5 Hotel Physical Security Tune-Ups with Key Control for 2024

The security and safety of all guests, employees, and visitors at hotels is top priority for hotel security management teams. Investing in upgrades to security and safety technology helps hotels stay compliant, manage assets, and prevent security incidents. One component of security technology that hotels invest in is key control and asset management solutions. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to tune into and tune up hotel key control policies to maximize key control solutions. Let’s review five top hotel security issues and how key control provides effective solutions to them.

1Data Breaches

Data breaches are financially devastating for hotel corporations. Firewalls and cybersecurity significantly help protect private customers’ financial data and personal information from being hacked. Physical security for computer equipment and server rooms must also be strengthened to safeguard access to computer hardware and data that is stored on hard drives.

Key control systems authenticate authorized users of the physical keys that belong to server rooms and computer hardware. Electronic key control automatically tracks physical keys so it is always known who enters the server rooms, when, and for what purposes. Key control provides access control and protects computer hard drives and server rooms.

2Zero Trust Security

Right now, the cost of living is steep. That’s why hotel security needs to double down on “zero trust” security to protect hotel assets. Security teams need to assume that every individual on site is a threat. That includes guests, hotel employees, vendors, contractors, delivery personnel, and others.

Key control systems secure and track all physical keys to lock up food storage pantries, alcoholic beverages, shipping and receiving areas, housekeeping supplies, equipment rooms, and luggage storage rooms. Locking away the keys and releasing them only to authorized individuals is the security boost needed for these assets. The key control system enforces “zero trust” security by providing an audit trail of all key transactions to account for all the assets in-house and all the people who use keys to access them.

3Public Safety

Besides keeping restricted areas in hotels clearly marked, there needs to be accountability for who enters them. While PAC (physical access control) systems restrict access to larger areas of hotel properties, all doors locks and keys within these areas need access control to keep vandals and thieves out of perfect “hiding places” and the public out of areas where they can get hurt. Checking and auditing all of them is essential to ensure that no locks or doors are loose or broken and that all mechanical keys are accounted for and tracked within the inventory.

Key control systems secure all keys and track all of them. If new doors, locks, and keys have been added due to renovations, it is time to add them to the key inventory management system. Now is a good time to review the authorized users for all the keys and make appropriate changes for all shifts.

4Theft and Vandalism

Hotel guests who leave with complimentary items such as shampoo, soap, and mouthwash samples are expected. Hotels also typically run an incidentals surcharge on guests’ credit cards for towels, artwork, décor, small furniture, hairdryers, irons, and more. Hotel employees have access to all these assets every day. If assets are unaccounted for, hotel expenditures add up fast when items go missing.

Electronic key control accounts for not just the keys and the assets behind locked doors, but also who takes them during what time and for what purposes. Criteria can be programmed into the key control system for every employee for every shift. All key removals and returns are automatically tracked for instant audits should anything go missing to investigate who last had the keys.

5Employee Turnover and Training

Hotel employees come and go. Have all new employees been added to the key control system and trained in how to use it? What about all the employees who are no longer employed at the property? Have their credentials been removed from the system? Now is the time to audit all users and ensure that there is an annual review of the system for individuals who have not been officially trained and an overview with all employees to see if they have any new key control issues.

Key control systems are easy to use and have on-screen prompts to guide users. Are there new regulations and laws that went into effect that require multi-factor authentication for restricted-use items at the hotel? Electronic key control systems provide multi-factor authentication, which requires multiple people to sign out a key to obtain sensitive information or assets.

There is no better time than now to review the hotel key control policy and fine-tune all the details in an annual end-of-the-year audit. Reviewing processes and all security technology equipment with a year-end audit provides that important extra measure of care to keep the ever-changing hotel population safer and more secure.

Sponsored by Morse Watchmans.

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Marcey Tweedie, Marketing Specialist, Morse Watchmans has nearly four decades of marketing communications and writing experience. She is a six-year employee of Morse Watchmans, Inc., a global electronic key control and asset management company.