Hotel room keycards play a vital role in the hotel business, they are not only the first seen with the items for each guest but also the most contact items. Hotel key cards are essential for accessing guest rooms, elevators, and other hotel facilities. While they may seem like a minor detail, hotel key card design can have a significant impact on guests’ perception of the hotel. A well-designed keycard can create a positive first impression, reinforce the hotel’s brand identity, and even enhance guest services.

In this article, we will explore all hotel room card design details, including the importance of hotel key card design, the types of hotel key cards, and provide practical tips for designing your own key cards. Join us as we delve into the hotel key card design world and discover how to elevate your guests’ experience with style and creativity.

If a comfortable accommodation environment is a primary factor for guests’ repurchasing, hotel design is the second-largest factor. Hotel design includes its overall environment (such as hotel front desk design, hotel door design, hotel lounge design, etc.) and its detail design (such as key cards, hotel door locks, hotel decorations, etc.). Designing your unique hotel room cards has many amazing benefits, these include:

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Promoting Your Hotel Brand

Hotel key cards are one of a hotel’s facades. It is essential to spend extra effort designing the hotel key card to reflect the hotel’s true quality. A keycard with brand positioning and hotel characteristics can make your guests remember your hotel at a glance. In addition, you can also add practical hotel company info and image promotion to the key card (such as hotel company logo, hotel name, hotel image, etc.). Clear key card information helps deepen guests’ brand impression and achieve brand promotion.

Sharing Valuable Information

Hotel room cards can be used to advertise your hotel. In addition to the hotel’s basic information such as name, logo, and address, you can add more detailed information like check-in and check-out times, Wi-Fi access codes, and emergency contact information to your hotel room cards. This information can benefit guests, especially those who are acclimating to the area or traveling for business purposes. By providing valuable information on the key card, guests are more likely to remember and appreciate the convenience and thoughtfulness of your hotel. This increases the likelihood of them returning in the future.

Increasing Repeat Business

Some large hotel brands allow guests to keep their hotel room key cards, which is undoubtedly a major attraction for some travel collectors. When they look back at their hotel cards, it will evoke their memories, not only of the hotel stay experience but also of the entire journey. This will prompt them to choose the hotel again. Furthermore, a great-looking hotel key card design can make guests feel fresh and valued, thereby increasing their loyalty to the hotel.

Attracting More Guests

In today’s fiercely competitive hospitality industry, utilizing the latest special hotel cards is easy to attract guests’ attention. One way to do this is by using hotel key cards as a marketing tool. For example, you can create key cards with attractive designs, images, and slogans, highlighting the unique selling points of your hotel. By using visually appealing key cards, you can attract potential customers and leave a strong first impression, encouraging them to book your hotel.

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Strengthening Hotel Security

Custom key cards can make your hotel stand out and enhance safety. For example, you can program hotel access cards based on guests’ booking details or room types. This will restrict access to specific areas of the hotel, such as guest rooms or fitness centers. This ensures that only authorized guests can enter certain areas, reducing the risk of theft or other security issues. In addition, key cards can be programmed to automatically deactivate upon check-out, eliminating the need for guests to return keys and reducing the risk of key loss or theft.

Customizable Types of Hotel Key Cards 

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Magnetic cards

They are the most common type of hotel key card, with a similar appearance to credit cards, containing magnetic material printed on the surface. The card data can be customized based on different designs and guest information.

RFID cards

RFID cards are a type of smart card. Most of them are similar in size to magnetic cards but have an embedded chip. Moreover, they allow custom shapes, which make your hotel card special and attractive. They are becoming increasingly popular due to their convenience and security features.

RFID wristbands

A kind of contactless hotel key that is worn on the wrist, making them easy for guests to carry and use. However, due to their small size, printing space is limited.

RFID key fobs and tags

A type of proximity key card. They can be personalized with full-color printing or long-lasting laser engraving, featuring your logo, a number, or any graphic design.

Essential Information to Include on Your Hotel KeyCard

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Different hotels have different hotel key card designs. However, to make it easy to use and showcase hotel features, most hotel cards will have the following key information:


Hotel name and logo: Ensure that your hotel name and logo are prominently displayed on the keycard. This will help guests easily identify their card and remember their place of stay.


Hotel feature image: Some hotels may choose a distinctive image to display on one side of the room card. It can be the hotel’s exterior, local features, hotel mascots, simple graphic textures, and more. A nice image will always attract people’s attention and deepen the hotel’s impression in their minds.

Hotel website/app: You can choose whether to print your hotel website and hotel app QR code on the card. This helps promote your hotel and helps guests quickly learn more about its details.

Hotel address and telephone number: If guests need to contact the hotel or provide directions to the taxi driver, providing a card with the address and phone number is very convenient and increases customer satisfaction.

Hotel card usage instructions: Commonly found on magnetic cards, user-friendly card insertion directions and usage steps make it easy for guests to understand how to use them. This not only helps guests but also helps hotels reduce damage caused by incorrect card insertion.

Guests’ check-in details: Usually include: guest name, room number, and check-in/check-out times. Some cards will also record the hotel’s emergency number or local emergency services number. These details can help customers quickly access their rooms without searching for information.

Note: Most hotel cards are plastic cards, so it is difficult to write something on their surface. That’s why cardholders are necessary. Generally, most card holders are made of card paper, and you can write guest details on them and rewrite them anytime.

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Preparing for Customization

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If you are planning to custom hotel key cards, you can take the following steps to ensure a successful process:

Determine your hotel card technology: Before starting the customization process, it’s critical to know what type of key card technology your hotel is using (e.g. RFID/Magnetic). This will help you choose custom options compatible with your current system.

Choose a design idea: Consider which design elements you want to include on your cards, such as branding elements, graphic elements, and hotel detail elements. You may want to work with a professional hotel design team to create a professional-looking design.

Select a supplier: There are many suppliers that offer custom card services. Research different suppliers to find one that meets your needs and budget.

Provide guest information: Once you have selected a supplier and design, provide them with the guest information you want to include on the hotel room card, such as guest name and room number.

Test the cards: Before distributing hotel cards to guests, test several cards to ensure they work properly with the hotel key card entry system.

Distribute the cards: Once you confirm the key cards are functional, distribute them to guests at check-in. You may want to include information about the key card and how to use it in the hotel welcome package or on your website.


Key Factors to Consider When Designing Your Hotel KeyCard

Part I – Text

  1. The layout of the text should be at least 3mm away from the cutting line to prevent any text from being cut off during the cutting process.
  2. After the manuscript is confirmed, the text should be expanded or outlined to avoid garbled characters during output and printing due to missing font types.

Note: The text on the card should be clear and legible, even under low-light conditions. It should include the hotel name, room number, and any other important information that guests may need to know. The font should be clear and large enough to be seen from a distance.

Part II – Colors

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  1. The color mode must be CMYK printing color.
  2. The color of the background or pattern should not be less than 5%, to avoid the printing result being indistinguishable.

Note: The color scheme of the key card should be consistent with the hotel’s brand, which helps to create a coherent look and feel across all hotel materials. In addition, an eye-catching key card should have bright colors that can improve text readability and make the key card easier to find in wallets or bags.

Part III – Hotel Card Technology

  1. Hotel cards are generally made of PVC material with a glossy surface.
  2. Other special technologies include: sandblasting, matte, glossy, laminated, UV, hot stamping, hot silver, embossing, and other processes.
  3. Some hotels require punching holes in hotel staff cards for easy carrying. The punching position should avoid the internal coil position of the card.

Note: The finish of the key card has a significant impact on its durability and usability. Matte finishes help reduce glare and make the card easier to read, while glossy finishes provide a higher-quality feel for the key card. Laminated finishes can provide additional wear protection to ensure a longer lifespan for the key card.

Part IV – File Format

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The file format used for designing hotel cards is essential to ensure that the final product meets expectations. Common file formats used for designing key cards include Adobe, Illustrator, Photoshop, or InDesign. It is important to ensure that the printing settings of the file are correct, and all images or graphics are of high resolution.

Part V – FAQ in hotel key Card Design 

1. What information is required for the hotel key card design?

It mainly depends on what information the client wants to display on the card, such as hotel name, logo, address, phone number, hotel philosophy, QR code, check-out time, and compensation for lost cards, etc.

2. What is the standard size for a room card?

Choosing an ideal painting size for your hotel card is crucial to ensure its functionality and convenience for guests.

Commonly used sizes in the market are: 

※ Vertical standard size (finished size): 85.5 × 54mm

※ Horizontal standard size (finished size): 54 × 85.5mm

The thickness is usually 0.9mm, but some hotels may request it to be thicker, recommended to be under 1.2mm.


a. The thicker the room card, the lower its toughness;

b. Some hotels have narrow slots for electric switches;

c. The chip inside the room card can be affected by the thickness.

However, it is necessary to consider the design and technology used when choosing the size for your hotel card. If your key card requires additional functions such as a barcode or magnetic stripe, you may need to adjust the size accordingly. In addition, if you plan to include additional information such as maps or local attractions on the key card, you may need to consider a larger size.

3. How much does it cost to customize a room card?

Although designing your hotel key card can bring many benefits, it is important to consider the cost of customization. The cost of customizing a key card depends on various factors, such as the type of technology used, the complexity of the design, and the quantity of hotel cards required.

It is essential to research various card printing companies and compare their prices to ensure that your card is priced fairly and competitively. If possible, we are recommended customizing the card directly from the smart lock system supplier, which can save you a lot of time and effort.

As a famous smart lock supplier in China, we offer our clients a plethora of customizable hotel key card lock systems. Whether you’re seeking to construct a unique hotel system, we have everything you need to accomplish your vision.

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4. What is the process for making a room card?

The production process of a room card is different from that of a regular business card. Since a room card has an embedded chip and is used for different types of door locks, the shape, position, and encryption method of the chip can vary.

The production process of a room card is roughly as follows: design layout – machine printing – making the middle material – synthesis – chip testing – punching and cutting the finished product – quality control – encryption testing – shipment.

5. Is it necessary to use a cardholder?

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Usually, a keycard holder is a small plastic case or paper case, mainly used to hold a hotel key card. Although it may seem insignificant, it can significantly improve the functionality and durability of the hotel key card. The cardholder can protect the key card from scratches, dirt, and damage caused by daily wear and tear. It also provides a convenient way for guests to carry the card during their stay, such as attaching it to a keychain or lanyard.

In addition to protecting the hotel card, the cardholder can also be an opportunity for brand promotion. You can use your hotel logo or design to customize the keycard holder, further promoting your brand and creating a cohesive guest experience.

6. How to make your key card work again?

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Inevitably, some hotel key cards may be damaged, lost, or demagnetized during a guest’s stay. In this case, it is important to have a clear key card recovery process.

The first step is to verify the guest’s identity, and then reprogram the key card or issue a new one. This can be done by checking their identification or confirming their name and room number with your hotel records.

Next, you will need to reset or reprogram the key card to grant the guest access to their room. This can be done using a key card encoder or a programming device.

Finally, it is advisable to provide the guest with a new key card and remind them to keep it in a safe place to avoid further damage or loss.

For more about making your hotel cards work again details, please check the article: How to make a key card work again? – Comprehensive Analysis

Famous Hotels’ Key Cards Appreciation 


Hotel cards in FOUR SEASON are exudes an artistic charm that is truly captivating. Each branch has its own unique characteristics. Luxurious, elegant, and tranquil, complement each other perfectly. 



In contrast to their customer service, the room key cards of RITZ-CARLTON seem rather monotonous. A uniform lion head logo design, and uses color coding to differentiate the card’s purpose and room type.



The evolution of hotel cards reflects the changing positioning of hotels. From the key card updates, we can see Hytta hospitality company‘s transition from promoting healthy bedding to building luxury business hotels.

And in China, the hotel cards integrate traditional local culture, creating a refreshing experience.



The Tai Kwun Group from the UK, seamlessly combines local urban culture with an old mansion and modern architecture in bustling districts, with room key cards designed to complement the interior décor.

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