With a fresh wave of hotels planned in London, it is more important than ever that hotel owners stay ahead of the market and provide innovative access control solutions that improve the customer experience. Here, Tim Checketts, head of development & specification at dormakaba explains what should be considered.
There has been a significant investment in hotel development, with more than 200 new hotels planned in London alone due to an expected surge in tourism. According to recent figures published by Knight Frank, London continues to bolster a strong pipeline of hotels, with supply set to rise 4.5% in 2020 and the UK hotel market to grow by 2.9% for the full year in 2019.
With a range of luxury and boutique hotels in development, it is crucial that current hoteliers future-proof their current assets to ensure they are ahead of the game in offering innovative access solutions.
So what should be considered?
Before selecting a specific product to support guest access, hotel owners should firstly consider working with a single manufacturer and supplier that can offer a total solution – from front entrance to bedroom and everything in between. Hoteliers will benefit from this end-to-end approach with systems that are cross-compatible, and therefore designed and tested to work together. In addition, having designed the systems, the manufacturer is in the best position to ensure they are correctly installed.
Working with one provider eliminates the need for hotel owners to project manage installation or maintenance between multiple suppliers and manufacturers, which can incur delays and confusion. Not only could this leave rooms, and therefore profit, out of action, it also detracts the hotel owner from the running of the hotel. Happily, a complete solution can help reduce these risks and can deal with an issue swiftly without the need to negotiate with other suppliers.
Of course, hotel owners will be concerned about any potential downtime or rooms being out of commission whilst locks are installed or retrofitted. Leading manufacturers will be able to provide wireless RFID (Radio-frequency identification) locks that are ideal for retrofit projects as it provides far less additional work when compared with a wired system. In addition, a reputable installation team will be able to work in partnership with the hotel design team to ensure the locks are finished to the high and luxurious standards that complement interior aesthetics and do not detract from the guest experience. This solution can be applied as either an integrated door handle solution, or standalone card reader.
Furthermore, online RFID networked electronic lock solutions enable operators to remotely program and audit their entire hotel from centralised terminals at the front desk and the security office. Hotel owners can take this further to improve the efficiency of the running of the hotel, by selecting networked solutions that also provide staff with locking-system notifications for low batteries and room clean alerts
Security is naturally the most crucial factor in the specification process. When guests stay in hotel, they stay for comfort and the assurance that they and their possessions left in the room (such as passports and cash) remain safe.
This is where the RFID two-way communication system can contribute to the hotels security system. The technology can send notifications to the reception or security desk about any doors left ajar for an extended period of time. A keycard which has failed on multiple doors triggers an alert as a ‘wandering or standing intruder’, or when multiple cards fail on one door.
This system also allows for simple management of keys by allowing staff to cancel lost keys, extend a guest stay, or change a guest’s room quickly and remotely. In addition, audits can be taken remotely to review keycard usage on specific locks, which can also deter theft committed by hotel employees.
Working with a supplier who understands that technology is advancing at a rapid pace and can provide systems that will adapt to this, is highly beneficial. Many hotels are beginning to adopt mobile access, which allows a smartphone app to unlock the rooms – allowing guests to skip the check-in desk, providing guests with further convenience and flexibility and an improved guest experience.
The Lancaster Landmark Hotel Company has taken these benefits on board and worked closely with a single manufacturer to provide seamless access control for its hotel brands.
The business sought to upgrade the hotel room locks at The Landmark London, Royal Lancaster London and K West Hotel & Spa, which was built in 1899 and underwent its previous full refurbishment in 1993. As part of its 120th anniversary in 2019, the five star hotel has undergone a multi-million-pound refurbishment including upgrading the guest rooms’ access control systems to provide improved functionality and a better user experience for guests.
Following a competitive tender, and the historical use of Kaba locks in the 1993 refurbishment, dormakaba Saflock Qauntum locks were selected as a replacement. This provided a like-for-like replacement of the existing system, but with modern functionality that allowed for secure monitoring and audit options that the Security Manager, Kelvin Nicolay, required. Now, all 300 guest rooms of the hotel benefit from improved security with an improved guest experience in line with the expectations that guests have come to expect from the luxury chain of hotels.
Following the success at The Landmark London, the dormakaba Saflok Quantum system has now been installed at the Royal Lancaster London, and the groups newest property, the contemporary K West Hotel & Spa.
Hoteliers have plenty to consider when it comes to upgrading their hotels, to stay ahead of the curve for customer access requirements. By working with experienced manufacturers and suppliers of innovative solutions, hoteliers need not worry about compromising guest experience and robust security.
For more information about dormakaba, please visit www.dormakaba.co.uk.