Types of Keys used in hotels for effective Key control
When it comes to the guest experience in hotels, the humble hotel key plays a pivotal role. However, as essential as they are, hotel keys can also pose security challenges if not managed meticulously. This blog explores the various types of hotel keys and delves into the importance of robust key control systems to safeguard both guests and the hotel’s integrity.
The hotel guest room key is normally issued to open only one room for which it was intended, viz. individualized key for each lock. If the guest room lock is in shut-out mode the guest room key can neither open it nor lock from outside of the room.
Irrespective of the key type, effective key control is paramount. This involves limiting access to key storage areas, maintaining meticulous records of key issuance, and ensuring prompt key returns after guest checkouts. By implementing stringent key control measures, hotels can prioritize the safety and security of both guests and staff, enhancing the overall guest experience.
Below are a few types of key configurations used in hotels:
- Guest Room Keys
- Master Keys
- Grand Master
- Emergency Keys
- Floor Supervisor Key
- Guest Room Key
A master key is designed to open a set of several locks. These locks also have keys that are specific to each one (the change key) and cannot open any of the others in the set. Locks that have master keys have a second set of the mechanism used to open them which is identical to all of the others in the set of locks.
For example, master keyed pin tumbler locks will have two shear points at each pin position, one for the change key and one for the master key.
Key operates all locks in the Hotel. Including laundry and linen rooms.
The emergency key opens all guestroom doors, even when they are double locked. It can be used, for example, to enter a room when the guest needs help and is unable to reach or open the door. The emergency key should be highly protected and its use strictly controlled and recorded; it should never leave the property.
One procedure for emergency keys is to have them locked in a safe or safe deposit box and signed out by the individual needing one. The log should be dated and signed by the individual taking the key.
Floor Supervisors Master Key :
Key operates all sections on the floor/ floors supervised by the particular supervisor.
Housekeeping Staff Master Key :
- Key operates all rooms serviced by a particular room maid or housekeeping staff.
- Important Key Control Procedures:
- Security of keys is essential from the moment they arrive on site.
- Keys should be stored separately and securely.
- No unauthorized person should be allowed access to any key, either to examine or handle it, since a photograph or impression can be taken in a few seconds and a duplicate subsequently made.
- Keep a logbook of all keys signed out.
- Establish a protocol for the distribution of keys.
- Use keys that do not identify the property’s name, address, logo, or room number.
- Perform an annual key audit
- When keys are lost or stolen, the locks should be changed or rotated to another part of the property.
- Authorized employees should remind guests to return keys at check-out.
- The loss or suspected compromise of a key should be reported immediately and, after due investigation, a decision be made as to whether or not the lock should be changed.
- Place well-secured key return boxes in the lobby, at exit points of the property, and in courtesy vehicles.