Trouble with guests losing keys?

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TheOldBeech's picture
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Well, it is all in the title. Do you have problems with guests losing keys? And how do you solve it?

Highlands John's picture
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I have 3 spare keys for all rooms and up until recently I just dismissed it as a business expense, however the last time I bought more copies they cost me £7.50 a pop, so it now says in the rooms that lost keys will be charged at £10 a go.

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Arks's picture
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Highlands John wrote:

...it now says in the rooms that lost keys will be charged at £10 a go.

Reasonable. Yet another sign/rule, but you've got to do what you've got to do.

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JerseyBoy's picture
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We have 18 rooms and use regular keys.   We used to make a big deal about not losing the keys, have guests initial they will be charged for a replacement, etc. etc.    We lose about 20 or 30 keys every year.    After a while I realized it was costing me about $50 a year in key replacement, but I was expending a lot of effort and making a huge deal about losing keys all over $50.   So I stopped making a big deal about it and guess what.  Nothing changed.    For me it's just a cost of doing business.     We rarely have to deal with guests who lose them during non-office hours.

I agree a keyless system which could be controlled centrally would be nice but I'm not convinced the expense is worth any savings in lost keys or convenience.   We do use a keyless co

de lock on  our front door which has proven to be very useful, and safer.

seashanty's picture
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If you are building or remodeling and starting fresh, definitely go keyless with codes not cards .. 

I had guests lose keys quite a bit, take them home and then mail them back They'd slip out in the morning without coming to 'check out' and I'd often find the keys in the rooms. Maddening if I was holding breakfast for them to go up and find they'd gone. I was a one-man-band when it came to breakfast cooking serving and cleaning up while also monitoring check out for 9 rooms so I couldn't keep track of everyone. I had LOTS of copies of keys.

But I did charge a replacement fee for lost keys that discouraged folks being careless.

Most obnoxious key fob I encountered at a place in New Hampshire was a huge wooden apple. Too big really to put in a pants pocket, very bulky in a jacket pocket or handbag. Obnoxious in an obvious 'don't lose me' kind of way. Smiling You'd see them on restaurant tables or store counters and know right away where they belonged. 

TheOldBeech's picture
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Why keyless with codes and not cards?

The cards are cheap, rewritable, guests don't need to remember codes and have time stamps.

Morticia's picture
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TheOldBeech wrote:

Why keyless with codes and not cards?

The cards are cheap, rewritable, guests don't need to remember codes and have time stamps.

Either way works, but cards can be lost just as easily as keys and they are adding to the plastic waste none of us need. 

 

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Arks's picture
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Morticia wrote:

Either way works, but cards can be lost just as easily as keys and they are adding to the plastic waste none of us need. 

Way too often, I walk out of a hotel room without my key card, the door locks behind me, and I have to go to the desk to get another card. Or they hand me my card at check in and it won't work when I get to the room. Have to go back to the desk and have the re-code it.

I've been using keypad locks over 5 years, and have never had a single person forget their code. They can't get locked out of their room because they always have the key with them in the form of their code. It's just not a problem.

I use self-checkin 100% of the time.  I can program their code and email it to them when they make their reservation, then I can forget about it. They can arrive and go right in. They don't have to see me to get a key card.

Generic's picture
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We've had the odd guest forget their code. One famously. In fact we teased them the next time by setting their code to something so simple that it couldn't be forgotten. The codes are temporary, so setting one for two days that's simple isn't going to even get tried by someone else.

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Arks's picture
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Generic wrote:

The codes are temporary, so setting one for two days that's simple isn't going to even get tried by someone else.

I've had a few request I set their code to something like 1111. I won't do that. It's a little TOO simple and I won't risk someone getting into a room where they don't belong. But I keep mine simple, always using adjacent numbers on the keypad, like 3223 or 7878. 

A few HAVE arrived who never paid attention to the email so didn't know their code, but once I give it to them, they remember it. Another advantage of key codes is that everybody in the room has a "key", not just the one with the card. And if they want to give their key code to their friends staying in another room, that's up to them.

Generic's picture
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Ours are based on the phone number or the last 4 digits of their CC. 

PhineasSwann's picture
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Generic wrote:

Ours are based on the phone number or the last 4 digits of their CC. 

 

I'd love to change ours over, but it would run us almost $2k to convert.

I'd vote for the last four of the phone number. That I can remember. I couldn't tell you the last for of my CC if you put a gun to my head. 

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Generic's picture
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Yeah, it was expensive when we started, plus the controller. And we still spend on batteries. But guests like it and we calmed down about keys and that. The doorbell camera and hallway camera have calmed down almost every fear we have for self check-in.

It's almost always the last 4 of the phone number. But when we are suspicious of the person and their CC number... that shakes the tree.

It's a little annoying to program the doors, but so much easier than worrying about the key. We have had one or two who can't remember their phone number... but usually they can just look it up on their phone Smiling

I do find it interesting that more and more people don't even bother to program their fast dial shortcuts anymore. You know, it used to be hold down 2 to dial mom.... today they look them up. Odd.

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After our first season of chasing keys we put keyless locks on all our suites

TheOldBeech's picture
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I was thinking of having RFID locks installed with key cards. The guests would only need one key for the front door and the room door and won't need to remember a code.

And it doesn't matter if they lose it or take it with them they won't work anymore after their stay.

Morticia's picture
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TheOldBeech wrote:

I was thinking of having RFID locks installed with key cards. The guests would only need one key for the front door and the room door and won't need to remember a code.

And it doesn't matter if they lose it or take it with them they won't work anymore after their stay.

Being as you are starting from scratch, that's a better idea. The plastic cards cost a bit, tho. I think you have to buy them in huge quantities.

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I would recommend against the key cards as those are just one more thing for guests to lose.

You can get the schlage key-less locks at Home Depot.  They hold something like 19 codes.   Some of the locks you can program from your iphone.  So you can enable/disable codes or make entirely new codes.  Other locks, you punch in a master code into the lock and then you can add a new code.   We have a code that the same code opens all rooms that we use.  Each guest gets a new and different code when they arrive.

You either write their code down on the back of a business card or you choose a 4 digit code that matches their phone number where they won't easily forget the code. 

notAgrandma's picture
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My doors are solid wood and over 100 years old. A previous owner installed regular deadbolt locks with keys, so each guest gets a front door key and a room key. In the 6 years we've run the place, we've only had 2 lost keys and 2 keys that traveled with the guests. I used to have fancy brass keychains engraved with the names of our rooms. At the first occurrence of lost keys, I googled our room name and up popped our website! I changed the front door lock, then changed all of the room keys to small keychains with just the first initial of each room on them (ordered through Etsy). 

The 2 sets of keys that traveled with guests were mailed back to me. The second time, it took a while for the guest to return them. I told her we would need her to pay for a locksmith if we didn't get the keys back. That prompted her to finally ship them back!

At check-out, I always as for the keys. When a guest tells me the keys are in the room, I say, "As long as you're sure... because we've had keys travel and had guests pay for a locksmith." That always gets them to check their pockets.

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gillumhouse's picture
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I love my old door. I had miniature old-time train engines (the B & O Station Agent lived here) as keyrings for door keys when I opened. Those soon disappeared too neat looking. My keys traveled more than I did - sometimes even coming back home via US P O. Cambs gifted me some lovely keyrings and I admit I am loathe to use them for fear of them disappearing. One room had a ponpon key ring, one has a carabiner, and the 3rd had a flat bronze thing. OK, I just talked myself into putting the keys on the pretty keyrings I was given. Yes, I have keys made every so often.

Arks's picture
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I have keypad locks on guest rooms and supply cabinets. The supply closet codes rarely need changing (only when an old housekeeper leaves and new one comes on) so those locks are in the $120 range.

On the guest rooms I have keypads I can program from my computer, so they cost more, but it only takes seconds to assign each guest a door code, email it to them, and enter their code in the lock (the locks hold 20 codes at a time). Each time I enter a new code, I go through the list for that room and remove old codes whose guest has come and gone, so things stay tidy.

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Arks wrote:

On the guest rooms I have keypads I can program from my computer, so they cost more, but it only takes seconds to assign each guest a door code, email it to them, and enter their code in the lock (the locks hold 20 codes at a time). Each time I enter a new code, I go through the list for that room and remove old codes whose guest has come and gone, so things stay tidy.

What locks and what software?

Arks's picture
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NRV Runner wrote:

What locks and what software?

There are lots of ways to control these wireless "Z-Wave" locks, including Alexa/SmartThings, Nexia, Wink, and others.

I use Nexia.  My Nexia "bridge", HERE, which I bought from Amazon, is used to connect the keypad wirelessly to the Internet. You only need one of these.

My Schlage wireless door keypads to tie in to the bridge are like those HERE. Of course you'd need 1 for each door you want to control.

The online service where I control the door keypads remotely (handles the connection between my computer or phone and the "bridge") is HERE. One monthly subscription covers all the devices controlled by your Nexia bridge. In addition to a website you can go to control your locks, it also comes with a phone app for IOS and Android that can do pretty much everything the regular website can do, to add new codes, delete old ones, check the status of your locks, including battery level, etc.

Tom
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The one thing that drives DW nuts.  We always ask at checkout.  Only rooms have keys, outside doors are keypad so not a security concern, just a gotta make extras concerns.

PhineasSwann's picture
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Our problem is guests taking them home. We ask for them at checkout. Often they don't have them and say they'll leave them in the room. Occasionally they don't . 

Roxanne Trees's picture
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Lots of spare keys and I put the keys on a lanyard that is tough to hide or misplace.

 

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Generic's picture
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Keypads on all the doors.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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We have lots of reserves.

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Morticia's picture
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Key pad door locks - no keys.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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Was that expensive?   Is it labor intensive to change the code with each check out?

Generic's picture
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We can program them from any browser. We do run through batteries though, because they battery on the ones we have turn the dead bolt. There are ones where the dead bolt is turned manually, so they don't run through the batteries so often.

Morticia's picture
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TheBeachHouse wrote:

Was that expensive?   Is it labor intensive to change the code with each check out?

If you get the WiFi enabled ones it's pretty simple. We only have the manual one on the front door. I'd really like to get them in the room doors, too. 

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