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SOP – How to control guest room keys in Front Office

SOP Number: FO-10 ( SOP serial number and department code )

Department: Front Office – General


Time to Train: 60 Minutes

Purpose: It is the duty and responsibility of the front desk staff to ensure the right guest is given the key to his room and his safety and security pertaining to issuance of key is not compromised or violated during his stay in the hotel.

Front Desk Agent should never give keys, room numbers, messages, parcels or mails to any person without first requiring appropriate identification.

For Security reason hotels uses at least three types of keys, Emergency Key, Master key and guest room keys. Types of keys used may vary hotel by hotel but the process of handling them remains pretty much the same.

When Guest Request for room key:

1. Request for Guest’s last name and room number.

2. Cross check the information given against by guest against the reservation details on the hotel software (PMS).

3. If there any mismatch is the details provided then request for any valid photo identification like passport, Driving license, government ID cards etc.

Do not handover the room keys without proper authentication of the guest identity.

4. If no picture identification is available by the guests, the Front office assistant must accompany the guests to the room to confirm the identity. When being challenged by our actions, we are to inform the guest: 

“We are doing this for your security and safety. We appreciate your understanding.”

5. Only in an emergency situation can we use the information on the guest passport number, date of birth, address given to the hotel on arrival etc. to ascertain against computer’s record.

6. When in doubt with the identity and guest refused to be escorted to room, inform the Front office manager immediately.

If the Team Leader or Assistant Manager – Front Office could recognize the guest, give the duplicate key to the guest while reinforcing politely why we need to perform the identity check.

7. Check if guest requires additional key or if he has lost his previous key.

8. If guest requests additional key, program a new key with duplicate code.

9. If guest has lost his previous key, program a key with new code.

10. Present the new key to the guest

Keys must never be issued to persons claiming to have the guest’s permission to enter the room unless the guest has personally given his /her verbal or written authorisation to the Front Office team.

Room numbers should not be written on the keys in case keys are misplaced. A set of codes are encoded to differentiate keys being held by guests.

On Staff’s request entry into occupied room:

1. Only designated operational staff is allowed access to occupied guest rooms.

They are:

Bellboys, Concierge, Front Desk agents, Housekeeping Manager, Assistant Manager– Housekeeping / Team Leader / Designated Room Attendant and Laundry Attendant, Mini Bar, F&B – Room Service Fruits Deliverer.

2. Key machines should constantly be in ‘log off” mode.

Access code should be known only to those designated personnel and not shared amongst other staff.

3. Cashier may hand over the checked out room key to the bellman to collect luggage and check mini-bar and safe boxes. The bellman must return the used key to the same cashier after removing the luggage from the room.

“Show Room” / Sales mockup rooms Keys

1. On a daily basis, a set of rooms will be blocked off for viewing purposes by the Duty Manager – Front Office.

2. Two sets of keys to these rooms will be programmed and placed at the Front Office Reception for site visit purposes.

3. Staff releasing the site visit keys must inform the receiver to return the keys back to the Reception upon completion.

Training Summary questions:

Q1. What steps to be taken if there is a mismatch in details given by the guest? 

Q2. What to be done while making a duplicate key?            

Q3. What to be done if the guest has lost his key card?

Q4. Why it is important to verify guest details before handing over the key?

Q5. What step to be taken if you feel suspicious about the person collecting the key ?

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Authored and managed by Augustine, a hotelier with over 20 years of experience in the industry. He has a 3-year diploma with 'honors' from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute and a Bachelor of Computer Application - BCA Degree.