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Traditionally, checking in to a hotel requires going to the front desk, showing ID and providing a credit card for room charges and incidentals. Once guests are identified and all of their questions are answered, they’re provided with a plastic magstripe keycard and pointed towards the elevators or led to their room.
Over time, hotels started introducing digital check-in and mobile keyless access, allowing guests to easily skip the front desk and go straight to their room. Hilton, Marriott, and Starwood were among the first to test and launch hotel guest keyless access – and with this welcomed change, guests could request extra perks, pillows or anything else that would make their stay more comfortable via the hotel’s branded mobile app.
Fueled by technology innovation and the Internet of Things (IoT), consumer expectations are changing. Today, smartphones sit at the center of our modern lives, forcing the hospitality industry to evolve in order to keep up with their mobile-centric guests.
ACCELERATION OF KEYLESS ACCESS
Keyless entry is now gaining wider attention and acceptance throughout the hospitality industry. In fact, Disney recently announced that they will be expanding the use of Bluetooth keyless access for the Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, allowing guests to quickly unlock their hotel room using a digital key on their mobile devices, providing them with another seamless room entry option that brings added ease and flexibility to their experience.
Disney Resort Guests will also be able to use their digital key to unlock the hotel entrance gate and common area doors requiring a key, which may include pools, fitness centers, elevators, and club level lounges. Arriving travel parties that have checked in online will be given the opportunity to bypass the front desk and go directly to their room when it is ready, allowing them to start their vacation even faster.
This mobile keyless feature is also scheduled to be rolled out at the Boulder Ridge Villas and Copper Creek Villas & Cabins and is expected to expand to other Disney Resort hotels in the coming months.
NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME TO UPGRADE
As mentioned earlier, today’s guests are incredibly tech-savvy, and in the global hotel industry, high-tech is becoming the new norm.
According to a recent Hospitality Technology’s 2018 Customer Engagement Technology study, 65% of guests said they would pay more and are more likely to return to a hotel that provides the technology they consider essential.
Another study shows that 44 percent of travelers are more likely to book a smart hotel and 69 percent prefer to opt-in to smart-room features.
Additionally, as mentioned in our previous post “How to Deliver a Positive First Impression to Hotel Guests” satisfaction scores improve by 7 points on average when hotels offer mobile key access.
Keyless guest entry can also play a role in increasing guest loyalty. Hotels with branded mobile apps are discovering that mobile key is a very effective utility and benefit for guests to incentivize downloads. Once the guest has your app on their phone, you have an entire communication channel all to yourself to stimulate repeat visitation and reward guest loyalty. This can be especially useful for global chain hotels. Furthermore, keyless entry simplifies the check-in stage for guests, saving time on both sides and improving the overall guest stay experience.
As travelers increasingly rely on their mobile devices to facilitate every part of their travel journey, hotels worldwide are upgrading guestroom locks from archaic plastic keycard technology to modern BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) capability that offers increased encryption security as well as enhanced keyless entry benefits. Guest reaction to mobile key has proven the trend towards going keyless and validating digital key as a strategy for how hotels can gain a competitive edge.
Today, both independent hotels and established global hotel chains can upgrade to BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) digital locks quickly and affordably. And with guests increasingly expecting to be able to do most of their daily actions from their phones, there couldn’t be a better time to do so. After all, the last thing any guest wants is to stand in a check-in line after a long journey.