Hotel Key Cards: How They Work and Advantages

Hotel Key Cards: How They Work and Advantages

Most hotel guest management systems use hotel access cards. You may have used a hotel key card to enter the room more than once in your life. You may also have some questions about how they work.

Hotel key cards have been in use for quite some time now, and are effective in securing your stay in a hotel, while at the same time being extremely convenient and useful tool for a variety of reasons.

Here, we have come up with how hotel key cards work and how to modernize them. So, read on.

Common Types of Hotel Key Cards

Some hotels use magnetic stripe access cards. However, there are other options for hotel access, such as proximity cards (RFID), access cards with holes, photo identification cards, barcode cards and smart cards.

These can be used to enter rooms, use elevators, and enter specific areas of the building. All of these access methods are common components of traditional access control systems.

Magnetic stripe or swipe cards are a cost-effective option for large hotels, but they wear out quickly and are less secure than other options. RFID cards are more durable and expensive. Punch cards are a mechanical method that requires punching holes in the card to fit the unique mechanism of the card reader.

These cards are not very common and all of the above examples are based on different technologies but provide the same functionality for access control. A smart card can contain a lot of additional information about the user. Smart cards can be used to grant cardholders access to facilities other than hotel rooms, such as restaurants, gyms, swimming pools, laundries, meeting rooms, and any other service that requires secure access to the building. With enhanced security and encryption standards, smart cards can collect information about each step of the cardholder’s journey across the premises and allow the hotel to obtain a record of all expenses at once. This simplifies hotel financial management and creates a more seamless experience for hotel guests.

How do Hotel Key Cards Work?

The hotel key card is used with a door reader installed in each door lock and can be programmed to open a specific door within a specific period of time. It is used to grant the owner the exclusive authority to access the elevator. For example, if a guest has reserved an attic and the apartment is restricted to daily use, smart cards and advanced access card readers can make this process very easy.

How to Unlock the Hotel Door with a Hotel KeyCard?

There is a magnetic layer or strip on the magnetic stripe card, which contains the basic information of the hotel guest. Generally, the user’s access number is the most identifiable information stored on the card. The hotel counter staff will print the user’s information when they check in and will generally set a period of use until check-out. Once the hotel door card reader has read and verified the magnetic stripe, it will activate the key card door lock. The access process is usually completed by swiping a card with a magnetic card reader.

The RFID or proximity card requires no swipe action. They use radio frequency to allow short distance access from programming. RFID cards belong to the group of contactless cards. Usually for proximity cards the user almost never needs to touch the RFID reader to unlock the door.

Smart cards are also contactless cards. They use microchips to store data and, although they are expensive, they are the preferred solution for hotels looking for modern processes.

Hotel KeyCard Myths

The most common myth about key cards is related to the information stored on them. For example, many people believe that the card contains confidential user data, such as personal or financial information. The fact is that most hotel access cards only store the room number and the date of entry.

The hotel key card is a tool with the least amount of information storage, which limits the possibilities of abuse. This however, does not protect the user from theft or loss of the card, so strangers can enter their room before the violation is detected. This type of security breach is more of concern than the ability to decrypt the information on the card.

While it is true that hotel key cards cannot completely prevent abuse, modern data protection regulations prevent it. It is worth remembering that not all geographic locations have the same privacy rules. If you are traveling abroad, for example to Europe, your card can store financial details, such as credit card numbers.

This is how hotel key cards work. As you see, these are extremely useful tools for hotels as the hotel authority gets a complete detail of activities of the user in a single place. It is also great for the users for added safety and convenience.