Not so long ago, hotels issued regular keys to guests upon their check-in. Then In the 1980s magstripe locks and keycards took the industry by storm. This was the breakthrough technology at the time. Then In the 2000s, RFID locks and electronic keycards were introduced improving security and eliminating demagnetization issues.
Fast-forward a few short years later and the introduction of advanced Bluetooth smart locks once again revolutionized the hotel industry by enabling a truly mobile keyless guest experience.
Our increasingly connected lifestyles, or more specifically smartphones, have been a catalyst to this rapid transformation. In fact, according to Sloan Dean, COO of Remington Hotels, “Guests expect to use their mobile devices to control more of their experience on property”.
The Hilton hotel group, which was among the first to start integrating digital key technology, revealed that the smartphone unlocking system is now in use in over 4,000 of its hotels across the US and Canada.
Today, “upgrading to smart locks” has taken on a new meaning. Where it was once necessary for hoteliers to completely upgrade their existing lock hardware, hoteliers can now simply upgrade their existing magstripe or RFID locks with OpenKey’s Universal BLE Upgrade Module which enables a mobile key capability at a fraction of the cost.
What makes mobile keyless entry such an industry game changer? It’s been noted that nearly 2/3 of travelers prefer to use their personal smartphones as their room keys, and almost 50% of guests view mobile keys as an essential feature and a deciding factor in the selection of hotels they prefer to stay at. That being said, only 16% of hotels currently offer mobile keyless entry, creating a major opportunity for hotels that take advantage of this cost-efficient technology to differentiate themselves from their competitors.As the most Universal of mobile key solutions in the hotel industry, OpenKey gives hoteliers every possible choice for upgrading to keyless entry. The platform works for hotels with new BLE locks, it works for hotels that upgrade their RFID locks with the manufacturer hardware to add BLE functionality, and the OpenKey upgrade module adds mobile key capability to any lock, allowing hotels to extend the life of their magstripe locks that cannot be upgraded by the lock company.
In an article posted in hospitalitytech.com, Nizar Weshah, GM at Hyatt Regency Riyadh Olaya said, “Mobile entry is fast becoming an amenity that guests expect when making their booking decisions, and those not offering such a feature increasingly run the risk of losing revenue, as guests look elsewhere to properties that can fulfill their needs.”
UNLOCKING THE FULL POTENTIAL
Another reason premier hotels are increasingly making the shift towards smarter lock technology is due to their increased security factors. Guests are reassured by the fact they won’t drop their keycard or have it stolen, while hoteliers benefit from an increased level of key encryption and multi-factor authentication to prevent wrongful entry to any restricted areas.
With OpenKey for example, both the creation and delivery of a mobile key occur over encrypted HTTPS-secured servers to ensure absolute data integrity.
Hoteliers are also quickly realizing the major benefits of cloud-based access management technology that is continuously updated with regular software updates that address newly discovered threats and vulnerabilities.
Technology within the smart door locks themselves is also evolving. Communication modules now make it possible for hotels to set door-open times when guests use a mobile key, as well as integrate with in-room smart devices, as well as social networks such as WeChat.
Upgrading to smart lock technology is also a competitive differentiator for hotels in markets where driving occupancy is a challenge due to surplus room supply. Hotels offering the latest (and safest) technology have an advantage for guest selection preference over those stuck in the past offering traditional plastic keycards. The major stay brands know this and are all evolving toward smart locks and keyless entry to support guest expectations and perception of the brand as innovative and modern.
It’s time to open your mind and welcome the latest technological advances available in the hotel industry. Smart locks and mobile keyless entry offer hotels revenue improvement possibilities, increased guest security, market advantage, elevated guest reviews on social media and carbon credits for being environmentally smart to top it off.