How Do Hotel Door Locks Work?

While specific hotel door lock systems may vary by hotel, chances are they use one of the following hotel room door locks:

  • Magnetic Door Locks
  • Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) Door Locks

While both options are still widely popular today, RFID hotel door locks are becoming more prevalent for their ease of use, updated security, and keyless solutions.

Magnetic vs. RFID

Each door locking system controls door access, but the ways in which the magnetic and RFID door locks grant access differ entirely.

Magnetic Key Card Door Lock System

Access control magnetic door locks have been around for years because these locks are user-friendly and an inexpensive option. Utilizing the same basic technology as credit cards, this style of hotel room door lock uses two components:

  1. Magnetic key card
  2. Door card reader

The key card uses a magnetic stripe that contains information that grants access to a particular hotel room door lock. Typically, this information is pretty basic, including a user access number, dates of approved access, and room number—which is programmed by the hotel upon arrival, according to GetKisi.com.

When the hotel guest inserts or swipes the magnetic key card into their key slot, it quickly sends its unique card information to the hotel’s card reader, verifies that the user information matches the user who has authorized access to the room and communicates with the lock to grant access.

While magnetic key card door locks are an affordable option for hotels, they do have some disadvantages:

  • The magnetic strip is prone to wear and damage, as is the card reader.
  • It’s easy to lose, making security more vulnerable.
  • Inexpensive devices can easily hack these cards affecting security

RFID Hotel Door Lock System

RFID hotel door locks offer hotels and guests more options than traditional magnetic key card door locks. RFID technology is widely used in various industries for tracking inventory and controlling access. When used for hotel room access, RFID door locks utilize a combination of the following components, depending on the system:

  • RFID door lock card reader
  • RFID key card or key fob
  • Mobile device
  • Bluetooth compatible smart device (i.e. smartwatch, etc.)

The RFID locking system does not require users to insert or swipe a card. Instead, it uses proximity and radio frequencies to communicate with the RFID reader on the door. Containing similar information as magnetic key cards, hotels program RFID key card, or smart device access when a guest checks in. When waved in front of the card reader, the key card or smart device quickly communicates the user’s info with the door lock reader, verifies authorized access, and unlocks the door to the user.

This ongoing technology used in RFID locking systems offers hotels many advantages:

  • Smart device access improves security.
  • It is not necessary to have a physical card that can be easily lost.
  • If RFID cards are used, they are more durable.
  • With no swiping or insertion, it eliminates wear and tear to the reader.
  • It can be programmed to allow or restrict access to hotel amenities and other access points.

GoKeyless Can Help Secure Your Business

Our expert staff at GoKeyless offers top security solutions for your business. With several level-one-certified RFID locks available, like our sleek Saflok QuantumIV lock, you can be sure to select a hotel door lock system that makes key management and guest access easy and secure, and find the right fit for your needs, budget, and guests!