Today, we will discuss how do hotel door locks work. As we stated in the previous article, the hotel door lock is made up mainly of three parts: a smart lock, a card issuer, and an ic card. The intelligent hotel lock system can issue various IC cards, manage guest rooms, and manage guest information. Hotel smart lock is widely used in modern hotels with its easy operation and high efficiency. Hotel locks centrally control can be achieved. Convenience, rapidity, and safety are their main features.

The working principle of the hotel door lock system: adopts RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology. In recent years, most hotels use non-contact induction technology. Specifically speaking, when the card is between 0 and 5 cm from the hotel lock sensor, the lock reads the card information automatically. If the information is correct, the door will open. If the information is incorrect, the door will give an error message. The lock will not be damaged by card reading since it is a non-contact design. Similarly, the card will not be damaged by contact card reading, so its long life can effectively reduce the maintenance cost of the hotel.

RFID hotel smart lock

Rfid hotel lock and access card both use RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology. Among them, the access card uses a radio frequency tag as the physical carrier of the electronic product code (EPC). This tag allows the electronic product to be identified, read, and written, as well as attached to traceable items and circulated globally. With this system, hotel guest can enter their room effortlessly by simply swiping their card near the lock sensor.

RFID can also avoid the problem of magnetic stripe cards being interfered with, making data difficult to read. On the other hand, RFID provides anti-cloning security through an encrypted platform, thus ensuring the system can deny any unauthorized access.

This kind of smart lock is different from traditional mechanical locks. It is more intelligent in terms of user identification, security, and management, and is the executive component of door locking in the access control system.

hand touch keycard on hotel door
mechanical card


  • It is cheaper than the Bluetooth hotel lock system.
  • The way of unlocking is relatively simple, which is benefice to the hotel’s management.
  • No need to consider networking, which has higher stability.


  • Its singular function, and lack of diversity.

Bluetooth hotel smart lock 

The Bluetooth hotel lock adds low-energy Bluetooth to the existing traditional lock. This kind of lock allows the unlocking and control of the door lock through a smartphone, without the need for cumbersome door cards and keys, and is more intelligent and convenient.

The mobile phone can try to pair the Bluetooth by reading the Bluetooth information of the smart lock through the APP/ WeChat mini program and send an unlock request to the server. Then the server sends the unlock command to the mobile phone. The mobile phone receives the command and sends the command to the smart door lock through Bluetooth to unlock.


  • With keyless entry, a variety of door-opening methods are available to customers, making it more convenient for their use. 

  • With higher security, door opening information can be uploaded in real-time.

  • BLE Bluetooth module has very low power consumption in all modes, which has a long standby time.

  • Bluetooth has high transmission speed, strong adaptability, no signal interference, and a better unlocking experience.


  • Compared to RFID hotel locks, this system is relatively complex to use.

Different hotel systems use different types of hotel locks, and hotels can choose the system according to their conditions. 

The main unlocking ways of hotel lock

RFID hotel smart lock

(1) Mechanical key unlock.

(2) Hotel key card unlock.

Bluetooth hotel smart lock 

(1) Mechanical key unlock.

Mechanical key unlock is one of the most traditional ways to open doors, but it is easy to lose, so most hotels now use it as a backup opening option.

(2) Hotel key card unlock.

Key cards are substitutes for mechanical keys, mainly used for opening doors, and also be used to insert RFID power switches to get electricity, enter the hotel floor, use elevators, and so on.

It is one of the most common access methods in contemporary hotels. It is more convenient and faster to open the door by simply placing the card near the door lock sensor. Additionally, the hotel key card can be customized according to the hotel’s requirements, reflecting the hotel’s characteristics.

(3) Smartphone key unlock.

Mechanical key unlock is one of the most traditional ways to open doors, but it is easy to lose, so most hotels now use it as a backup opening option.

The function and authority of various hotel key cards

According to the card if it has the function of opening the lock or not, there are two types of cards in this system: unlocking cards and management cards.

1. Unlocking card: This type of card is mainly used to open the door. The functions of the multi-level key card are clearly defined. It can be set according to the needs of hotel management. It is mainly used for management, including the following types:

(1)Master card(emergency card): It can open all rooms in the hotel, including locked rooms. The card is generally carried by security guards and is used in cases of emergency.

(2)Building card: It can open all guest rooms of a certain hotel building. It is invalid when exceeds the limit time. It is usually equipped by the hotel manager or minister of the hotel. 

(3)Floor card: It can be used to open all rooms on a certain floor of the hotel, and is provided by the hotel’s waiter.

(4)Cleaning card: For cleaning staff to open rooms on the corresponding floor of the hotel within the set cleaning period.

(5)Guest card: for hotel guests to open their rooms within the valid room time.

key card access hotel room

Open the door lock

rfid key card access

Access the hotel building

A portrait of a Key Card to activating the electricity in a room hotel

Using the room power

taking the elevator

Activate elevator

2. Management card: The setting card can not open the door lock, and is mainly used to manage the door lock, including the following cards:

(1)Authorization card: Used to set system information of both lock and software. Running software for the first time is required to read the authorization card to proceed. It is necessary to re-read the authorization card after installation. This card is provided by a lock supplier and cannot be made by users. So the hotel should keep the card properly. Different companies have different authorization card information, so the card cannot open locks of each other company.

(2)Installation card: Used to input room information into the lock(building, floor, room number, etc.).

(3)Time card: Used to adjust lock time, making it synchronize with real-time (computer time)

(4)Cancel card: Used to block a card, making it unable to open the lock. If a card is lost, this card can be used to cancel the unlock access of the lost card.

(5)Recover card: To recover the unlock access of the lost card being canceled.

(6)Lock Set Card: To avoid the failure to open the door due to duplicated swiping of the installation card.  It needs to swipe the setting card first, then read the setting card. Other functions are for setting some control of the door lock.

How does the hotel key card work?

lavande hotel

Step 1. Guest check-in

When a hotel guest check-in at the hotel front desk, the hotel staff will enter the guest’s information into the system and transmit the information to the blank card through the card issuer.

Step 2. Card unlocking

When the guest gets the room card and walks to their room, the guest only needs to put the card on the hotel sensor, the door lock will automatically read the information, when the information is correct, the door lock will be opened automatically, the whole process completed usually takes a few seconds.

Step 3. Card provide power 

Many hotels will install a power switch, usually next to the room door. If guests want to use electricity, they only need to insert the room card into the power switch.

Step 4. Check out and refund the card

When the check-in period has expired, the card will automatically become invalid, and the guest will not be able to open the room door or use the power supply. Before the guest leaves the hotel, there will be a check-out procedure. Upon check-out, the guest’s information will be deleted, and the card will be recycled so that the next guest can use it.


The above is all about the introduction of the hotel locks working principle/the main types of hotel locks/and the hotel key card. Both RFID hotel locks and Bluetooth hotel locks are good choices if you are looking for hotel locks. From the recent development, the RFID hotel lock is one of the most popular hotel locks on the market. It is cheap and easy to operate. Therefore, its market coverage is also the highest among hotel locks.

But in terms of trends, networked hotel locks will be the mainstream in the future. Although many people still doubt the safety of such locks, many smart lock suppliers have long considered this and set many anti-theft functions on the lock.