In hotel management, hotel keys undoubtedly play a crucial role. Their impact on hotel management is profound as they are directly related to the safety and privacy of hotels and guests. Here we will delve into various types of keys in hotel and key management to help you better understand various concepts and methods in hotel management.

Mechanical Keys

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Mechanical keys are one of the earliest forms of hotel access systems. These keys are typically equipped with specific identifiers, such as room numbers, to help guests locate their rooms and unlock their doors.

Mechanical keys are relatively simple in design and do not rely on batteries or technical devices. So they are more stable and reliable than modern electronic keys.

Mechanical keys, however, cannot be easily reprogrammed or deactivated, which makes their distribution and management less flexible than electronic key cards.

Additionally, if a mechanical key is lost, it can pose a potential security threat to the hotel room. As a result, electronic key cards have gradually replaced mechanical keys as the preferred access method.

Nevertheless, some hotels still retain mechanical key systems but typically use them as emergency keys. Backup mechanical keys are managed by the front desk of hotels. They are only used in emergency situations, such as when electronic key cards cannot unlock. 

Hotel Key Cards

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Hotel key cards are modern tools widely used in hotel management to enhance efficiency and security. These key cards can be programmed to grant different levels of access, allowing for finer control over hotel management.

Hotel key cards are typically divided into two major categories: lock management cards and lock setting cards.

Lock Management Cards:

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A. Master Key Card

A master key card can open all the guest room locks within the hotel, including double locks. For security reasons, this key is typically kept by the hotel general manager or the duty manager and is only used in emergencies.

B. Room Master Key Card

The room master key card can open all the hotel guestroom locks within the hotel and is programmed by the hotel.

It is typically managed by the hotel room manager for room inspection. It’s important to note that these cards have an expiration date, and they become invalid after that date.

C. Floor Key Card

Floor master key cards allow access to all guestroom doors on a specific floor within a designated period. These keys can also be authorized through programming for individuals to access hotel floors during their authorized time frame.

They are typically managed by the floor supervisor for room inspections and cleaning. Additionally, floor keys can be used to temporarily open doors for hotel guests who have lost or forgotten their keys.

D. Guest Room Card

Guest room key cards are used by guests staying in the hotel during their stay. These cards are usually kept at the hotel front desk.

When checking, hotel front desk staff will program a guestroom key for guests to access their rooms during their stay. Once the stay period expires, the card key automatically becomes invalid, facilitating hotel management.

Lock Setting Cards:

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A. Authorization Card

The authorization card is used to set up the system management software and lock system information. The management software needs to read the information on the authorization card to function properly upon the initial run.

After lock installation, the authorization card is also needed for initial setup. Authorization cards are typically provided with software or locks and cannot be created by users, so they must be carefully safeguarded. Each authorization card’s information is unique, so different authorization cards cannot open each other.

B. Installation Card

The installation card is used to set up basic information for the lock, such as building, floor, and room numbers. To prevent issues with multiple swipes of the installation card, a setting card must be used first, followed by the installation card.

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C. Time Card

The time card is used to synchronize the internal time of the lock.

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D. Lost Card

The lost card is used to cancel the access rights of other key cards. If a room card is lost, the lost card can be used to prevent its use.

E. Cancel Lost Card

The cancel lost card is used to reinstate the access rights of a lost key card.

F. Data Card

The data card is used to extract access records from the lock. For locks with minimal access records, the records can be extracted directly. For locks with extensive access records, a handheld device is used to read the records.

G. Check-out Card

The check-out card is used to log out of room operations. After swiping the card, all previously used room cards become invalid and cannot be used to open doors.

It’s important to note that if a room card has not been used on the lock after issuance, swiping the check-out card will not render it invalid. The check-out card also has an expiration date, and it becomes invalid after that date.

H. Lock Body Setting Card

The lock body setting card is used to control settings on the lock, such as setting up meeting rooms, disabling false alarm reports, enabling deadbolts, and disabling cards.

Digital Key

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The digital key is also known as an electronic key or virtual key. It is an innovative technology introduced in the hotel industry to enhance the guest experience and security. Digital key eliminates traditional physical keys and magnetic cards, storing key information in digital form on personal mobile devices.

Digital keys are relatively easy to use, but hotels will need to upgrade their hotel key systems to support them.

Before authorizing digital keys, hotel management needs to record relevant user information and authorization areas in the system backend, similar to traditional lock systems.

In addition, digital keys rely on internet connectivity, which requires a connection between user accounts and the system. This may include steps such as SMS verification and ID binding.

Once user account information is verified, the hotel system generates and sends the digital key to the user’s electronic device. Without the need for physical keys and plastic cards, users can access authorized rooms or areas with their mobile devices. 

Hotel Key Handling Process

The process of handling hotel keys varies slightly depending on the hotel management system, scale, and key control policies. Generally, this process includes the following steps:

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Step 1: Reserve a Hotel Room

Before arriving at the hotel, guests typically make reservations for hotel rooms based on their travel needs. Specific channels for booking include the hotel website, online travel agents, phone reservations, and others. Guests provide personal and payment information (like credit card info) to ensure a successful reservation.

Step 2: Checking In at the Hotel Front Desk

In most modern hotels, guests check in at the front desk once they arrive, following the traditional front desk approach. During this step, guests must provide reservation information and identification to confirm their check-in.

Step 3: Receiving the Hotel Key Card

After verifying the guest’s information at the front desk, the hotel staff will generate a set of guestroom keys. These keys are typically proximity cards (such as magnetic stripe cards and RFID cards), and digital keys. These key cards contain the room number and an expiration date. Guests can use them to access various areas within the hotel and unlock their room doors.

Step 4: Familiarizing with Hotel Policies and Services

After a guest check-in, front desk staff usually provide them with information about hotel policies and services, such as breakfast, Wi-Fi, room cleaning, and key card usage. Make sure you understand the hotel’s rules and services to avoid unnecessary inconveniences during your stay.

Management and Tracking of Room Keys

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  1. Hotel room keys must be stored securely, and only authorized staff should have access to them. It is recommended to use secure storage devices like hotel safes or lockboxes to ensure the keys’ safety.
  2. Distribute keys carefully to avoid handing out the wrong key, which could lead to guest dissatisfaction. Proper distribution helps prevent guests from entering the wrong rooms or experiencing unnecessary incidents like lost items.
  3. Ensure that the key card’s expiration date is set correctly to match the guest’s check-in time, preventing unauthorized access.
  4. When accessing room cards at the front desk, double-check the check-in information and guest details to ensure consistency.
  5. After guests check out, promptly disable or reset the room cards to ensure only authorized person can use them.
  6. Implement advanced key card tracking systems to record the usage of each key card. This helps track the time, date, and employee information for each unlock, facilitating auditing and investigation when needed.
  7. Regularly maintain hotel key cards and door locks, promptly replacing damaged key cards and lock components. With hotel electronic lock systems, you can remotely monitor room usage status, smart lock battery levels, lock signals, and more to detect and address any issues promptly.
  8. If a guest loses their hotel key card, strictly follow the hotel key card replacement procedure. Ensure that lost cards’ permissions are promptly revoked to prevent potential losses.
  9. Increasing physical security measures, such as security camera surveillance and access control software, can further enhance key management security.

The Importance of Hotel Key Control

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Helps Ensure Guest Safety–Through proper control, hotels can ensure that only authorized persons can access guest rooms, thereby preventing unauthorized people from entering the hotel.

Helps Protect Hotel Property–In addition to safeguarding the safety and valuables of guests, key control also protects the assets of the hotel. Hotels are large service establishments with a significant amount of valuable property, including cash, hotel facilities, equipment, and inventory.

Controlling who can gain access to the property can help hotels reduce theft and damage to property, assuring their assets’ integrity.

Builds Customer Trust–Good key control systems allow customers to feel that they are safe and secure, which enhances their trust.

This encourages customers to choose the hotel for future stays but also prompts them to recommend it to others. Helping hotels establish customer loyalty and a positive reputation.

Improves Hotel Efficiency–The system allows for easy configuration of different staff permissions, enabling admins to supervise and manage effortlessly.

Based on their respective permissions, hotel employees can manage the corresponding door locks and keys according to their job responsibilities. This clear division of roles and responsibilities helps improve hotel management efficiency and reduce management costs.

Hotel Key Card Lock System

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After in-depth research into various types of keys in hotels, we will focus on hotel key card door entry systems. Hotel management systems are based on key cards, which are the most common method of access today.

This system is primarily used to implement modern access control for hotel rooms, replacing traditional physical keys and locks. Providing guests with a more secure, reliable, and convenient access experience.

Advanced hotel key card systems fully integrate Internet technology to provide a more efficient unlocking experience.

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Next, we will delve into the numerous advanced features offered by smart hotel door locks. These features not only help improve hotel operational efficiency and security but also enhance the guest’s stay.


  • Keyless Entry: With internet-connected hotel locks, guests can use smart cards on their smartphones to unlock without the need for physical keys. This innovation not only enhances security but also provides a more convenient accommodation experience for guests.
  • Real-time Lock Status Monitoring: Hotel door locks are connected to the hotel door lock management system, providing real-time updates on lock status. Hotel staff can remotely monitor room usage, lock battery levels, and signal data at any time to ensure the security of guest rooms.
  • Unlocking Records: Advanced hotel door locks can record unlock activities. YGS hotel management system can automatically block cards that have not been renewed and store nearly 1,000 unlock records, offering strong support for hotel management and customer service.
  • Employee Authorization Management: The hotel room management system can assign appropriate operation permissions to employees based on their responsibilities. This not only standardizes hotel management processes but also ensures the confidentiality of hotel information.
  • Data Analysis and Reporting: Smart hotel door lock systems provide accurate data, supporting marketing data analysis, room type data analysis, operational data analysis, and more. Managers can flexibly adjust sales strategies and employee schedules based on this data to achieve maximum efficiency.
  • Seamless Check-in Experience: Smart hotel door locks offer a seamless check-in experience, eliminating the need to wait in line for check-in. Guests can directly enter their rooms. This convenient check-in experience helps increase customer satisfaction and encourages repeat stays at the hotel.
  • Remote Authorization Management: Hotel management can distribute or revoke access card authorizations remotely, increasing flexibility and security. Especially for providing special permissions or quickly responding to customer needs.
  • High-Level Encryption Technology: Smart hotel door locks typically use high-level encryption technology that is difficult to break or replicate. Additionally, card permissions can be deleted, changed, and created at any time, providing a higher level of security while reducing the risks associated with physical keys.

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