While many hospitality companies strive to make their hotel properties as safe and secure as possible for their guests, managing security risks is always one of the greatest challenges. By nature, hotels have many rooms with many access points and large amounts of traffic, making them a favorite target for thieves and predators. Since keys provide access, keys are also the greatest point of vulnerability. This is why implementing a strong key control policy is one of the best ways for a hotel to minimize its security and liability risks.
Most hotels these days have already implemented some form of programmable keycard system for guests to access their specific room for a specific length of time. However, true key control goes much deeper than that; it also needs to include restricted and monitored access for hotel employees. Background checks can only do so much, and employees with key access are given a level of trust that can be easily violated. If a hotel employee accesses a room unlawfully and steals something (or worse, victimizes a guest), to what extent is that hotel legally liable for the infraction? If something like this happens on your property and you haven’t taken every reasonable step to prevent that action, your hotel could be held responsible on the grounds of negligence.
One of the best ways to prevent or limit this liability is to implement a strong key control system, one that tracks and restricts employee access and keeps all keys in a secure location. Not only does it provide an effective deterrent against unauthorized access, but it also allows management to instantly identify unusual patterns and identify users who violate the rules.
What Does Effective Hotel Key Control Look Like?
For hotels with keycard access, employee key control can simply be an extension of the type of control provided for hotel guests. Here are a few of the top priorities that need to be in place for a good key control system:
● Secure, centralized location for pulling keys: Employees should have to check keys out and in from a locked box rather than carrying them around indefinitely.
● Unique identification and authorization: The system should be able to identify each employee by a badge and fingerprint as they log in, pull keys and return them.
● Customizable reason codes: The system should track not just which keys are pulled, but by whom and for what reason.
● Instant reporting and audit trails: A good key control system should always enable management to track activity by key, by building, by day/time and by employee.
● Restricted access: Whenever possible, key control should include customizable access so only authorized employees may pull keys to certain areas of the building or facility.
Benefits of a Hotel Key Control System
Key control helps minimize the security risks of a hotel in a number of ways:
● Greater employee accountability. Simply put, employees tend to stay honest and behave when they know their activities are being tracked. With key control, you’ll enjoy reduced risks of employee violations.
● Streamlined processes and greater productivity. A good key control system can improve overall workflow processes, which helps your employees stay more productive. (No more wasted time tracking down missing keys!)
● Lower costs. When keys are lost or compromised, the only true way to restore security is to call the locksmith. Key control greatly reduces the number of times you have to do this — especially if you use keycard access, since card keys are disposable and can be simply deactivated if lost. In addition, greater key control often results in lower insurance premiums since your liability risks go down considerably.
● Mitigated liability. If someone does manage to do harm on the premises, your legal liability may be greatly reduced since key control demonstrates good intent and weakens the argument of negligence.
● Peace of mind. The actual number of incidents of theft and victimization can be greatly reduced with key control, sometimes eliminated altogether. This is the ultimate goal, after all—to keep your guests safe. In a day when security risks are higher than ever, every hotel should consider reducing their risk by implementing strong key control.
HandyTrac offers a number of excellent key control solutions designed to enhance employee accountability and mitigate risk. To learn more about how HandyTrac can help your hotel property, contact us today.