If you are a hotel manager, security for your guests should be on the top of your list of concerns. Key cards are a great way to lock and unlock room doors, but the cards have an undeserved reputation for suddenly not working. Most of the issues that the cards can face can be attributed to human error, rather than mechanical or computer error. Hotel key cards are efficient and easy to carry, and to protect them against anything you or your customers might do to them accidentally, you can take some precautions.
Offer Sleeves for the Card
This extra layer of paper or plastic protects the card against scratches and dirt. It can help protect against some forms of demagnetization, too. Keep sleeves for the cards up at the front desk, and offer them to customers. If you run out temporarily, you can make your own by folding paper around the card. Try to find thicker paper (an index card works well).
Keep the Card Away From Electronic Equipment and Other Cards
In addition to separating the key card's strip from other credit card strips, keep the card away from electronic equipment even if you have the card in a thick sleeve. Don't place it near TVs, computers, or digital cameras. Sometimes people say the cards can be demagnetized if you put them near a phone; while this isn't always the case, it's a good idea to store the card separately. One item you may want to look for when choosing a key card system is whether the key card uses low or high coercivity on the magnetic strip. If it's low coercivity, take more precautions; if it's high coercivity, you might not have to protect so much, although it's always a good idea to do so anyway.
Check the Magnetic Strip for Scratches
Just because you're good to the card doesn't mean other people have been good. Check the magnetic strip on the back of each card as it comes back from customers for scratches and chips. These can prevent the card from working properly. Replace the cards that look really damaged.
Check the Card Slot for Debris
When you have housekeeping workers go to each room, have them check the slot for the card and see if there is dust or debris visible. Not only can that debris prevent the lock from reading the card properly, but it can also scratch the strip. If you or they see debris and can't brush it away easily, ask the maintenance crew to have someone clean the lock.
Hotel key cards can work very well -- you just have to be careful how you handle them. Look for advanced locks like those from Saflok to find secure, simple protection. For more information or assistance, contact companies like The Electronic Locksmith.