How Mobile Access Implementation Changed the Hotel Industry
By Alastair Cush Head of Global Lodging Business Development, Kaba | January 22, 2017
A growing number of properties are implementing mobile access guest room locking systems and the apps that support them. Many chain standards mandate mobile access and independents are joining the trend. What few operators understand is that mobile access implementation has changed not only every aspect of hotel door locks but also many other areas of hospitality operations. More people are actively involved in the decision making process for hotel locks than before. Mobile access has integrated the lock process with numerous property and chain departments from sales to guest loyalty and brand marketing. The original purpose of improving guest door locks was exclusively loss prevention and security. Today, mobile access expands the door lock role to include ‘enhancing the guest experience,’ hotel marketing, and loyalty program participation. Prior to mobile access, lock companies had relationships with hotel engineers, property management system (PMS) providers, hotel security departments, and construction teams. Now, with hospitality mobile access technology a reality, door lock companies have expanded their relationships to include brand marketing and innovation executives, IT managers, and app development companies. This paper describes how mobile access has changed nearly every aspect of what used to be a simple process of providing a secure guest room door lock.
Mobile access represents the biggest change in hotel technology today. Why? Because it transforms a basic property item, a guest door lock, into a complex multi-discipline technology integration process that combines property and chain technical expertise with a high degree of 3rd-party vendor cooperation. The transition affects nearly all segments of the hospitality industry because every major chain is installing or mandating mobile access systems.
In the past, a hotel room doors simply had to be secure and provide reliable access for guests. Now, mobile access door locks play an important role in chain marketing, loyalty programs, and the overall guest experience. Before a guest is able to open a room with their smartphone, a great deal of work is done behind the scenes to integrate multiple systems and processes.
Door Locks: New Stakeholders. New Vendor Relationships.
For many years door lock companies have been hardware providers. They built, installed and supported mechanical door lock equipment. But today’s lock companies are integrated solutions providers. Mobile access has changed the basic reasons for door locks and the role they play in operations and marketing. The changes extend to a larger family of stakeholders required for door lock selection and installation, and the necessity for a completely new set of tech vendor relationships for implementation and support.
Expanded Role for Door Locks
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