Häfele: Why security is the latest key to luxurious hospitality
Technology in our personal and professional lives continually promises to be faster, easier, more interactive and increasingly intelligent. Connectivity is well and truly at the centre of our worlds at home and at work, but can the same be said for the experiences that guests receive in hotels?
The hotel industry is facing increased competition via the home-from-home market, with AirBnB recording revenues of over £4bn in 2019. It’s important that hoteliers are integrating designs and facilities that make a guest feel comfortable and meet their expectations when it comes to connectivity. But is it always relevant?
Research shows that hotels which develop mobile apps that engage the guest have higher levels of customer satisfaction. However, the same figures also suggest that almost two fifths (38 per cent) don’t actually find a reason to use the apps provided during their hotel stay. Investments in technology can become costly, and when the industry faces a raft of financial struggles, any spending in this area needs to be worth it.
One area that guests are placing more value and focus on is access control. Guests place value and focus on modern security and access control facilities; increasingly, they are expecting them to be as integrated, connected and seamless as other utilities and devices in their life. If implemented as a true point of difference within a hotel, they can be integral to a first-class experience.
For example, staff-free reception areas, which grant guests access to their rooms via remote access control systems, offer a sleek and sophisticated entrance to a hotel while helping hotel operators to run their properties more efficiently. If the same system is in place across the hotel, granting access to gyms, lockers and other facilities, a guest will feel more encouraged to roam the space freely, at their leisure, giving a truer feel of taking time away from the mundane.
Systems like Dialock, the advanced door and furniture locking system from Häfele, achieve exactly this. Its smartphone app, ‘Häfele Access Hotel’, provides a digital key via Bluetooth® to access bedrooms and hotel facilities, improving convenience for the guest while simultaneously creating efficiencies for the hotel operator.
Removing the need to cut physical keys, take a guest up to their room or show them how to use a gym locker, the system arms staff with more time to spend on the running of the hotel and enhancing the wider customer service, while a guest comes and goes at their leisure.
Though functionality is a key driver behind such systems, hoteliers remain ever conscious of a guest’s demand for a luxurious look and feel; spaces that are fully functional, secure and reliable are little use unless they also wow.
During a recent project on The Roseate Reading Hotel, Häfele adapted its usual Dialock design to complement the luxurious interior the operators were trying to achieve in a significant renovation. With a large section of the building listed, owners wanted to retain as many traditional features as possible while upscaling its access control features.
To achieve this, bespoke, polished nickel wall readers offering access and a ‘Do Not Disturb’ function were integrated outside guest rooms, allowing for the traditional polished nickel door furniture to remain untouched. Meanwhile, more modern, satin stainless steel lever handles with a minimalist design were chosen and partnered with Dialock for the hotel’s newly developed annexe suites.
Access control technology is advancing and becoming more synonymous with smart devices. With the ability to enhance guest’s stays to such an extent that they feel at home and secure and are compelled to book again, leave positive reviews or recommend your hotel to a friend, the use of access control within your hotel should be prioritised. Doing so will ensure guests come back again, and again.