Why Hotels Need Mobile Keys via WebApp
The popularity of mobile keys has skyrocketed in recent past years. Given their advantages, that hardly comes out of the blue.
Mobile keys can improve the guest experience and boost loyalty. They simplify hotel operations, reduce staff and material costs all while cutting your plastic waste. Finally, they offer a chance to boost revenue when connecting with the guests’ favorite device, his phone! Not bad right?
Unsurprisingly, demand for mobile keys further increased over the past year since they enable contactless check-in and check-out.
If you’re looking to adopt this technology at your property, you have two main options: Bluetooth or the next generation of mobile keys using the Internet of Things.
Which one is better? The title gives our opinion away, but let’s look at the ‘why’ behind it. Read on to find out how your guests, staff and hotel overall can benefit from the Internet of Things.
What’s what – Bluetooth vs. cloud access systems
First things first, though. Let’s look at what Bluetooth vs. cloud access systems are and how they work. Both allow guests to enter their room without a physical key. Instead, people use their personal device to unlock doors. The difference lies in how these two systems grant access.
Bluetooth-powered mobile keys:
The guest must download an app, be it your hotel’s or the access system’s app. This app creates an encrypted token. When the guest holds their phone close to the lock, the token is communicated from the phone to the hotel lock. The door opens after about two seconds.
Webapp-powered mobile keys:
Guests receive a link as part of the standard confirmation email or via SMS. The webapp opens when they click this link. Then the guest presses the button within the app and the door opens immediately.
Sky-high adoption rates – the main reason to choose webapp-powered mobile keys over Bluetooth
Hoteliers’ reasons for using mobile keys may vary. Whether the goal is to implement contactless service options, streamline operations or reduce labour cost, it’s all possible. However, you only experience these benefits and see a difference in your operation if the adoption rate is high. Your tech’s ease-of-use is the deciding factor here.
Data shows that on average only 2-5% of guests download hotel apps. Reasons include not wanting to install an app for a short stay or not being able to do so on the company phone. Some people may simply not have enough memory on their device, or they don’t want to hassle themselves. However, Bluetooth-powered access systems require an app. This means only very few of your guests would ever use this keyless solution. Consequently, you’re unlikely to see any positive change in your operation or guest experience.
On the other hand, the average adoption rate for webapp-powered access systems reaches up to 80% or more. The reason: not having to download an app and needing only two clicks to open any door. Now, imagine the impact a change in behaviour of 80% of your guests can have on your business!
“Mobile keys have many benefits, including allowing contactless service options, streamlining operations or reducing labour cost. But without a high adoption rate among your guests, you won’t see a difference in your operation or your guest experience.”
Other benefits of webapp vs. Bluetooth mobile keys
Once you enjoy the amazingly high adoption rates of your webapp-powered access system, you’ll start seeing other benefits, too. Here’s our breakdown for you:
1. Improved Guest experience
New hotel tech should always aim to improve your guest’s experience by making the stay smoother and more fun. The simpler the tech solution, the more likely you are to achieve this.
As mentioned, fewer guests will use a Bluetooth-powered access system to begin with. But even those who are keen to try may run into problems. Some may not know how to control their device’s Bluetooth settings. Others may have trouble figuring out how to hold the phone up to the lock, so the connection works. Then there’s the two-second wait for the door to open. All this causes frustration and negatively impacts your guest experience.
With a webapp-powered system, guests can get their access link via their usual email app or a standard SMS. They don’t need advanced knowledge and a tap on the phone is enough to open doors immediately. This creates a smoother experience for your guests and your staff (because they won’t have to troubleshoot). It also allows you to take the final hurdle to offering a fully digital guest experience thanks to the Internet of Things.
2. Staff training and onboarding
The easier your access system is to use for staff, the more it will help them save time and optimise operations. They’ll also be more likely to promote a simpler system to guests, thus further boosting adoption rates.
The team onboarding phase for a webapp-powered system is quick because everything runs in the background. The PMS and access system integrate and send webapp links to guests automatically. Your staff don’t need to do any extra work.
Since Bluetooth-powered systems are more complicated overall, you’d have to invest more time in training and onboarding your team. Then comes the time to explain the download, registration and mobile key to guests. This costs much more time than simply asking guests to click a webapp link in their email and tap a button to open doors.
“The easier your new tech solutions are for staff and guests, the higher your adoption rates
and the more benefits you’ll see at every level of your business.”
Security is a key point all hotels want to offer their guests. While both Bluetooth and webapp-based mobile keys do their best to provide maximum security, there are differences.
The Bluetooth solution stores a token on the guest’s phone which is sent to the door to unlock it. This direct communication and data transfer can create a security risk. The webapp-based mobile key on the other hand stores no data on the device. Instead of sending a direct signal between the phone and the lock, everything runs via the cloud which increases security.
4. Future readiness
Changing your access system is a massive investment. And then there’s always the question whether it’ll still be relevant in a few years.
Webapp-based mobile keys use a cloud-based system. This automatically updates all devices property-wide as they’re linked via the Internet of Things. This always keeps your security and tech up-to-date. The cloud technology also simplifies integration with other apps via an open API and offers more options to change directions in the future.
A Bluetooth-based solution isn’t connected to the cloud, so you don’t get automatic system updates. You’re also locked into your choice and might have to start all over again when the next new access system development comes along.
Infographic for your visual convenience
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Are you ready for higher adoption rates?
While mobile keys have many benefits for hotels, the adoption rate among your guests will determine whether you actually see these benefits at your property.
The most efficient technology won’t save your team time if nobody is using it. The same goes for improving the guest experience – there will only be a positive change if travellers use your new tech.
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