Touch-free locks enhance guests’ experience

In just three years, the StayAt hotel chain has expanded from seven hotels to thirteen. Company president Johan Göthberg says that even if bookings have decreased during the financial crisis, the company’s focus on hotel apartments was a good choice.

“We are doing better than many other hotels, because we’re a reasonably priced alternative that is increasingly cheaper the longer you stay. Previously, 80 percent of our guests were business travelers, but now new customer segments—such as families with children—are seeking us out.”

StayAt has decided to equip all of its new hotel facilities with VingCard’s Signature RFID locks, a product that Göthberg sees as an investment in the future. Guests can check in faster when the intelligent lock system, connected to the booking system, takes on some of the responsibility for correct management. The risk of error decreases while the degree of service to guests increases.

“The link to our Opera booking system works very well,” Göthberg says. “When a guest arrives who has booked a two-person apartment, the booking system and lock system together ensure that the staff cannot miss that the guest needs two keys.”

“The design is attractive, too, which is an important consideration. The locks blend in well with our hotel environments.”

Signature RFID has a touch-free technology; it’s enough to hold the key up to the lock to open the door.

“In general people have very low expectations of us, which is really an advantage,” Göthberg says. “When a guest checks in and receives a keycard, it feels sort of high tech and that enhances their enjoyment.”

Another opportunity he sees with Signature’s smart RFID keycards is the opportunity to connect a payment option, where everything the guest buys at the hotel can be charged directly to the card.

“Imagine how quick check-out would be if everything was already on the card. And it’s all those little extras that we actually make money on.”

The ability to provide good service is the life’s blood of a hotel, and that in turn means that service from its own suppliers is crucial. In line with its strategy to only deal with their core activities themselves, StayAt has signed a service agreement with ASSA ABLOY Hospitality for training in and maintenance of the lock system.

“Speedy service is crucial,” Göthberg says. “Sometimes builders need extra support to install the products in new buildings, but once the locks are in place everything works great.”

Annika Nethander is project sales representative for VingCard Elsafe in Sweden. “We have an excellent relationship with StayAt, and we work constantly to improve our level of service. We are very pleased that they have chosen VingCard Signature as their standard. It is our most advanced lock, with each lock able to store the latest 600 events. They also have installed Elsafe in-room safes to protect the guest’s belongings.”

StayAt Hotel Apartments:

  • Founded in 1999 • 13 hotels (as of June 2009) with a total of 1,500 apartments with an average area of 32 m2 (344 sq. feet)
  • About 80 employees
  • Forecast SEK 230m in turnover in 2009
  • Motto: Everything is possible at StayAt


  • Signature RFID locks with touch-free keycards
  • VISION software for card encoding and lock system management
  • Elsafe hotel room safes

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