A mobile key is the digital version of a hotel room key. It’s dematerialised version on the guest’s smartphone simplifies the guest’s journey, whilst also making it easier for hotel staff to carry out their daily work. But still, it also needs to be integrated into the overall guest experience to ensure a smooth journey.
Tip n°1 : The mobile key must be an integral part of dematerialised guest journey
To truly make life easier for the guest, the mobile key is not enough on its own. It must be part of a whole series of things to make the guest journey as smooth as possible.
This involves facilitating administrative procedures and processes such as mobile check-in and check-out. You can also allow your guests to order room service or other hotel services from their smartphone. A study by Zebra Technologies found that 70% of guests want to use their mobile phone to speed up check-in or access to hotel services.
What is a dematerialised guest journey?
Some essential steps to ensure a high quality mobile experience for guests:
- having access to an instantaneous means of contact with the reception (chat, SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger…)
- being able to complete administrative procedures before the trip
- being able to easily access and order hotel services from their room (room service, spa, gym, laundry, bar, etc.)
- having the list of the hotel’s recommendations with them (restaurants, points of interest, itineraries, etc.)
- being able to pay for their stay as simply as possible
- Read more on the dematerialised guest journey
Tip n°2 : The mobile key must be integrated in the hotel’s mobile app
The biggest challenge that comes with smart locks is having the guest download the mobile application, which is necessary to be able to use Bluetooth® technology and register the mobile key on the guest’s smartphone. However, the guest will be less inclined to download the application if it is only to open their door. On the other hand, they will be more likely to download it if it is used for their entire stay!
Tip n°3 : The guest must be told how to use the mobile key
The guest must be told that they will receive their key on their smartphone and will be able to use it for their entire stay. The guest has probably never used a mobile key before, therefore it is necessary to tell them how to use it and explain its advantages.
In general, it is essential that the guest is properly introduced to the application to be aware of its features and benefits to enhance their stay, and to ensure that they will consider using it. The mobile key is only one of the features of the application, but it deserves special attention as it is not yet widely known.
This process involves sending an automatic email in advance to inform the guest of the aforementioned and, on the day of arrival, a reminder by SMS to redirect them directly to the key generation system and indicate that their room is ready for them.
Tip n°4 : The mobile key must be easy to access
Retrieving a mobile key must be as easy as possible for the guest so as not to discourage them during the recuperation process, while at the same time ensuring secure encryption and making the process secure. The challenge of this type of highly secure process is to protect this sensitive data without jeopardising the guest experience. The most effective and secure way to do this today is through double authentication, a process used by online payment platforms.
The key should also be easily accessible throughout the stay. The guest should not have to scroll through the application, but rather be able to access their key in a maximum of two clicks (counting the opening of the application).
Finally, as wi-fi and mobile network coverage are often very unstable and unreliable in hotel corridors, it is important that the guest can access their mobile key without being connected to the internet. This is just the case with a Bluetooth® mobile key, which does not need wi-fi or mobile data connection to use (but does require an internet connection to download).
Bonus : The mobile key can open other doors
The mobile key can open other doors in the hotel as well as the guest’s room door! Depending on the hotel’s facilities, it can control the lift and allow access to: the meeting rooms or working spaces, the car park, the hotel gym, the spa, the lockers, or any other structure within the hotel.
Thus, it is not only aimed at traditional hotels and can facilitate access to ski residences, flats or aparthotels, bungalows or chalets in a campsite or any other type of accommodation equipped with a smart lock.
In summary, the mobile key is a great tool for facilitating both the guest journey and operational work of the hotel teams, but it needs to be integrated into a global dynamic to improve the entire guest journey. This includes facilitating communication between guests and the hotel in order to properly transmit information on the use of and access to the mobile key.