Hotel Security: Locking Systems

The implementation of robust hotel security measures is now paramount for hoteliers, and selecting the right type of locking system for the property can be a minefield for owners.

If you don’t know your “RFiD” from your “biometric”, then TillSecure’s Dave Jones is on hand to help!

Hotel Industry Magazine: Why do you think hotel security has jumped to the top of the hotelier’s agenda in recent years?

Historically, hotel users travelled with less high value transportable goods. However, in today’s world this is no longer the case. Most clients now travel with laptops, mobile phones, iPads and so on. This obviously appeals to the less law abiding members of society and today’s conscientious hoteliers are addressing this threat with increased traceability and security.

Hotel Industry Magazine: What simple steps can UK hoteliers take to increase their level of security?

The most basic security measure is of course staff alertness. Be aware of unusual activity from the people in your reception.

The security of the guest accommodation is paramount. Mechanical keys are no longer an acceptable security measure in the Hotel sphere. They are easily lost and readily duplicated. A lost Key will necessitate the changing of the entire Lock at the guest room if security is to be maintained. Modern RFiD card systems negate the need for concern in this area, a lost card can simply be deactivated and rendered useless to a potential intruder, when combined with the audit trail of events at the lock this inspires guest confidence.

Hotel Industry Magazine: After the case in the US late last year with Onity locks, are consumers right to be concerned about hotel security?

Consumer’s confidence can be attenuated by media reports, however, this can easily be overcome by the visible signs that the Hotelier is accepting their security responsibilities. Mechanical keys and old or poorly maintained electronic door locks are not an inspiring first impression or confidence builder for your guests.

Hotel Industry Magazine: Are digital/RFID locks harder to hack than keycards?

RFiD locking systems are becoming the technology of choice in today’s market. As there is no physical contact between the card and the lock there is no need for open channels for card insertion or interference from external sources. The cards themselves have no magnetic strip or microchip on the surface of the card and the limited information on the card is securely encrypted (No personal information is contained on the card at all).

Hotel Industry Magazine: Are RFID locks cost-effective?

As there is no contact between the card and the lock, there is no requirement for read head cleaning of either the lock or the front desk encoding station. There is no ongoing requirement for replacement of read heads due to wear and there is no misread at the door due to dirt on the card or the lock read head.

This results in a massive reduction in guests returning to reception with faulty cards, and increased customer satisfaction.

Hotel Industry Magazine: What are biometric locks and what security benefits do they offer?

Biometric locks read a fingerprint (or face) to allow or deny access. Biometric locks are an ideal solution for places like back-of-house, offices, and wine stores. The need to carry (and the possibility of losing) a card are removed completely.

Today’s biometric locks are reliable, cost effective and aesthetically pleasing. I think it is only a question of time before we see the emergence of cost effective systems based at reception that will read the clients print and update the room lock remotely.

Hotel Industry Magazine: How do you envisage hotel security evolving over the next 5-10 years?

Security requirements in hotels will inevitably become more of a deciding factor for consumers when booking rooms. As consumers become more aware of the technology hoteliers with a blasé attitude to security will inevitably see their occupancy rates suffer.

Actionable Intelligence: Security Advice form TillSecure

  1. Always be observant and alert to your clientele and surroundings.
  2. Maintain you locking system and consider upgrading as technology is always advancing. It could already be too late once you have discovered you have problem with a poorly maintained or outdated system.
  3. Conduct checks:
    • Can you disable a misplaced Key?
    • Do you record your staff keys in a log?
    • If you have an incident in a room can you retrieve an event audit trail from the lock?
    • Do your door closers operate effectively?
    • Do you have a Maintenance Contract in place for your locking system?

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