Beyond the Keyring: 6 Types of Next Level Hotel Key Cards

Hotel Key Cards01

Centuries ago, taverns and inns used warded locks to secure their room doors. Some utilized simpler versions, such as wooden bars. This idea simply explains that the locking mechanism before was much different from that of today.

The evolution of keycards reflects the effort of hotels to keep guests safe and satisfied. As observed, hotels nowadays use a more advanced security system for their rooms. They ditched the traditional lock-and-key for hotel key cards.

Hotel keycards serve as the gateway to your guests’ temporary home and set the tone for their entire experience. Why don’t you join us in discovering the right type of hotel keycard? This way, you’ll leave a lasting good impression.

Grab your virtual key and unlock the six types of next-level hotel key cards!


Importance of Hotel Key Cards

Importance of Hotel Key Cards

Hotel key cards offer convenience and security for hotel guests. These plastic cards may be small, but they hold great power. They are responsible for granting guests access to their rooms and specific amenities within the hotel. In addition, they provide fast check-in and check-out at the front desk, minimizing the waiting time.


What’s good about hotel key cards is that they are less prone to duplication and unauthorized access than traditional metal keys. Using modern hotel key cards is much safer because they are easily monitored. With the help of smart card systems and RFID technology, guests can sleep tight without worrying about break-ins.


The Way Key Cards Work

The Way Key Cards Work

What are keycards?

Keycards, sometimes known as access cards, are small plastic cards often used by hotels and resorts to give guests access. Typically, keycards hold encoded information like magnetic stripes, RFID chips, or smart chips.


The information is read whenever you tap your card into an electronic lock system. After verifying it, you can enter a designated area without stress or hassle.

For the keycard system to work, the following components must be present.


Three components of Key Card System


1. Keycards

Keycards are the plastic cards you hand out to guests upon check-in. They usually contain the holy grail for quick-and-easy access. Once the encoded information on these cards is authenticated, holders can freely access specific areas such as guest rooms, elevators, or restricted facilities.


2. Card Readers

The second component you’ll need is card readers. These electronic devices are installed on doors, elevators, or access points throughout the hotel. They are designed to connect with keycards to open doors. Depending on the type of keycard system you select, card readers may require swiping, waving, tapping, or inserting your keycard.


3. Control System

All components of the key card system are equally important. However, the brain is the control system. It is the central hub of all processes, such as managing and controlling keycard access permissions.

The control system cannot function without software and hardware components. The software stores and processes keycard data, manages access levels, and checks log access. The hardware, on the other hand, protects the internal element of the reader.


How do keycards work?

How do keycards work

If you ever wonder how complicated keycards work, we’ve broken it down for you to understand!

1. Encoding Information

Every keycard may hold an RFID or smart chip, a magnetic stripe, or other technology that stores secured data. The data usually includes a unique identifier for cardholders to access areas the system administrator permits.

2. Presentation to Card Reader

The second process involves presenting your key card to the card reader. When you wish to enter a space, you can simply tap, swipe, insert, or wave your keycard to a card reader. The reader is mounted on a door, an elevator, or other access points.


3. Reading and Verification

The encrypted code will be read after securing an interaction between the keycard and the reader. The reader will prevent unauthorized break-ins if your keycard is not granted access to a space.

4. Authentication Process

For the safety of the hotel guests, card readers are designed to verify keycards thoroughly. The database holds personal information about authorized cardholders and access permissions.

5. Granting Access

Once your keycard’s encoded data matches the database’s, the card reader sends a signal to unlock your door. This means that the cardholder is granted access to a secured area.

6. Logging Access Events

In simple words, keycard systems take note of important data. They have a record of the keycard system’s log access events, such as date, time, and location of attempts. The logs provide important information for security monitoring, auditing, and tracking of activities.


6 Types of Hotel Key Cards


1 :Traditional Magnetic Stripe Keycards

Traditional Magnetic Stripe Keycards

The first type of hotel keycard we’ll tackle is the traditional magnetic stripe keycard. It serves as the pioneer in keycards. It functions by storing encoded information on a magnetic stripe at the back of the card.


2: RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) Keycards

RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) Keycards

In summary, RFID  (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology uses electronic fields to function. Through magnetic waves, tags attached to objects are automatically identified.

In the context of keycards, RFID keycards contain a small RFID chip. The chip or tag emits radio signals when interacting with an RFID reader. The signals make the whole process of access control over a space smooth and possible.


3. Smart Cards

3.Smart Cards

Smart cards follow the standard size of a credit card. They contain embedded microprocessors and memory chips. Such chips allow smart cards to store and process data safely. In addition to this, it lets them perform various functions beyond simple identification.

Smart card technology is not limited to access controls. It has adopted a wide range of applications in banking, healthcare, and transportation.


When it comes to keycards, smart cards offer strong security features compared to traditional keycards. Thus, they are the most popular choice for access control systems in hotels.


4:Mobile Key Technology

4.Mobile Key Technology

Most people cannot leave their homes without tagging their smartphones. Admit it—you’re guilty of this, too! Mobile phones offer convenience and accessibility to their users.


It is one of the ideas that gave birth to the mobile key technology. It lets you use your smartphone as a virtual keycard for a long time. Instead of a traditional keycard, you’ll utilize your phone to unlock doors and access your hotel room.


This technology works with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or Near Field Communication (NFC). It facilitates the connection of your smartphone with the electronic door lock. During the guest’s check-in, the hotel gives them a digital key.


To ensure user safety, the digital key is stored on your smartphone. It is only activated when you are far from your assigned room. Phone proximity is what triggers the authentication process that unlocks your door wirelessly.


Integration with smartphones and apps:

The hotel provides an app for smartphone use. You may download the app, register your details, and automatically receive the digital key upon check-in.

Security considerations:

Security is a serious matter and consideration for mobile key technology. Phones are prone to hacking and security risks. To avoid these, the system employs authentication methods and data protection measures. These actions will prevent unauthorized access from being pushed through.


Aside from the hotel’s secure actions, phone owners must also stay vigilant. Always be alert to prevent your device from being stolen.



5. Biometric Keycards

5.Biometric Keycards

Biometric keycards combine traditional keycard technology with biometric authentication methods. This is to provide enhanced security and convenience to guests. Biometric authentication usually uses unique physiological traits like fingerprints, iris patterns, or facial features. It requires the traits above to verify your identity.


Biometric keycards, on the other hand, contain embedded sensors that capture biometric data from the cardholder. Others may find this type of hotel keycard a hassle. You still need to provide a biometric sample when you present your keycard to the reader. Once your biometric data is proven to match the one stored on the card, your access is granted.


6: Hybrid Keycard Systems

Hybrid Keycard Systems

Hybrid keycard systems combine multiple technologies. They use complex authentication methods to provide flexible access control. They leverage the strengths of different technology systems to create the best product.


One of the strengths of this system is its future-proofing design. It is because they can accommodate new technology every time one emerges.




Gone are the days of wooden bars and metal keys. In their place, innovative keycard systems secure and enhance our overall hotel experience.


The importance of the types of keycards must be balanced. With the rise of smart card systems, RFID technology, mobile key solutions, biometric authentication, and hybrid keycard systems, hotels are now embracing a new level of security and convenience.


During your next hotel stay, you will remember how powerful your small key card is. Whether a traditional magnetic stripe keycard or a cutting-edge hybrid system, each keycard promises safety.


So, go ahead and unlock the door where security meets convenience! Now, it’s your turn to look beyond the keyring and better understand the 6 Types of Next Level Hotel Key Cards!


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