As competition in the hotel industry intensifies, the need for efficiencies across all facets of operations increases by the day. Hotel automation technology presents several opportunities for owners and brands as they look to lower operating expenses and boost the bottom line. Hotels worldwide are exploring what evolving from traditional plastic keycards to modern mobile key can do to:
- Optimize hotel operations
- Modernize the guest experience
- Reduce costs
- Drive more revenue
With changing industry trends and consumer habits, hotels are reducing their margins to keep up with competitors and services like AirBnb. It can be a tough decision to identify where to cut costs without damaging the guest experience, property reviews and repeat visitation.
Going Digital With Mobile Keys
One proven strategy actually begins with investment and ends with considerable cost reduction and savings. Smartphone technology can bring efficiency before and during guest check-in. Mobile check-in/out can reduce or eliminate long lines of guests at the front desk. And a mobile key solution will keep guests from stopping by to replace lost or demagnetized key cards.
Progressive hotels worldwide are eliminating the front desk’s need to handle and program keycards by offering guests mobile keyless entry with OpenKey, the industry standard for universal mobile key in hotels. While doing away with physical plastic keycards can reduce check-in times and staffing requirements by itself, there are other advantages as well.
OpenKey’s mobile check-in/out and guest communication further reduces front desk traffic and staffing needs while improving guest satisfaction and online reviews. When guests aren’t forced to stop by the front desk, the staff has a reduced workload. Hotels that utilize mobile check-in and mobile key are able to lower operating expenses by reducing front desk overhead to compensate for the reduced workload.
It’s easy to see how hotel technology such as OpenKey can increase front-desk efficiency while reducing staffing costs, but it also significantly improves the guest experience. 55% of guests prefer to use their phones to check-in and over 60% prefer to use mobile key. When hotels give guests the experience they want, guests leave glowing online reviews that promote others to stay at the property. Word-of-mouth marketing is the cheapest and most effective form of promotion there is – further reducing operating expenses of a hotel.
A Word About Traditional Hotel Room Keys
Plastic RFID keycards are not just bad for the environment, they’re also expensive. Hotels can save thousands of dollars a year by switching to a mobile key solution. This technology leverages the Bluetooth functionality within every smartphone to allow guests the ability to use their device as a secure digital room key. Mobile keyless entry is rapidly becoming industry standard in new hotels to eliminate the cost of discarded keycards, lockouts, security issues and improve the guest experience.
A complete mobile key solution, like the one provided by OpenKey, can deliver the greatest savings, for both the hotel and the environment. When guests can enter their rooms using only their smartphones – as well as check in and out without visiting the front desk – it’s a cost savings trifecta.
- Nearly 2/3 of travelers preferring to use their smartphone as their room key
- Mobile key technology saves hotels an average of $1,000 per month in discarded RFID keycards.
- It reduces the line at the front desk, allowing the staff to tend to more important matters.
- This technology drives an average 7% improvement in guest satisfaction scores.
2020 looks like the year the hotel industry will embrace the overwhelming logic of digital keys. Milennials as the largest traveler cohort are helping to usher keyless entry into mainstream expectation due to the convenience and sustainable nature of it. Hoteliers with an eye towards cost reduction, guest reviews, repeat visitation and sustainability are smart to start their keyless entry evolution today.