Door lock systems in the hotel industry
Door locks play a crucial role in the hospitality industry. This is because of both guest security and hotel operation control. Guests do not like the idea of accessing their room using a physical key now, they have heard enough horror stories of unauthorized entries. A good door lock system ensures the safety of customers and secures their belongings. Safety issues can heavily affect a hotel's reputation.
But how does a hotel choose a door lock system? In this article, we compare different door lock technologies and listed the hotel door lock suppliers in Malaysia.
History of door lock system
Over the years, the growth of the door lock system is one of the most extreme in terms of security inventions. The door lock has gradually evolved from rope locks, mechanical locks, and key locks to the electronic door lock and keyless door lock. The invention of the first electronic lock was inspired by an unfortunate event - a woman being attacked by a stranger in her hotel room.
The story had inspired a lock maker to make a better door lock system thus the world’s first recordable keycard door lock - VingCard was born. Since then, electronic locks have continued to improve and are now widely used in the hospitality industry.
Signs that you need new door locks
- Your hotel door locks are getting worn or damaged
- You are just moving in or you are planning to move to a new place
- You suspect that your hotel keys have been duplicated
- Your current door lock system is out of date
- You desire better security for your business, your staff, and your customers
Traditional vs. Electronic Door Lock
The main difference between electronic locks and traditional locks is that electronic locks are battery operated and often have a light-up keypad, whereas mechanical locks do not require batteries or power of any kind
Traditional Door Lock
Known as traditional locks or mechanical locks, they are considered a simple locking system that is operated by humans, by simply putting the key in the lock and turning the key clockwise or anticlockwise to open the door. Traditional door locks include a lock cylinder lock and key lock.
These locks can have different types of lock cylinder mechanisms, for example: with reversible or spanner keys. It is affordable, has a wide range of prices in the market and installation is simple and easy. However, they can be easily picked, and they are less convenient for elderly and disabled persons.
Thus, the good old key is now rarely used in the hotel industry.
Electronic Door Locks
An electronic lock is also known as a smart key. Some variants utilize smart technology that allows users to open the door lock with their smartphone (both in-person and remotely). To operate, this kind of locking system electricity and a stable source of energy is required thus a cable must be installed.
Electronic door locks include a variety of types and also a wide range of functions for authentication. For example, many smart door locks can be opened from anywhere and can be set to lock or unlock at specific times using an app on your smartphone. Nowadays, it also supports Wi-Fi & Bluetooth.
Example of the type of electronic door locks include:-
- The RFID locking system
- Code lock with pin
- Lock with a chip card
- Lock with smartphone control
Electronic door lock system used by hoteliers
In the current era, there are many types of door lock systems that have been invented. However, which kinds of door lock systems should we choose? How does the door lock system work? How to use the specific door lock system?
In order to answer these questions, we need to have a brief understanding of the door lock system.
What is the technology used in the door lock system?
The following is a list of wireless technologies used in the electronic door lock systems:
- Magnetic Stripe Card (Magstripe)
- Radio Frequency Identification(RFID)
- Bluetooth Low Energy(BLE)
- Near Field Communication(NFC)
Common types of door lock systems available for hoteliers
At present, electronic door locks are commonly used and more popular in the hotel industry. It is a type of contactless and inexpensive lock to replace keys. By using the electronic door lock system, guests can use the PIN, chip card, fingerprint, or mobile application to unlock the door.
1. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Locks
RFID uses electromagnetic waves to lock or unlock the door. The RFID key card will transmit a signal to the card reader that is attached to the door. When the card reader receives the signal, it will then perform the action to lock or unlock.
- function without battery
- able to program the key for each guest specifically
- low level of hack vulnerability
- materials like metal will affect the signal
- unable to unlock when facing power failure
If your main concern is security, RFID electronic locks might be the best option for your hotels.
2. Card Access Door System
The card access door system uses the sensor and chip card. The keycard will contain a microchip that stores various information.
- easily reprogrammed
- support entry of multi-card holder
- convenience for multi-user
- the card may be misplaced or lost
3. Remote Access Lock
By installing a specific application to the smartphone, the user may use the application to lock or unlock the door. The remote access lock can be derived into a WiFi door lock which uses WiFi and Bluetooth electronic lock which uses Bluetooth.
- can view the lock condition via phone
- support various application function
- the smartphone may be misplaced or stolen
- need to be aware of the battery level of the smartphone
- need wireless connection/ Bluetooth function
4. Code Lock with Pin
The user can unlock the door by inserting the pin number in a keypad
- multi-user access
- low level of vulnerability
- have the possibility to use several pin number
- the third party may enter the room if they know the pin
Key Card and The Functions
Hotel Key Card is another component that is important to ensure the door lock system functioning well. The key card is one that controls the access of the doors. Here's a complete breakdown of hotel keycards for your better understanding and how it works.
There are four types of key card systems available in the market: holecards, bar code cards, magnetic strip key cards, and radio frequency identification (RFID) cards. Each type offers easy-to-use, with different layers of security from one another.
Mechanical key cards or holecards (plastic cards with holes) are easy to do the re-keying of guest room door locks compared to the old metal key. In addition, it does not require a power supply to operate. The card would respond to a lock and would open a door when it was inserted into a slot in the door. As technology improved, this system fell out behind because of its limitations, the labor involved in the production, and its fragility.
- Easy to re-key
- Does not require a power supply
- Coding limitations
- Higher cost in production
Barcode cards were the next innovation after the holecards. The code looks exactly like the barcode on many products sold in stores. When the barcode is held under an electronic scanner, it unlocks the door. After magnetic strips became more readily available, this key card type lost popularity. One of the reasons is because the barcodes could be forged and the electronic reader can be easily fooled makes it a negative point added to its downfall popularity.
- Easily Printed
- Easy to implement
- Code easily damaged
- Can be easily replicated
- Only have one function to lock or unlock the door
- Barcodes are read-only and information cannot be updated or added.
3. Magnetic strip key card systems
These cards are widely used in the hotel industry and in workplace building. It has a thin metallic strip on the back and it looks exactly like credit cards. The electronic signature on the cards will open the corresponding door when a guest swiped the cards through the scanner. This card is much more difficult to forge providing an extra layer of security compared to previous holecards and barcodes.
- An inexpensive option
- Less control
- Easy to duplicate
- Low-level security
4. RFID key card systems
An advanced technology compared to the previous cards like holecards, barcode cards, or magnetic strip cards. RFID cards have a radio sensor chip installed inside the card. When the cards are closer to a correspondingly programmed reader, the door will unlock. Microchips and radio technology used inside this type of card, so it is considered to be the most difficult to forge and provides the highest level of security compared to previous cards we mention before.
- Full-time control over the door
- Suitable for disabled people with physical limitations
- An opportunity to program the key for each guest specifically
- Low level of hack vulnerability
- Higher cost compared to an ordinary lock
- In case of a power failure, an RFID lock cannot be opened
Hotel Door Lock Vendors and Suppliers in Malaysia
INTEGO Technologies Sdn. Bhd. is an established company that researches, develops, and manufactures Access Control Systems located in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. It is also a leading distributor of Electronic Hotel Lock System and security-related products. They aim to provide a full range of products that makes a safer and more secure place to live and work in. Intego provides access control solutions to the hotels and commercial offices, their technology cover both door access and common areas access.
Softinn has great experience working with the Intego team, they're professional and helpful. We've conducted many integrations with the Intego team (integrating Softinn PMS with Intego door lock). All the integrations went smooth, the Intego team knows what they're doing and provides the needed info (e.g. license keys, room mapping etc). Today, all our integrations are done without the need of a physical visit to the hotel.
Intego provides two categories of lock solutions one for the hotel business and another for office & residential. Their office is located in Selangor.
- The alarm will sound if the door is improperly closed or the battery is low
- Stand-alone intelligent lock without a cable connection
- Can last for more than 1 year with 4pcs of AA Alkaline batteries
- Store up to the latest 1000 unlocking records
Hotel Seri Malaysia (the largest hotel chain in Malaysia) and Legoland Hotel are using Intego. If you’re currently looking for lock solutions that will help you to better manage hotel operations, you may consider using their product. Feel free to download the brochure.
2. Proyu Hotel Door Lock
If you fancy sourcing door locks directly from China and DIY the installation, we recommend Proyu hotel door lock. We notice they have fairly straightforward installations steps and they provide a good user manual to guide the software installation. They are quite common among Malaysia budget hotels (myBHA members).
According to the law, Malaysia hotels are required to install door locks that have obtained the SIRIM and BOMBA certificates. Do make sure you request those documents before your purchase. Based on our experience working with the hotels, we notice this model is particularly popular.
Orbita Malaysia is the representing distributor of the popular Orbita door lock brand. The founder of Orbita Malaysia and his brother have vast experience in hotel door locks and security solutions. Together, they have been serving the industry since the year 2000 and have worked with many hotels and hotel door lock brands.
Softinn has good experience working with Orbita, their team is professional and their support is good. We recommend Orbita. We've done multiple integrations work with the Orbita team. They are popular in East Malaysia although they have a presence in the peninsula as well. Orbita does have offices in both Selangor and Kota Kinabalu. One thing we learn among their customers is that Orbita never uses re-con units; all the units sold are brand new. So, you don't have to worry on getting a second-hand part. On top of that, they keep stocks of spare parts so you faster access to parts replacement.
Which Hotel Door Lock Supplier to Avoid?
Knowing who to avoid is important if not more. Based on our experience working with the door lock suppliers in Malaysia, we suggest avoiding companies who focus on low price in their sales and provide lousy after-sales support. You can spot those by introducing them to your PMS supplier and ask for third-party opinion. On top of that, ask their existing customers so you can perform a reference check.
Why it's important? Imagine your hotel door lock malfunction and the supplier has no clue what went wrong. Then, they focus on asking you to replace your door lock instead of guiding you in diagnosing the problem. Some of the door lock suppliers operate a drop-shipping business, they have no technical competency and know-how. Choosing these suppliers is nothing better than buying directly from China yourself and DIY because why pay more while you need to do it yourself in the end?
Now that you know the importance of door lock systems for your hotel and some basic information about them, the question is which type of door lock system is suitable for you?
This however will depend on multiple factors such as the scale of your operation, your budget, and integration with your systems. There are many different options of hotel door lock systems in Malaysia to choose from.
We hope our content will help you find the best vendor for you and help you establish a safe and secure environment for your staff and guest.
With a mission to make hotelier work easier, Softinn Solutions Sdn. Bhd. is a hotel-technology provider company offering hotel management software. Ranging from cloud-based hotel PMS, hotel booking engine, and a specially customized hotel website; Softinn is adept in employing innovative ideas in its solutions constantly and understanding the requirements of hotel industry worldwide.