Although the technology is known by several names – mobile key, digital key, keyless entry – hotels around the world are beginning to embrace this new, contactless solution. Mobile keys use a Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC) signal to unlock guest room doors using guests’ smart devices in conjunction with mobile key-equipped locks. Once a hotel, casino, or resort begins offering mobile key, their guests and their business experience multiple benefits, including time and cost savings, as well as greater guest and employee satisfaction.
Nearly half of today’s guests expect their hotel to offer mobile key, yet only 42 percent of hotel operators plan to offer it. If you want to stand out from your competitive set and gain the significant advantages mobile key provides, consider what it takes to offer it at your hotel.
The Right Hardware (Not as Costly as You May Think!)
With rates running as high as $300 per door, lock hardware can be a significant capital expense for hotels. In the face of a continual shortage of CapEx funds, such potentially high startup costs may deter you from making the change to mobile key. Today, however, hotel operators currently have more economical options when it comes to putting the right hardware in place for mobile key. Innovative Bluetooth technology can now be inserted into existing locks, extending their useful life by upgrading the hardware to enable mobile key while still maintaining keycard functionality – often at less than half the cost required for replacement locks.
The Right App
The mobile key platform operates as part of a native app for your hotel. If you don’t already have an app and regard this requirement as a stumbling block, consider the fact that the right app not only facilitates the use of mobile key, but provides additional benefits as well.
It allows you to integrate your mobile key software with your property management system (PMS), boosting security and optimizing operations by automating mobile key delivery as part of a frictionless check-in and ID verification process. In addition, the right app helps you make guests happier – along with making your bottom line bigger – by empowering guests to choose upgrades, customize their stay, book services, and place F&B orders at their convenience.
Oftentimes, one of the biggest obstacles to implementing mobile key at your hotel revolves around educating your employees on the new technology. You need to ensure that your team members understand the benefits and are comfortable using mobile key in order for it to be effective in your business.
Once you’ve made the decision to implement mobile key at your hotel, work with your vendor to develop a detailed rollout plan for staff training. Your plan should include a compelling picture of the benefits hotel staff will experience. Focus on the pain points that will be eliminated once it’s deployed, such as reduced front desk workload, time savings, and optimized workflows.
Consider selecting and training internal “champions” – ideally from different departments – so that they become effective advocates for the new tech. Choose people with strong interpersonal skills who will help encourage fellow employees to get on board. Make the training fun and engaging by using interactive and gamification strategies.
To experience all the benefits that mobile key brings depends on your guests knowing that you have it on offer. You can get early buy-in on your new tech by telling your guests about it before they even arrive at your hotel. Mention that you now offer mobile key in your booking confirmation email, highlighting the value it will provide your guests, like speeding up the check-in process, that it’s a contactless solution, that it uses your guests’ personal smart devices (something they now prefer!) and that it provides a sustainable solution (something your guests care about!).
Other effective ways of promoting mobile key include placing a banner on your website, using video displays in high-traffic areas on property, and mentioning it in welcome texts or push notifications with an appropriate link. You can even train team members to automatically promote it whenever they field questions from guests.
Experience the Advantages of Mobile Key
While it’s true that implementing mobile key requires making changes to the way things have always been done, once you implement this innovative solution, you’ll begin enjoying the benefits at every level of your business.
Are you ready to gain all the advantages of implementing mobile key at your hotel?
 28, Mar. “Mobile QR Scanner Usage in the U.S. 2025.” Statista, 28 Mar. 2022, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1297768/us-smartphone-users-qr-scanner/.
 Woolf, Max. “Smartphone Use on Vacation [2022 Study].” Passport Photo Online, 25 May 2022, https://passport-photo.online/blog/smartphone-use-on-vacation-study/. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/mobile/.
 “2021 Customer Engagement Study.” Hospitality Technology, 17 Dec. 2021, https://hospitalitytech.com/customer-engagement-study-2021