocks the door when the power is cut;
• Fail-secure – the system unlocks the door when the power is applied.
We believe that overview of the most popular hotel door locking systems will be of use while making your decision. But no matter what you choose, it can be perfectly compatible with our Hotel Management Software. It will help you to handle room access easily, simultaneously adding value to your rooms and remarkably enhancing guest experience. Do not hesitate to contact us and get our professional consulting.