Forget Keycards: 6 Reasons to Stop Using Them in 2022

Forget keycards: 6 reasons to stop using them

It’s no secret: No one likes keycards. Your guests don’t enjoy using keycards, especially when they don’t work the way they’re supposed to. And your staff certainly don’t like the added work needed to recode cards after one is lost or stops working. Hotels everywhere are ditching physical keys altogether. Let’s take a look at a few reasons to say goodbye to keycards in 2022.

Say Goodbye to Lost or Damaged Keys

Lost and stolen keycards present multiple challenges for hotels. During their stays, your guests should be focused on work or play – not worrying about where they put their keycard or how they’ll get back in their room. Keycards are just one more thing that guests have to keep up with that adds inconvenience and potential frustration to their stay. Plus, keycards often demagnetize, forcing guests  to go to the front desk for a replacement.

This adds a burden for your front desk staff, as they’re required to attend to the issue and reprogram or replace guests’ keys. It also contributes to your hotel’s overhead, as you have to account for a certain number of lost or damaged keys each quarter. This is another area where going digital can help improve ROI, customer satisfaction, and staff morale.

Eliminating Physical Keycards Can Save on Overhead

Along with the sheer amount of plastic waste that keycards create, they also cut into hotels’ margins. On average, a 250-room hotel with 80% occupancy will give out 73,000 keys annually. If your average keycard costs $.50 each and your average return rate is 50%, that adds up to 36,500 keys lost each year, which leads to $18,250 in lost keys every year. This can add up very quickly, especially when you factor in redundancies to account for loss and damage.  Check out our handy key cost savings calculator to see how much plastic keycards will cost your hotel this year.

Keycards Create Unnecessary Plastic Waste

Climate change is on everyone’s minds. According to a survey conducted by BRITA UK, 70% of corporations are prioritizing cutting back on plastic use. By moving away from plastic keycards, hotels can significantly reduce their plastic use and make an immediate positive impact on their annual carbon footprint.

To put this in perspective, let’s consider the same 250-room example from above. Assuming that each keycard weighs about 2 grams (0.002 pounds), loss of 36,500 keys adds up to more than 160 pounds of waist per year for a single hotel. If you can eliminate this source of waste, your hotel will be doing its part to ensure a brighter, more sustainable future for everyone. Add this to other efforts to reduce carbon emissions and make your guests feel good about choosing a hotel brand that cares about the future of our planet.

Improve Security and Privacy Measures

Keycards also present certain security and privacy risks for your guests. In an article for USA Today, Elizabeth Weise investigated the potential security risks around hotel keycards. Weise’s initial goal was to find out if there was any truth to the claim that losing a used keycard could open travelers up to identity theft or worse. After a guest checks out of a hotel, a hacker won’t get much use from their key. However, if the guest has not checked out yet, it’s entirely possible to clone a key and gain access to their room.

Digital Key completely eliminates this potential vulnerability through the use of encrypted tokens that provide the most security possible. Because there is no physical key, no one can gain access to guests’ rooms by stealing or cloning a keycard. Each Digital Key is unique to the guest and their room. Plus, Digital Keys benefit from another layer of security, as well. To access a guest’s digital key, someone would need to have the guest’s passcode, fingerprint, or faceprint to unlock their phone. All of this adds up to improved security and peace of mind for your guests.

Guests Hate Keycards

Keycards are a hassle. Guests often have trouble keeping track of them, either misplacing them or leaving them in the room by mistake. Not only that, but if a keycard isn’t coded properly, guests must make their way all the way back to the front desk to retrieve a new or recoded key. The whole process can be extremely frustrating. With digital keys, on the other hand, guests can simply use their smartphones as their keys and avoid all of the frustration of long lines at check-in, lost keys, and the time to get replacements.

Stand Out Against Competing Hotel Brands

According to a The New York Times, “the number of hotels in the United States that have digital keys available rose by 6 percent in 2016 to 17 percent last year, according to a survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association.” However, even with this growth, only about 10% of all hotel guests use digital keys. This is likely at least partially due to lack of familiarity with the technology.

By making the switch away from plastic keycards, you can offer all guests contactless check-in and Digital Key. Empower them to go straight to their rooms to settle in for a streamlined, personalized stay. Take away the inconveniences and potential risks of keycards, and improve your hotel’s margins at the same time. 

Want to learn more about why hotels are switching to Digital Keys? OpenKey is the leading provider of digital key services. Schedule a demo today to see how you can do more for your guests with Digital Keys.



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