Traveling is on the rise. Travelers around the globe are looking for new experiences and another place to cross off their bucket list. While people are traveling, they want to stay in a hotel, motel, resort or inn that enhances their experience. A place to help them create new memories and relax after a long day.
In order to give your guests those one-in-a-lifetime experiences they are looking for, your hotel should be running as efficiently as possible. All of the little details must be carefully considered. Because it's the little details that matter! Simple details that are noticed every day. For a hotel, hotel key cards are that eye-catching tool that guests see every day and can make a huge difference.
There are so many different types of key cards, which can make picking out the right one for you a challenge. Each type of card has different features that are unique to them. Let's take a look at some different kinds of key cards and the differences between them.
Magnetic Stripe Card
We have all seen a magnetic stripe before. Whether it's on a gift card, credit card or a hotel key card, these types of cards are incredibly familiar to most people. But if you are unfamiliar, these cards are commonly known for the black or brown magnetic stripe that lines the back of the card. They are swiped so that the magnetic stripe can be read by a card reader. It's the same as when you swipe a credit card, except when you use them for your hotel you aren't authorizing a purchase. Instead, you are opening a door.
Magnetic stripe cards have been around forever! That's why they have become so common among hotels, motels, inns, and resorts. Even after all this time, this technology is still effective and gets the job done. The only downside of magnetic stripe technology is that in certain circumstances the cards can demagnetize and stop working. In order to prevent this from happening, you can use key card holders or sleeves to help protect the card from the elements to ensure it lasts longer.
The good news is that these type of cards are inexpensive and effective. Even with demagnetization, a magnetic stripe card is going to cost you a lot less in the long run than physical keys. Cost-effectiveness is a major plus for magnetic stripe cards.
Let's take it a step up with smart cards! That just means that the card can be read without physically touching the hotel key card system. Pretty cool, right? This is a relatively new technology that you may have seen before and not even know it. RFID cards are one of the types of smart cards. To fully understand what an RFID card is, we need to break down what RFID means. RFID stands for Radio-Frequency Identification. That means that the cards have little tags inside them that communicate with a reader through radio waves. Eliminating the need to swipe the hotel key card system.
Your guests will be impressed with the powerful RFID technology! It's very convenient because guests can leave their key cards in key card holders or wallets and it can still be read by the hotel key card system. And the technology keeps advancing! Newer RFID cards have the capability of being read from even further away than is possible now. It will be interesting to see how RFID continues to develop over time.
Another advantage of a smart card for entry is security. Unlike a magnetic stripe card, these can't be duplicated easily. Once they are assigned to a room, they can just as quickly be deactivated remotely. Imagine coming back from the beach and realizing that you're missing your key cards. A quick stop at the front desk deactivates the card so it can't be used, and they issue you a new one!
The second type of smart cards is called an NFC card. They are not as well-known by the public, but NFC cards have been gaining popularity. But, what does NFC stand for? It means Near-Field Communication. An NFC card has embedded integrated circuits which can store data and communicate with an electronic device. The NFC technology allows the card to communicate with the hotel key card system without them physically touching. So like RFID cards, the cards don't have to be "swiped" for the card reader to receive access to the room.
Some people also call an NFC card “smart cards” because of their different capabilities. An NFC card could be used for payment, transferring information, storing a coupon to your account or providing you access to facilities. These smart cards can do it all! The technology is really exciting and in a few years, the NFC card will be bigger than ever.
For hotels, NFC cards could be the ultimate marketing tool. That's why so many people are excited about NFC cards, they have capabilities that other cards simply do not. The future is bright for NFC technology, but the present is great too. NFC cards are a excellent way to provide room access to guests. And they're just as, if not more secure than RFID cards.
Which Hotel Key Card Is Right For You?
The future of smart cards is incredibly exciting! Getting in on the growing technology now would put your brand ahead of the curb. But no matter what type of key card you choose, it will get the job done and safely provide guests access to their rooms.