RFID Locking Technology Developments Shown To Do More Than Secure Hotel Guests


Thanks to technology developments, today’s hotel door locks are about so much more than just securing a room. True, protecting rooms and ensuring that guests and their belongings remain safe is still the fundamental mission, which never can be compromised nor underestimated. However, with the advance of technology, especially RFID, electronic door locking systems today also play an instrumental role in reshaping both how hotels run their operations as well as how they interact with their customers.

One example is how RFID cards, or other tokens such as wristbands and fobs, can be shared with other applications from different services in addition to serving as a room key. Since RFID cards are contactless “smart cards” where memory can be shared in a “compartmentalized” way, this opens up brand new opportunities to plan seamless and integrated guest experiences where the room key becomes the common link.

At VingCard Elsafe we have facilitated numerous different combined use case scenarios where the RFID room keycards have been shared to create complete guest solutions. Some examples are:

  • The keycard is used both for hotel access and ski passes at skiing resorts;

  • The hotel keycard is shared with spa management systems and facilities at spa hotels offering the guest a seamless experience using just one card;

  • The hotel keycard is shared for cashless payment and ticketing for nearby sports venues (e.g. racing circuits);

  • …and much, much more!

Another great advantage that new technology has brought to traditional hotel lock systems is the ability for locks to communicate wirelessly with the front end systems. By adding a small radio unit to the locks as well as a wireless network in the corridors, the locks have suddenly become central “information hubs” which both can send and receive information. In practice this means that a hotel can utilize this infrastructure to greatly improve security, operations and guest services. Some concrete examples of beneficial lock communications are:

  • The guest keycard can remotely be moved to a different room if the guest for some reason requires a room change without having to be “recut” at the front desk.

  • Staff keycards at the hotel can automatically be cancelled from a PC without having to visit any doors if a card has been lost or compromised.

  • Automatic alerts can be set up to warn hotel staff about door ajar situations where guests incidentally may have left their doors unlocked. Alerts can also be sent directly to a security manager if keycards are tried unsuccessfully in a series of doors where it has no authorized access.

  • Maintenance information from the door locks such as battery status and reader performance are continuously sent to the database where auto-generated actionable reports can be set up for distribution to maintenance staff.

  • Remote check in and front desk bypass for loyalty card holders. In such a setup, the guest’s RFID loyalty cards will be encoded with their key information the first time they present the keycard to their door lock.

In summary, technology is transforming the once quite straightforward doorlock system to something much more than room security. Anyone investing into a door lock system today should thus carefully consider how well the product in question is positioned for taking advantage of these developments. This goes for the current product platform in question, but also with regard to how convenient its future upgrade paths are, as technology is bound to continue evolving.

Gard Gabrielsen
Director of Product Marketing at VingCard Elsafe