Enhancing Security with Key Control System in Hotels

Key Control System in Hotels

Stolen toiletries, bath sheets, slippers and even silverware in hotels can be considered a bit harmless. These missing amenities, while inconvenient for the hotel, do not put anyone’s security on the line.

But what happens when guests lose thousands of cash, credit cards and other valuables they think are safe inside the hotel room? What happens when you cannot keep track of who has access to equipment, supply rooms, guestroom emergencies and fleet vehicles?

Lost or stolen room keys can be a security nightmare, potentially compromising guest safety and exposing the hotel to liability. Aside from theft, unsecured access may lead to personal safety risks, privacy violations and data breaches, among many others.

This is why the hospitality industry should prioritise implementing robust key control systems. Such a system tracks and restricts employee access, securing all keys in a safe location. This not only deters unauthorised access but also enables management to quickly detect unusual patterns and identify rule violators.

Take a closer look at how key control systems in hotels work, their benefits and how to choose the right hotel key management system

What is a Key Control System In Hotels?

A key control system in hotels refers to the policies and procedures that govern how keys are issued, tracked and stored within the property.

The most common method of key control involves using locks on doors with electronic logging that records when someone enters or exits a room. This way, hotels can monitor the occupancy of a room at any given time, ensuring that no one overstays their reservation.

Moreover, instead of traditional keys, some hotels use electronic key cards that contain an RFID chip. These chips are read by a sensor in the doorframe, and when you approach your room, the door automatically unlocks if you have been granted access by the management system. It speeds up the check-in process compared to waiting for a staff member to unlock your door with a regular key.

How Does a Hotel Key Management System Work?

Hotel key management systems employ both hardware and software to manage access control. Below is a breakdown of their parts and features:

Key Issuance

While traditional hotel operations rely on physical keys distributed at check-ins, most of them have shifted to electronic key cards. These cards, typically containing magnetic stripes or RFID chips, are programmed with a guest’s room number and validity period. Upon receiving the card, the guest can access their designated room and potentially other authorised areas within the hotel, such as fitness centres or business centres. 

One of the recent developments in key issuance is mobile check-in. It allows guests to complete the check-in process through their smartphones or tablets. This typically involves a dedicated hotel app where guests can confirm their arrival details, and in some cases, choose their preferred room. 

By using mobile check-in, guests can avoid queues at the front desk and proceed directly to their rooms upon arrival. The phone itself can then function as a digital key.

Access Control

When it comes to hotel key management, there is a high degree of control over access to various areas of the hotel. This means permissions assigned to electronic keys can be adjusted to specific areas and timeframes. 

For instance, a housekeeping staff member’s key might only grant access to guest rooms during specific cleaning hours.

Additionally, key management often integrates with Property Management Systems (PMS) used by hotels. This integration allows for automatic updates to access permissions based on check-in and check-out statuses. Once a guest checks out, their key is deactivated, preventing unauthorised access to their room.

Monitoring and Security

The system meticulously tracks every key issuance and return, creating a detailed access history. This record can be important in the event of an incident and can assist in investigations. 

It can also be configured to generate automated notifications for any unusual activity, such as unauthorised access attempts. This allows hotel staff to address security concerns promptly. 

The Benefits of Implementing Key Control Systems in Hotels

Investing in a strong key control system brings significant advantages to your business. Here are five key reasons to consider one.

Improved Security and Reduced Liability

A key control system protects your hotel keys, minimising the chances of theft, vandalism and unauthorised access. You take a proactive approach to strengthen security measures in protecting your staff, guests and valuables.

Moreover, managing a hotel means managing costs, and insurance premiums can be a big one. Key register systems offer a double advantage: they secure your facility keys in a tamper-proof cabinet, and they track all key usage with automatic alerts. This increased control can make your business more attractive to insurers, potentially leading to lower premiums.

Accountability and Transparency Among Hotel Staff

A tracked key control system in hotels offers a win-win for your business and your employees. 

By providing a secure and accountable system for key checkout and return, hotel staff may feel empowered knowing they are taking an active role in security. It creates a sense of responsibility as staff are aware of their key usage. This transparency can build trust and improve overall staff relations.

The system also benefits your business by granting granular control over access. You can set time restrictions for contractors, ensuring they only have access during designated work hours. As a result, it improves security by limiting their presence on the premises to when it’s necessary.

Enhanced Efficiency

Without an organised key control system, keys often get passed between employees instead of being returned to a central control panel, increasing the likelihood of them being lost. Lost keys mean changing locks and getting replacements, which takes even more time.

Key control systems eliminate tedious manual processes like signing keys in and out.  Everything is automated, with access electronically tracked. This not only saves time but also provides detailed reports that can function as a timesheet, verifying employee hours spent on-site.

Peace of Mind For Your Guests

A secure key control system greatly enhances guest comfort, as they feel safer in an establishment that prioritises security. For example, if you have a disorganised key system with keys hanging openly, it can raise security concerns. 

However, implementing a secure key control system, whether mechanical or electronic, demonstrates your commitment to guest safety. This focus on security can be a differentiator, attracting new customers and encouraging repeat business.

How To Implement a Comprehensive Key Control System in Hotels

It is never too late or too early to invest in a well-organised key control system in your hotel property. These systems go beyond simply storing keys; they establish a formal process to manage who has access to keys and track their use.

To help you get started, here are effective tips on how to implement a comprehensive hotel key control system:

Find The Weak Spots in Your Hotel Key Control Procedure

Before improving your key control, consider the inherent limitations of mechanical keys and locks:

  • Easy Copying: Anyone can potentially make duplicates and compromise security.
  • No Tracking: There’s no way to know who used a specific key or when.
  • Always Accessible: Keys are functional 24/7, offering no way to control access during specific times.

When you acknowledge these security vulnerabilities, you can effectively pinpoint the gaps in your key control policy.

Do you already suspect there is a key control issue within the hotel? To gauge the extent of your risk, consider these questions:

  • How many keys has your hotel issued?

If you cannot provide a precise number, your hotel has an access control issue.

  • Do you know who currently possesses those keys?

This is equivalent to asking, ‘Do you know who can access your doors?’ If the answer is ‘no,’ your security program has a significant gap.

  • Can you prevent keyholders from making copies?

No matter how carefully you distribute keys, if you cannot control their duplication, you may have a problem. With the availability of key duplication services conveniently found, it’s easy for someone to duplicate your keys. This poses a considerable risk to your hotel’s security.

Upgrade Your Security With Electronic Key Systems

The first step to securing your hotel facilities is investing in a secure and reputable electronic key system. Here’s why it makes a difference:

  • Unauthorised Copying Blocked: A tamper-proof key-tag design makes it impossible to create physical copies without proof of tampering.
  • Discourages Duplication: Knowing they can’t replicate the key deters employees from even attempting it.

Implementing an Electronic Key System

With an electronic key system, it grants you control over access. You can create a hierarchy, where everyone can access the front door, but only authorised personnel have keys for the executive suite. 

You can also add an electronic access control (EAC) system for another layer of security. Instead of just access cards, doors require a secondary credential, like a pin, fingerprint or facial recognition, for access.

It allows you to restrict access based on factors like time, date and credentials. Additionally, it provides an audit trail of doors opening—or attempted opening—which proves invaluable for investigating incidents of crime or loss.

Conduct Key Control Training

Key control training should include all the freshly implemented policies, expectations and procedures within your organisation.

Always keep in mind that for the training to truly resonate, it should go beyond the ‘how-to.’ Explain the rationale behind the changes. When employees understand how these procedures contribute to overall security, they’re more likely to embrace and comply with them.

Here are some key training areas you can incorporate into the training program:

  • System Operation: Thoroughly explain how to use the new key control system.  
  • Company Safety Focus: Reiterate the company’s commitment to a safe work environment and how key control plays an important role.
  • Security Best Practices: Review general security protocols, like not sharing keys or access credentials.
  • Lost Key Procedures: Clearly outline the steps to take if a key or access credential is lost or stolen.
  • Access Request Process: Define the process for requesting additional access to specific areas.

Choose The Right Hotel Key Management System

Basic key control systems typically include electronic key cabinets with secure locking mechanisms, as well as a software system for tracking key usage. They are modular, so you can add features and functionalities as your needs evolve, ensuring your investment remains valuable.

But how do you choose the right hotel key management system? What features and qualities should you consider? Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

  • Security Features: Look for a system with strong security features such as encryption, access control, audit trails and reprogrammable key-tags.
  • Scalability: Consider your hotel’s size and future growth plans. Choose a system that can accommodate additional rooms, staff, and features as your needs evolve.
  • Integration Capabilities: Choose a system that seamlessly integrates with your existing hotel management software and other security systems. You should also look for features that automate key distribution, check-in/check-out processes and room access to streamline operations.
  • Mobile Functionality: Mobile key access is increasingly desired by guests. Ensure the system offers a user-friendly mobile app for keyless entry.
  • User-Friendliness: Both staff and guests should find the system intuitive and easy to use. A well-designed interface minimises training time and ensures smooth operation.
  • Reporting and Monitoring Tools: Look for systems that provide comprehensive reporting and monitoring capabilities. This enables tracking key usage, identifying potential security issues (like a key being accessed too frequently) and generating audit reports as needed for compliance purposes.
  • Support and Maintenance: Ensure that the vendor offers reliable support and maintenance services, including regular updates and patches to keep the systems secure and functioning optimally. It reduces downtime and ensures your system stays current with evolving security threats.
  • Cost: Evaluate the total cost of ownership, including upfront costs, ongoing maintenance subscription fees and any additional expenses such as training or customisation. Consider the long-term value the system offers when making your decision.

Finding a vendor that offers iKLAS (Intelligent Key Lock Application System) also provides advanced security features and comprehensive auditing capabilities for enhanced key management. For example, it can accommodate storage capacities of 24 to 252 keys within a single AIO (All-in-One) cabinet. 

This system, paired with the CCMS (Central Control Management System) Hub, offers comprehensive security for a wide range of backend operations across multiple sites/key systems.

Enhance Security Now With Ubergard

‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’

While it may be tempting to stick with old-school key management methods due to their perceived cost-effectiveness, the reality is that cutting corners on security can ultimately prove far more expensive. Manual systems offer minimal accountability, cause security concerns and are more susceptible to loss & theft.

This rings particularly true in the hospitality industry, especially in hotels. Hotels are inherently busy places with constant foot traffic. People come and go, and keeping track of who enters and exits the premises may feel impossible. 

That’s why opting for a modern key management system for a secure key control policy is necessary. Here at Ubergard, we offer a comprehensive suite of key management systems designed to meet the high-security demands of modern hotels.

  • TBS Biometric Access Control: With Ubergard, we offer a fingerprint scanner that uses innovative 3D biometrics and liveness detection to help you configure three different security levels.
  • Key Management Systems: Our key management systems cater to the high-security needs of hotels. They offer a range of configurable access control options to fit your specific requirements. These options include:
    • Card readers: Grant access to authorised personnel using secure key cards.
    • Tracking with RFID technology: With key tags embedded with RFID technology, you can implement key expiry dates, track key withdrawals and reduce the risk of key misuse.
  • Electronic Key Cabinets: Our cabinets start with a capacity of 24 slots and scale all the way up to 252 slots, ensuring you can choose the ideal size for your hotel’s key management requirements. They also come with features such as facial recognition, key tag readers and versatile card access readers.

Don’t wait until a security breach disrupts your hotel operations. Contact us today and explore Ubergard’s full range of key management solutions. Discover how we can help you create a safer, more secure environment for your guests and staff.


What features should I look for in a key control system?

When choosing a key control system, consider the following features:

  • Security: Look for features like secure cabinets, access control options (card readers, biometrics) and audit trails.
  • Scalability: Choose a system that can accommodate your hotel’s current and future needs in terms of room count and staff size.
  • Integration: Ensure the system integrates with your existing hotel management software for seamless operations.
  • Ease of use: The system should be user-friendly for both staff and guests.
  • Reporting and monitoring: The system should allow you to track key usage and generate reports for security purposes.
  • Cost: Consider the upfront cost, ongoing maintenance fees and potential cost savings associated with improved security and efficiency.

Can I install a key control system myself?

While some basic systems may be DIY-friendly, it’s generally recommended to have a professional install a key control system, especially for more complex or large-scale systems. This ensures proper configuration and functionality while reducing the risk of security vulnerabilities.


Mifare or HID onlyAlpha-Numeric Password Format ONLYUser Manangement (ADD/EDIT/DELETE)
Support UID + PIN AccessUser Change Own PasswordKey Management (ADD/EDIT/DELETE)
Built-in 7" Colour TouchscreenSupport PIN AuthenticationKey Movement Transaction Record View
Key Search (Authorised Keys Only - Full FunctionKey Movement Transaction Record Esport via USB Port (PDF/EXCEL)
2-Factor Authentication
Maximum 1,000 Users
List of Keys
Read Card ONLY
iKLAS EKMS ModelNumber of KeysWidth HeightDepth Weight
iKLAS-G3-2412, 18, 24, 30430 mm510 mm180 mm12 kg
iKLAS-G3-4836, 42, 48, 54430 mm750 mm180 mm16 kg
iKLAS-G3-6660, 66, 72 630 mm855 mm220 mm53 kg
iKLAS-G3-9684, 96, 108880 mm685 mm220 mm60 kg
iKLAS-G3-132120, 132, 144900 mm855 mm220 mm65 kg
iKLAS-G3-192156, 168, 180, 192710 mm1300 mm280 mm92 kg
G3 Key Master165 mm375 mm 120 mm
iKLAS-G3-252204, 216, 228, 252710 mm 1600 mm 280 mm115 kg
G3 Key Master165 mm375 mm120 mm
iKLAS-G5-2412,18,24,30440 mm540 mm180 mm23 kg
iKLAS-G5-4836, 42, 48, 54440 mm784 mm180 mm31 kg
iKLAS-G5-6660, 66, 72630 mm855 mm220 mm53 kg
iKLAS-G5-9684, 96, 108880 mm685 mm220 mm60 kg
iKLAS-G5-132120, 132, 144900 mm855 mm220 mm65 kg
iKLAS-G5-192156, 168, 180, 192710 mm 1300 mm280 mm92 kg
G5 Key Master200 mm270 mm70 mm
iKLAS-G5-252204, 216, 228, 252710 mm1600 mm 280 mm115 kg
G5 Key Master200 mm270 mm70 mm115 kg