Hotel Electronic Door Locks: Everything You Need to Know

Bryan Michalis
Bryan Michalis
Updated
September 28, 2023
/
Published
July 5, 2023
Hotel Electronic Door Locks: Everything You Need to Know

Giving guests a smooth check-in experience is key to a great guest experience. No one wants to wait in queues and fill in paperwork after a long journey.

Providing contactless check-in technology and allowing guests to open their doors with their smartphones saves time, reduces costs, and helps you earn more revenue.

Read on to discover the benefits of contactless check-in and electronic door locks, how to implement the technology successfully, and future trends and innovations.

Understanding Contactless Check-In

To understand electronic door locks, first, we need to understand contactless check-in. Contactless — or digital — check-in allows guests to check-in without physical contact with hotel staff or shared touchpoints.

This technology has gained popularity due to its convenience, efficiency, and safety considerations. Guests can initiate check-in before their arrival through your hotel’s website, mobile app, or through email communication. Canary Contactless Check-in lets you send guests a secure link so they can provide information like email, phone number, address, and more.

Contactless check-in allows guests to enter their credit card information through a secure, PCI Level 1 compliant solution like Canary Digital Authorizations. Once guests check-in, they can skip the front desk entirely with mobile keys. For hotels without smart locks, guests can grab a physical key in the lobby.

Why Hotels Use Contactless Check-in

There are numerous benefits of implementing contactless check-in, including:

     
  1. Convenience and time efficiency: Contactless check-in provides guests with a faster and more convenient check-in experience. This time-saving benefit is valuable for business travelers, those with tight schedules, or guests arriving during peak hours.
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  3. Personalization and guest preferences: Contactless check-in systems often provide guests with the opportunity to customize their stay, such as selecting room preferences, adding special requests, or updating personal information.
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  5. Streamlined operations: Contactless check-in reduces the workload at the front desk, allowing hotel staff to allocate their time and resources more efficiently. With fewer guests requiring in-person check-in, staff members can focus on other guest services, address specific requests, and provide a more personalized experience.
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  7. Integration with electronic door locks: Many contactless check-in systems incorporate digital key technology. Guests can receive their room keys digitally on their smartphones, eliminating the need for physical keycards and reducing the risk of key loss or demagnetization.
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  9. Sustainability: Contactless check-in contributes to sustainability efforts by reducing paper usage for check-in forms, registration cards, and receipts. By embracing digital processes, hotels can minimize their environmental footprint and align with eco-friendly practices.
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  11. Data security: Contactless check-in eliminates the need for paper or PDF authorization forms and keeps you PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant.

Demo Canary Contactless Check-in today to drive efficiency, boost guest happiness, and slash fraud by 75-90%.

Electronic Door Locks Enhance Security and Convenience

Hotel electronic door locks provide secure access control to guest rooms. This technology is quickly replacing keycards and mechanical locks traditional due to their many advantages.

Electronic door locks utilize Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to communicate with guests' smartphones.

Upon check-in, guests receive a digital key on their smartphones, typically through the hotel's app or via a secure link sent via email or text message. The digital key is encrypted and stored on the phone, ensuring secure transmission and storage.

To use the mobile key, guests approach their room door and activate the lock using their smartphone. The lock and phone communicate via BLE or NFC, verifying the digital key's authenticity and granting access if authorized.

Benefits of Electronic Door Locks

Electronic door locks benefit hotels and guests alike, creating a better guest experience while improving operational efficiency.

Benefits for Guests

     
  1. Convenience: Mobile key door locks eliminate the need to carry physical keycards or keys. Most guests always have their phones with them. This makes it convenient to access their rooms without searching for or potentially misplacing keys.
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  3. Contactless experience: Mobile key technology promotes a contactless guest experience. It reduces the need for physical touchpoints, such as interacting with front desk staff or handling keycards.
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  5. Seamless check-in and checkout: Mobile key door locks let guests complete the check-in process remotely, bypassing the front desk altogether. During checkout, guests can return the digital key through the app, simplifying the departure process.

Benefits for Hotels

     
  1. Operational efficiency: Mobile key door locks streamline operations by reducing the workload at the front desk. They reduce the need for keycard distribution, reprogramming, and replacement. Instead, hotel staff can focus their attention on providing customer service and other tasks.
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  3. Enhanced security: Mobile key technology offers robust security features. Digital keys are encrypted, reducing the risk of unauthorized access or key duplication.
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  5. Guest experience: Offering mobile key access can enhance the guest experience and provide a competitive advantage for hotels. Tech-savvy travelers who value convenience and innovative solutions will especially appreciate this technology.
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  7. Integration with hotel systems: Mobile key door locks can integrate with other hotel systems, such as property management systems (PMS), to streamline operations. This integration allows for centralized management of digital keys, access control, and real-time monitoring of room occupancy.

Successful Implementation of Contactless Check-In and Electronic Door Locks

Implementing electronic door locks and contactless check-in requires some careful planning and execution. This will help you hit your goals and justify the expense.

Define your Objectives

These might include enhancing the guest experience or streamlining operational efficiency, for example. Then, determine the requirements for your system, including compatibility with existing infrastructure, integration with other hotel systems, and scalability.

Research

Conduct thorough research and select a contactless check-in and electronic door lock solution that suits your hotel’s needs. Evaluate these solutions based on functionality, security features, reliability, ease of use, and compatibility with your hotel’s existing technology.

Plan Infrastructure and Hardware Updates

Determine if any hardware upgrades, such as door lock replacements or network enhancements, are necessary. Consider factors such as power supply, network connectivity, and physical installation requirements. Work closely with the vendor to plan and execute the infrastructure upgrades effectively.

Test and Pilot Implementation

Conduct a pilot phase before implementing electronic door locks across your entire property. Use a small selection of rooms to test the technology’s functionality and identify any potential issues. Gather feedback from staff and guests during this phase to fine-tune before the big rollout.

Consider Integrations

Work closely with the vendor and your IT team to establish proper communication protocols, data synchronization, and user interfaces. Test the integration thoroughly to ensure all systems work together smoothly.

Staff Training

Comprehensive front office training on contactless check-in and electronic door locks is vital. It cannot be overlooked. Make sure your staff understand how to assist guests with the check-in process and troubleshooting. Housekeeping and maintenance staff should also receive training on any specific tasks related to electronic door locks, such as battery replacement or lock maintenance.

Educate and Engage Guests

Before arrival, provide clear instructions on how to download and use the hotel's mobile app for check-in and mobile key activation. Offer support channels, such as dedicated helplines or on-site assistance, to address any questions or issues guests may encounter.

Constantly Monitor

Once your electronic door lock system has been implemented, monitor its performance regularly, gather guest and staff feedback, and make relevant updates or changes.

Challenges and Solutions of Electronic Door Locks

While digital door locks that allow guests to use their phones offer numerous benefits, their implementation may come with some challenges. Here are some potential challenges to consider:

Technological Dependence

Mobile key door locks rely on the integration of various technologies, including mobile apps, Bluetooth or NFC connectivity, and back-end systems. Ensuring seamless compatibility and functionality requires ongoing testing, updates, and technical support to address potential issues and ensure a smooth user experience.

Stable Connectivity

Reliable and stable connectivity is crucial for the proper functioning of mobile key door locks. Hotels must have robust and reliable network infrastructure in place to ensure consistent connectivity.

User Adoption

Though a good majority of the population is comfortable using smartphones, not everyone—especially older or less tech-savvy guests—may struggle to use electronic door locks. Give guests the option to use more traditional methods to unlock their doors like keycards.

Education

For those who are tech-savvy, education may still be an important part of user adoption. Provide clear instructions and on-site assistance to make sure guests are comfortable using the technology.

Device Compatibility and Battery Life

Not all smartphones may be compatible with the mobile key technology used by the hotel. Conduct thorough testing and ensure that your electronic door lock technology works across all popular smartphone models. Electronic door locks could also drain your guests’ phone battery life. Offer charging stations throughout the hotel to mitigate this issue.

Guest Support and Troubleshooting

As with any technology, technical issues or user errors may occur. Provide adequate support systems, like on-site assistance or dedicated customer support solve problems promptly and minimize guest frustration.

Hotel Electronic Door Lock Vendors

Canary Technologies works with multiple electronic door lock vendors, including:

Future Trends and Innovations

Electronic door locks are just the start of hotel trends and innovation. With the rise in AI and other technologies, be prepared for fast developments in the hotel technology space. Here are a few emerging hotel trends and innovations:

Digital Cashless Tipping

Guests want to show gratitude to hotel employees, but fewer carry cash than ever and this means fewer tips. In response, digital tipping has become a way for hotels to gain tips even when guests check-in contactlessly.

Place QR codes strategically around your property, like guest rooms or the lobby. These codes act as reminders to guests that tips are appreciated and enable them to pull up a payment screen on their mobile devices quickly and easily.  

Canary’s Digital Tipping solution, for example, can increase tips to employees by up to 5X and take-home pay by up to $2-4 per hour.

Download the 2023 State of Tipping in Hotels, presented by Canary Technologies

Biometrics

Biometric technologies, such as Facial recognition technology, fingerprint scanners, or voice recognition, have the potential to revolutionize hotel check-in processes by offering a seamless and secure experience for guests.

But despite its promise, the widespread adoption of facial recognition technology may depend on various factors, including cost, technological advancements, regulatory frameworks, and guest acceptance.

Carefully navigate these factors while ensuring a balance between convenience, security, and privacy to shape the future of facial recognition in hotel check-in.

Upsell Technology

Guest management systems make upselling a whole lot easier for hotels. This technology is becoming more popular by the day due to its ability to generate thousands of dollars of new revenue per week.

“[Digital upselling] is incredible,” says the general manager of Coeur D'Alene Resort. “We have more than $1,000 in room service upsells this week alone. It's all extra revenue that we wouldn't have gotten without Canary.”

Dynamic upselling allows you to intelligently offer upsells to guests throughout their journey. This gives your guests the ability to customize their stay.

Demo Canary Upsells today and generate more revenue for your property

Conclusion

Contactless check-in and electronic door locks are the future of the hotel industry, providing guests with a better experience and hotels with improved operations. For successful implementation, take the time to understand how the technology can help your hotel.  

Next up, find out about the latest hospitality software innovations.

Learn How Canary Can Help Your Properties Thrive

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