In the era of automation, hotels are striving to become more and more innovative and technological. And modern management systems help them in it. One of such solutions is the installation of electronic locks. Today it is no longer just a lock, but a whole system of control and management for the hotel. In this article, we have collected answers to questions that hoteliers may have before implementing an electronic lock system in their hotel.
The essence of the technology
Electronic locks are not just a part of the locking mechanism, but also part of the hotel's control and management system. Today they are an integral part of the hotel. At least 90% of new hotels in Ukraine use electronic locks, this statistic also includes properties of the Ribaschain. In addition, most of the objects of the old generation are trying to reconstruct and implement this technology.
It is noteworthy that electronic lock systems are constantly evolving. Once magnetic cards were used for opening, then contactless cards and bracelets, now the key is often a mobile application or a digital code that the guest automatically receives when booking a room. Over the past year alone, the share of the introduction of online locks in hotels has increased by 50% compared to all previous years. The use of a smartphone by guests instead of a key is undoubtedly a positive experience, which also attracts a new audience of guests to the hotel.
So, the advantages of using electronic locks for the hotel manager:
- full control over the operation of the hotel from anywhere in the world;
- the ability to quickly respond to a conflict situation,(instantly block or grant access to certain persons in remote mode);
- ability to control check-ins and staff actions.
Advantages for the guest:
- convenience, since you can use your smartphone instead of a key;
- autonomy, in which there is no need to wait for registration at the reception.
It is important to note that electronic lock systems are applicable to absolutely any accommodation facilities. This can be a large five-star hotel, a small apartment hotel or private apartments. The main function that electronic locks perform is the ability to control, and it is necessary for all objects.
Svetlana Shkolnikova, the owner and director of Omnitec Systems, gave an example of the experience of installing electronic locks for a large apartment hotel: «We recently introduced electronic locks for an apartment hotel in Georgia for 10,000 apartments that have their own owners. So, the management company controls the business, but each apartment owner can now remotely monitor how things are going in the property, give or block access, and control the settlements».
As Svetlana Shkolnikova says, there are also small hotels without reception in the portfolio of their projects. «In such hotels, electronic locks literally replace the staff. An electronic reader or lock is usually installed on the entrance door, which can be opened using a mobile application, a card or a digital code. When booking a room, the guest gets access to the front door of the hotel and directly to his room in the form of a link to a mobile application or a digital code that is automatically generated by the program. Thus, the guest independently books, checks in and uses the services of the hotel within the allotted period. When the date expires, the keys get blocked. So, the manager/administrator does not need to be in the hotel, since he can control all the processes remotely,» the expert shared.
How profitable is it?
In fact, electronic locks, as well as CRM and PMS systems, are an absolutely necessary tool and hotels sooner or later come to this. If we discard the reputational moment and simply calculate the costs and payback, we see that the funds invested in the installation of electronic locks are returned within the first year of operation simply due to the impossibility of "dishonest" check-ins. Thus, the control provided by electronic locks and the control system makes it impossible for guests to move in or hide the settlement from the owner, which ultimately allows you to make a real profit. And energy-saving devices, which are also part of the system, significantly save the hotel's energy costs.
In addition, the use of online locks can significantly reduce staff costs. This is especially true for seasonal hotels. The presence of such systems makes it possible not to close the hotel in the low season, but to continue to make a profit, while significantly reducing the staff. This advantage was appreciated by the facilities with the arrival of the crisis as a result of the pandemic.
Is it easy to master the technology?
Today, there are more and more guests who are happy to use the application instead of a physical key card. Several factors contribute to this:
- every year, the audience of travelers is only getting younger, so the use of gadgets in the hotel is an additional positive experience for guests who are used to not letting go of smartphones;
- a pandemic that accelerated digitalization in business. The use of applications, in turn, allows you to limit contacts with the staff at the hotel or even completely exclude them.
For example, the convenience of the Upkey guest mobile key, which is used in the Omnitec Systems, is undeniable. The hotel enters its contact numbers, messengers, geo-location into the application and the guest, having installed this application, can contact the reception with one click, or find the hotel's geo-location if he suddenly gets lost. And he can perform all these actions on an intuitive level.
In addition, there are models of electronic locks that can be opened simultaneously not only with the help of an application, but also with a digital code and a card, so the guest can always choose which opening principle to use.
As for the convenience of the technology for the hotel staff, the electronic lock system, especially the online system – is simply an indispensable and intuitive control tool. For example, the OS ACCESS management platform from Omnitec Systems is located in the cloud, which allows the manager to access the management program from anywhere in the world. Also, all its functionality is duplicated in the mobile application of the Upkey manager, so the owner literally «carries his hotel in his pocket».
How to implement an electronic lock in the interior?
Hoteliers are used to the fact that electronic locks are a handle on a rectangular bar, which often looks quite bulky and does not fit into the interior. However, modern locks look quite different.
For example, in the assortment of Omnitec Systems there is a model of a lock in which all its parts (batteries, mechanics, electronics) are hidden in the mortise part, which is mounted in the door leaf. From the outside, we see only the handle, and it doesn't have to be attached to any particular one, but you can choose it to your taste. Thus, the electronic lock becomes a part of the interior, because you can order a handle in a certain style, use it also in bathrooms and other rooms, maintaining a cohesive style.
What does Omnitec Systems offer?
In Ukraine, Omnitec Systems represents the Spanish factory Omnitec Systems SL, which has been specializing in hotel access control systems for about 20 years.
Unique characteristics of Omnitec Systems electronic locks:
- With BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and Mifare technologies the guest can open the room with a smartphone or a contactless card/bracelet.
- Online mode that provides full remote control of check-ins, bookings, movement of staff and guests, remote control access to each room.
- Access control to elevators, stairwells, entrance doors and staff rooms, as well as integration with fire alarms.
- There is no need to pull cables or use expensive servers to operate an online system. The locks are autonomous and battery-powered, and the system is based on an internal Wi-Fi network, which simplifies and reduces the cost of its integration into the hotel.
- High quality locks made of AISI 304 or AISI 316 stainless steel, IP 56 certification and fire protection certificates.
- The possibility of using locks in various weather conditions.
According to Svetlana Shkolnikova, today the most popular are electronic locks that work in online mode. The online system consists of several components: software, a mobile application, online gateways and a lock itself.
The most popular electronic locks in Omnitec Systems are EVO, SLIM and FLAT.
Electronic lock EVO
A unique characteristic of this model is its absolute minimalism. All EVO mechanisms (mortise lock, electronics, batteries, reader) are hidden in the door leaf, only the handle remains visible.
SLIM electronic lock
SLIM is a new model that combines all the best characteristics of various electronic lock systems. It can be easily installed on any doors, including paneled or narrow-profile metal-plastic ones.
Electronic lock FLAT
This model is distinguished by the presence of a numeric keypad on the front panel of the lock. That is, in addition to the card and the mobile application, the guest can also open the lock with a code. This model is very popular among small apartment hotels without a reception or only with a day reception, as well as apartments.
All the listed lock models are part of the Omnitec Systems online system and they can be combined on one object. So, using Omnitec Systems electronic locks, the hotel gets full control over each room and area, as well as a wonderful addition to the interior, which emphasizes its uniqueness and adds attractiveness for guests.
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