Today’s mobile-centric guests expect the ability to use their smartphone to check into, out of and access their room. This isn’t just a technological shift, but a cultural one.
Our Smartphones have changed the way we interact with the world, and the way hotel guests think about their experience, allowing them to enjoy more freedom, mobility, and safety than ever before.
Ultimately, your hotel needs to be where your customers are, and today, that’s mobile.
Allowing guests to use their mobile device to check in, check out and enter their room requires a mobile key, or mobile keyless access. The smartphone uses the Bluetooth function to communicate with a ‘smart lock’. Not surprisingly, those locks are referred to as Bluetooth or BLE locks.
To make sense of it all, here’s the lowdown on Bluetooth locks and why this innovative feature will be one of your hotel’s top priorities this year.
WHAT ARE BLUETOOTH LOCKS?
Before we dive into why Bluetooth locks will be essential to your hotel business, let’s take a quick step back to understand what they really mean. While Bluetooth locks are a relatively modern concept, electronic locks have been around for decades. The 1980s saw a major shift from traditional, mechanical locks to more advanced systems such as the first magstripe cards which at the time were a huge breakthrough in hotel security and safety. These were followed by RFID (or contactless) keycards, which are still commonly used today.
The latest development in digital lock technology, however, is the BLE (Bluetooth Low-Energy) lock. These innovative and secure locks such as OpenKey’s technology used in conjunction with the OpenKey mobile app, usher in a new era of hotel entry. Using only their smartphones, your guests can now access their room and other hotel amenities with ease.
According to Christopher Hunsberger of Four Seasons, guests increasingly prefer to have full control over their hotel stay, without having to depend on human staff for routine services.
Although unlocking a door through a mobile phone might seem a bit flimsy, it’s actually quite the opposite. Mobile keys when used in connection with Bluetooth locks are encrypted on guests’ smartphones with extremely rigid security. These electronic keys cannot be hacked or broken, making it an incredibly innovative solution to all the worries and woes of traditional hotel guest entry.
Bluetooth lock technology offers the advantage of completely removing physical mishaps; keys cannot be lost or stolen, locks cannot be picked, hand-overs are as quick as a tap on a screen.
NOW IS THE TIME TO SWITCH TO BLUETOOTH LOCKS
Smartphone-compatible Bluetooth locks contribute to the better overall guest experience. With mobile keyless entry, there are fewer complaints about keycard loss or failure, since guests no longer use a plastic keycard to access their room. Additionally, hotels utilizing Bluetooth locks also have the ability to allow guests to skip the queue at the front desk by checking in remotely and going straight to their rooms upon arrival.
Survey data has shown an increase in guest satisfaction by an average of 7% from guests using mobile, keyless entry.
1 – Improve The Check-In/Out Process
The check-in experience at your hotel can have a significant impact on guest satisfaction. In fact, a mere 5-minute wait can tank guest satisfaction scores by as much as 47%. Mobile keyless entry is the linchpin in providing guests an easier, faster, and more convenient check-in option. They’ll also be able to check out seamlessly, saving your guests and your staff a lot of time and energy.
2 – Bolster Hotel Safety And Security
Mobile room keys use an encrypted token to provide the most secure form of room access available. This means that no one can gain unauthorized access by stealing a keycard (or simply picking it up from where it was left) or hacking into the hotel server. Each digital key is completely unique and cannot be duplicated or reissued, even for people staying in the same room. Digital keys also benefit from the added security layer of a retinal scan, fingerprint, passcode, pattern or password used by most people for smartphone access.
3 – Provide Easy Access To Services
The same app that your guests can use to unlock their rooms can also be used to improve the stay experience in other ways. Through the app, you could also provide useful information about your hotel, amenities, and nearby points of interest. Many hotels allow guests to contact the front desk, request housekeeping, make reservations or order room service right from the app.
4 – Help Your Staff
Automating day-to-day tasks can ease your employees’ workload. By reviewing and approving guest check-ins prior to arrival, you can reduce traffic at the front desk by as much as 20%, freeing up staff to focus their efforts on improving the guest experience in other areas.
5 – Customize It For Your Brand
Booking decisions are made based on a number of factors, often including how good a hotel’s mobile app is. A great app is a solid indicator of above-and-beyond customer service. Digital key experts like OpenKey can create a customized standalone app that is tailor-made for your hotel, with all of the information and features that you need to provide great service to your guests.
6 – Stand Out From Competitors
In a recent survey, nearly half of all guests say that keyless entry is an important feature. In fact, 60% of guests say they are more likely to choose a hotel with mobile check-in and room access, but less than 20% of hotels actually offer it. By 2022, mobile keys will be the gold standard—smart hoteliers are getting ahead of this tidal wave.
THE NEXT BIG THING IN HOTEL SAFETY
Digital access keys can be the answer to common guest problems like long check-in lines, lost keycards, and hotel safety. Bluetooth-capable locking systems like OpenKey can expertly integrate mobile technology, operational efficiency, and provide an incredible guest experience. It’s truly a modern solution for the modern hotel.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Going cardless can save you as much as $1,000/month in discarded RFID keycards while providing the additional environmental benefit of keeping all that plastic out of your local landfill. Additionally, automated check-ins and key issuing allow you to make better use of your staff resources. Instead of assigning more people to the front desk, you can reduce your staff or employ them where they can be more productive.