The majority, if not all guest management systems at hotels utilise keys for hotel rooms. You’ve probably used a hotel key card at least once in your lifetime to gain access to the room. There are also concerns about how they function in terms of security and what they are.
Most people view the doors of hotels as being extremely secured, however the security technology used to secure the doors is probably outdated and in dire need of being modernised.
Here’s a full analysis of hotel door card holder, and some information that could make you think about how vulnerable they are to hacking with some ideas for how you can modernise them.
Common Hotel Card Types
There are hotels that use access cards that contain magnetic strips (‘mag stripe cards’ in short). The magnetic stripe card is also referred to as ‘swipe cards’.
However, there are alternatives to accessing hotels including proximity (RFID) cards, access cards that have holes photos, ID cards, barcode cards as well as smart cards.
They can be used to enter rooms, use elevators, or gain access to specific areas within the building. These access methods are typical of a conventional accessibility control program.
A MagStripe Key Card For A Hotel
The swipe or mag stripe cards are a great option for large hotels but they can get worn out faster and they are not as secure as the other alternatives.
They are also more durable, but cost more. They are also more expensive. (Punch) card are built on a mechanical system that needs holes in the card to be adapted to the reader’s specific mechanism. They are not as common.
Hotel Punch Card
Hotel key and card holder is a remarkably old system that is not often employed today. The above examples are built on different technologies; however, they have the same functionality to control access to doors. Smart cards can contain many additional details regarding the person who is using it (whoever you assign the cards to).
A smart card may be used to give the card holder access to facilities that are not in the hotel rooms like restaurants, swimming pools, gyms, laundry, conference rooms and any other service that requires secure access to the building.
With enhanced security and encryption features, smart cards gather data from each stage of the holder’s travels through the building and permit the hotel to have an all-inclusive record of their expenses at one time rather than tally the expenses from different locations in the same facility.
This simplifies the management of finances of the hotel and results in more pleasant experiences for guests staying in the hotel. Key card holder for hotels are used with door card readers that are installed on the door locks and can be programmed to unlock certain doors during specific times.
Modern access management systems for hotels allow grouping door locks with several users, granting accessibility to one group and also an audit trail of who walked through the door, and at what time. For instance, a group could be granted access to the lobby doors or toilets for staff but only during an agreed-upon time frame during the day, if the manager decides to establish a particular time frame for access.
As we mentioned previously, smart cards can also be used to provide holders with exclusive the right to use elevators. For instance, if the guest has reserved penthouse accommodations on a floor that is supposed to be accessible to all users, smart cards with sophisticated door readers could simplify the process! For more information about the elevator control system in particular look into our guide.
How Do Mag Stripe Cards Work To Unlock The Hotel’s Doors?
Magnetic stripe cards contain one layer of magnetic material or strip that contains the basic details of the guest at the hotel. Typically, the access number will be the only easily identifiable data that is stored in the cards.
The hotel desk staff will imprint the information of the guest when you check in and typically set the time frame to use the card until check-out. The door lock for the key card is activated once the magnetic strip has been recognized and confirmed by the hotel’s entrance card reader. In general the process of accessing the card can be completed by sliding the card into the reader.
Hotel Key Card Myths
The most popular myths regarding the cards’ key features are related to the information they store. For instance, many think that these cards hold sensitive information of the user like financial or personal information.
But the reality is that most hotel key cards contain only the room number and date of the stay. While key cards are associated with a few risks, specific financial data isn’t the only one. The additional information that is stored on a key card can be broken in four elements of information:
- Room number
- Date on which access was granted
- Date on which access was removed
- Number of the guest (on occasions)
Key cards for hotels are access cards that have the lowest amount of stored data, thus limiting the possibility of abuse. However, this doesn’t shield users from having their card stolen or lost, but it does allow someone else to access their rooms prior to an incident being identified. This kind of security breach is more significant than the risk of the information stored on the card being decoded.
Although hotel keys aren’t entirely safe from misuse, the latest security regulations for data protection stop this from occurring. It is important to keep in mind that not all geographical areas have the same privacy regulations. If you’re travelling abroad such as in Europe your credit card can be used to store financial information including credit card numbers.
Another risk that could be related to key cards which aren’t classed as myths of key cards are those that arise from third-party vendors that are integrated in one guest management software. But these systems are founded on strict rules of compliance, which means security breaches aren’t something to be expected.
Alternatives To Hotel Key Cards
The technology used in the majority of hotel keys provides the greatest protection of door hangers against homes. However these cards that are being increasingly utilised in hotels aren’t as easy to reset or be read like mag stripe cards and are a great alternative to hotel key cards.
Mag stripe cards are used to record and store information based on the principle of encryption. It is necessary to use decoding readers to be able to read the data in the cards. The ISO standard practice stores information on three tracks of the magnetic strip. However, hotel lock systems employ an exclusive encoding pattern to encode information in the 3rd track.
Another option of hotel keycards is NFC technology that is integrated to mobile phones. Hotel guests receive a passcode from the hotel’s management. They have access to their rooms by either carrying an NFC phone feature near an NFC reader or by typing the code into an access code. This method is relatively new and not widely used.