What to keep in mind while choosing hotel door lock system for your business
Safety has always played an important role in our industry. However, a traditional security lock has a weak spot, which is – the key. If it is lost, the finder can easily get access to your hotel. Moreover, lock replacement is expensive and takes time. Adopting more advanced technologies may help you to avoid such problems.
Nowadays, electronic door locks, also called electric, are widely used in hotels as a practical alternative. You can open them with a PIN, a chip card, fingerprint, or app. The usage of electronic locking systems is becoming increasingly popular in the hotel industry. If you plan to invest in a new solution for your business, in this article you will find some useful tips that might help you to make the right decision.
How do electronic hotel door locks work?
One of the main advantages of smart door lock systems is their ease of use. The best option is – when the guests can access the room with one tap using the application. Here’s how keyless entry works in the integration of the HotelFriend App and a hotel locking system by Salto KS:
The types of hotel guest room locks and keys
A lot of things must be considered before you choose a certain type of lock. For instance, you should be aware that some of them need access to a stable Wi-Fi connection to work. However, with this type of system, you will be able to manage it wherever you are!
Today, there is a plethora of options on the market, which can be confusing. But to make your choice easier, we have collected relevant information on the most popular options in the hotel industry for today. Before revealing the advantages and disadvantages of different kinds of locking systems, we will focus on their general characteristics.To start with, they fall into three categories: mechanical, mechatronic, and electronic.
Mechanical door locks
This type belongs to the simplest locking systems. These locks can have different lock cylinder mechanisms, e.g., with reversible or spanner keys. They are affordable, as there is a wide range of prices that can be suggested, and the installation is easy. However, they can be easily picked, and they are less convenient for elderly and disabled persons.
Thus, the good old key is now rarely used in the hotel industry.
Mechatronic locking systems
This version combines mechanical and electronic components. The main parts of this system are the locking cylinders plus programmable keys, special devices for programming, the management software, etc.
This type combines the best parts of ordinary and digital locks, providing extra security for your building. It does not require complicated wiring installation, as the power source is located within the key. Each one has a battery, which lasts approximately for a year and can be easily replaced. If the locking system features Bluetooth connection, it is possible to receive up-to-date information concerning access to the building or room where the lock is installed.
Electronic (or digital) locking systems
Electronic locks are the most innovative options available. To operate, this kind of locking system needs electricity. There should be a stable source of energy, and thus, you need to install a cable as well. Digital systems are very handy and provide a wide range of functions and features – for example, you may set a specific time for the door to lock and unlock automatically. Nowadays, you can even or use your smartphone to open the door via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth!
Here are several
1. The RFID locking system
RFID stands for ‘radio-frequency identification’, which means recognition through electromagnetic waves. The contactless transmitter-receiver system identifies objects and people by using radio waves. It can be combined with an electronic door lock. In this case, a special chip must be programmed and built into a small transponder, placed on the door. The authorization check is performed by the data transfer via the radio frequency. Depending on the provider, the guest’s transponder can look like a key fob, card, special bracelet, etc.
* FYI: The word ‘transponder’ originates from the terms ‘transmitter’ and ‘responder’ and means a wireless communication device that receives incoming signals and automatically responds to them (or transmits them).
The RFID locks are widely used in hotels because the code cards can be reprogrammed for each guest.
2. Code lock with PIN
This type of locks can be opened with a correct sequence of digits, entered on a keypad or touchpad. The input field is usually attached to a wall at a maximum of 50 cm from the code lock. Among other useful features, the software allows recording the time of access. Compared to the touchpads, keypads are splash-proof, have a smaller surface area, and thus are less vulnerable.
3. Lock with a chip card
Electric door locks with a sensor and a chip card are extremely popular with hoteliers. First of all, they can be easily reprogrammed as well. Another factor that makes them attractively convenient is the ease of use for both guests and hotel employees.
4. The lock with a smartphone control
The locking system with a smartphone app control is still relatively new. It allows users to enter the room or apartment using Bluetooth technology or Wi-Fi. Their possibilities and functions are endless! For example, you can significantly improve customer experience by combining the Mobile Check-In option with a possibility to open the door with a smartphone. This will save your guest’s time and let them avoid queueing at the reception. These locks can be easily integrated with your current Property Management System. The only drawback is that guests must always carry smartphones with them and keep the battery charged.
However, despite all the advantages of the door locks with digital keys, many things aren’t clear at the first glance. How does it all work? Is it safe and secure? How to install and maintain your digital hotel lockset? For those who consider investing in this kind of technology, we’ve made a quick list of answers to some of the frequently asked questions:
1. How to install a digital hotel door lock?
If there is a maintenance team in your hotel, your staff will handle this task without any issues. Each lockset has detailed installation instructions, so with the right tools, almost anyone can set it up.
In most cases, you won’t need to wire each door as smart hotel door locks get power from the batteries. The basic steps are practically the same as for installing a classic lock. Here’s what you’ll most likely need to do to have your new device up and running:
These are general instructions, and the specifics of installation always depend on the lock type and model. However, keep in mind that the easiest way to upgrade your door would be choosing a retrofit smart lock. It does not require replacing your old deadbolt system altogether. If you don’t have a maintenance crew on-site, you can hire a locksmith, whose labour rate usually various.
2. How to maintain keyless hotel door locks?
The rules of digital entry system maintenance are quite simple. In fact, they are similar to the rules for preserving any electronic device. If you want your new locks to serve you for a long time, here is what to do:
- Regularly check the battery condition, replace the batteries, or charge them if they run low.
- Clean the locks from dirt and dust by wiping them with a soft cloth.
- Avoid sudden door slams and exclude the use of excessive force.
- Buy the right cleaning products for your appliances.
- Monitor the overall door condition and fix any breakdowns in time.
3. How to issue a digital key for hotel locks?
You can issue a digital key for an electronic door directly from your HotelFriend Property Management System. You can send a digital key to anybody who has a smartphone, with no need to hand over a physical key. For example, to issue such a key to your guests by email, you just need to click the Send Door Code button on the guest’s booking card.
Before or at the time of arrival, the guest needs to download the HotelFriend Concierge App. The guest will receive a reservation pin by email, log in via the mobile application and then open the Salto door lock with an App. By the way, these digital locks can also enable you to grant access for selected timeframes and block users if you need.
4. How to use a digital key?
To open a keyless hotel lock with a smartphone, you just need to bring the phone close to the reader. If you want to know exactly how it works, we can use a Salto KS system as an example. So, here is how to open a hotel door lock with your phone:
- Step close to the lock and turn on Bluetooth on your device.
- Open the HotelFriend Concierge or Salto KS app and press the “Digital Key” button in the lower right corner of the screen. The app will transmit the digital key to the lock.
- Touch the lock reader with your smartphone. After the lock gives out a sound and a positive LED signal, you can enter the room.
You can also enter a PIN code in the Salto KS App and click “Unlock” in the App to unlock the door.
5. How to generate a PIN code for a smart lock?
Depending on the model, you can either create your own numerical code directly on the keypad or in the application. For your guests, the most convenient option would be to set their own combination of numbers that are easy to remember. The PIN code can play the role of an additional protective measure from unwanted access.
6. Do smart hotel locks work when the power is out?
Each hotel has its own specific system which works in its own way. However, most locks are battery powered which means that they have an autonomous power source. This way, when the lights are out in the hotel, the locks and keys will still work. These batteries can last for several years, and with timely replacement, you won’t face any problems.
In addition, smart locks have a built-in backup battery that lasts for several days. Such devices as VingCard and Saflok can also be opened with special remote control in case the batteries are dead. It grants additional power to the lock so that you can open it and enter the code.
7. Do electronic hotel doors lock automatically?
The availability of this feature also depends on the lock type and manufacturer. Some smart locks can block the door if it is open for some time. You can turn the auto-lock feature on or off in the app. Here, you can also set the desired timeframe, in which the door will close automatically. You can also set the option for the door to lock itself immediately after it was closed. Check with your lock provider if such a feature is available.