Hotel Door Locks. How to choose the best one

Hotel Door Locks. How to choose the best one

Hotel door lock system: how it works

Safety has always played a significant role in hotels. However, a traditional security lock has a weak spot - the key. If it is lost, the finder can get access quickly. In addition, the lock replacement is expensive.

Nowadays, electronic door locks, also called electric, are used in hotels as a practical alternative. They work with a PIN, chip card, fingerprint or app. In the hotel industry, the use of electronic locking systems is becoming increasingly popular.

If you plan to purchase a locking system for your hotel, you will find useful tips below that might help you make the right choice.

Mechatronic locking systems

What locking systems are there?

In general, they fall into three categories: mechanical, mechatronic and completely electronic.

Mechanical door locks

These are the simplest systems. They can have different lock cylinder mechanisms, e.g., with reversible or spanner keys.

In the hotel industry, the good old key is now rarely used.

Mechatronic locking systems

This version combines mechanical and electronic components.

The door is mechanically locked but can be accessed with a numerical code, a smart card, a transponder, and biometric identification features, such as the iris or the fingerprint.

* FYI: The word 'transponder' originates from the terms 'transmitter' and 'responder' and means a wireless communication device that receives incoming signals and automatically responds or forwards them.


• Higher flexibility compared to purely mechanical solutions.
• Lock permission can be changed or denied quickly.
• Most systems are easily expandable and can be further retrofitted.
• It is possible to grant lock access for a defined period.
• Some systems keep an event log.
• Replacement keys can be programed if necessary.

Electronic (or digital) locking systems

RFID locking system

1. RFID locking system

RFID stands for 'radio-frequency identification' and means recognition through electromagnetic waves. The contactless transmitter-receiver system identifies objects and people with radio waves. It can be used with an electronic door lock. For this purpose, a chip is coded and built into a small transponder, placed on the door. The authorization check is carried out by data transfer via the radio frequency. Depending on the provider, the guest's transponder can look like a key fob, card, special bracelet, etc.

The RFID locks are already widely used in hotels because the code cards can be reprogrammed for each guest.

Advantages Disadvantages
• Full-time control over the door;
• Individual programmability;
• Suitable for disabled people with physical limitations;
• Low level of vulnerability.
• High cost compared to an ordinary lock;
• In case of a power failure, an RFID lock cannot be opened.

2. Code lock with PIN

This type of locks can be accessed if the correct sequence of digits is entered on a keypad or touchpad. The input field is usually attached to a wall at a maximum of 50 cm from the code lock. The software allows recording the time of access, among other things. Compared to touchpads, keypads are splash-proof, have a smaller surface area and are thus less vulnerable.

Advantages Disadvantage
• You can pass the PIN easily:
• Multi-user access:
• Possibility to use several PINs;
• Splash-proof;
• Low level of vulnerability.
Unauthorized persons can get the code and enter

3. Lock with a chip card

Electric door locks with a sensor and a chip card are wide-spread in hotels. First of all, they can be easily reprogrammed. Another factor that makes them increasingly attractive for hoteliers is the ease of use both for guests and hotel employees.

Advantages Disadvantage
• Perfect for many users;
• Chip cards can be passed on;
• Easy reprogramming.
Unfortunately, cards can be lost

4. Lock with smartphone control

The locking system with smartphone app control is still relatively new. The door can be opened via Bluetooth. However, guests must always carry smartphones with them and keep the battery charged.

Advantages Disadvantage
• Fast check-in;
• PMS integration;
• Easy door opening with a mobile phone;
• Different app functions;
• Multi-user access.
• Wireless connection is absolutely necessary;
• Availability of a smartphone with a charged battery.

Well-known brands and manufacturers of electronic door locks: Abus, Burg Wächter, Nuki, Homematic, TSE, Danalock.

How to choose a door lock for your hotel?

With a great variety of options on the market, you should consider the following factors:

1. Type of credentials

Key Cards or Numeric Codes?

Using numeric codes for each door can lead to various complications, such as the need to change them frequently after each stay. Also, guests often forget the code they were assigned.

Hotel Key Cards can be used by guests during their stay and returned on departure. It is better than having to change the codes every time a customer checks out.

Smart Cards

2. The type of key card

RFID Cards, Magnetic Cards, Smart Cards?

The RFID cards are very popular. The smart cards are a high-frequency version with much larger storage capacity.

3. The type of access control

Consider your access requirements. For example, with cloud-based systems, you can change access settings from anywhere.

4. The type of entry control

• Fail-safe - the system unlocks the door when the power is cut;
• Fail-secure - the system unlocks the door when the power is applied.

We believe that our overview of hotel door locking systems will help you to make the right choice. But no matter what you choose, it could be perfectly compatible with our Hotel Management Software to handle room access easily. Contact us and get professional consulting.

Public relations: Ralph Eichelberger

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