Modern day viruses are evolving to become more and more difficult to combat. The latest coronavirus, COVID-19, has claimed nearly 2,000 lives and infected over 70,000 people worldwide. In the U.S., there are more than 600 people still under quarantine because of their recent return from China. The last time we had to quarantine large groups of people like this was over 50 years ago. Understandably, this virus has the hotel industry worried. Sick people generally stay home, which means a direct hit to airlines, cruise lines, hotels and the entire hospitality ecosystem. Clearly hoteliers should take whatever measures possible to reduce the risk of infection among current and future guests – but what measures are there to help? Digital keys.
What we know now is that the COVID-19 virus spreads mainly from person to person among close contacts (about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can also spread by touching a contaminated surface followed by touching the eyes, nose and mouth. The advent of mobile keyless entry may prove to be an effective deterrent now, and in the future, to prevent the spread of a virus in this way.
A digital key platform such as OpenKey allows a hotel to offer mobile check-in to guests. Using their smartphone, the guest is able to request check-in to the hotel prior to arrival. The hotel front desk is able to check the guest into the Property Management System and issue them a secure digital key directly to their smartphone. The digital key contains the room number, WiFi network and password instructions as well as information about property amenities such as fitness room, dining options and check-out time. Using the OpenKey app, the guest is able to download their mobile key and proceed straight to their room upon arrival. The mobile key can also be programmed to automatically select the guestroom floor in the elevator, eliminating the need to touch buttons.
It’s easy to see how mobile key technology can aid the hotel industry in the spread of a contact virus such as Covid-19. When you consider the longer-term guest experience benefits of convenience and safety as well as operational cost reduction and ecological sustainability of mobile keyless entry, the choice to evolve to this technology become an easy one to make.