The electronic key cards that have become standard in hotels with wireless hotel room keys across the globe are so prevalent that it’s easy to forget how they work. Most of us insert the card into the door lock and turn the knob without a second thought.
But a lot is happening behind the scenes to ensure that your key card opens your hotel room door. Let’s look at a quick overview of how wireless hotel room key cards work.
The Three Components of a Card
The electronic hotel key card system uses three main components: the card reader, the central computer system, and the door lock.
The card reader is usually near the entrance to the hotel. When you first arrive at the hotel, you’ll give your information to the front desk clerk, who will then provide you with a key card.
They encode the wireless hotel room keys with your room number, your name, and other information like how long your stay is. When you insert your key card into the door lock, the door lock sends a signal to the card reader, and the reader then sends a signal to the central computer system.
The central computer system will then verify that your key card is valid and that you have access to the room you’re trying to enter. If everything checks out, the computer system will send a signal back to the door lock, telling it to open.
Difference Between Magstripe Keys and RFID Keys
There are two main types of hotel key cards: magstripe keys and RFID keys. Magstripe keys are the older of the two. They work by storing your information on a magnetic stripe on the back of the key card.
On the other hand, RFID keys store your information in a microchip embedded in the key card.
RFID keys are becoming increasingly popular because they offer several advantages over magstripe keys.
For one, RFID keys are much more challenging to duplicate. This difficulty is helpful because it helps to prevent fraud and keep your information safe. Another advantage of RFID keys is that they don’t require physical contact to work. Guests appreciate this feature, especially if their hands are busy with luggage.
Proximity cards and key fobs are other RFID keys you can often find, though they have some differences as well.
Hotel Room Keys on Your Phone
In some cases, you may be able to use your smartphone as a wireless hotel room keys. Many modern Apple phone models can store RFID keys in the Apple Wallet app, allowing your phone to become the key.
Other hotels are starting to offer apps that can work as hotel room keys as well. For example, the Marriott Hotels app allows you to store your room key on your phone.
Understanding how hotel key cards work can help you take full advantage of their features and make your stay more enjoyable. We don’t always appreciate these pieces of tech, but they make life much more convenient.