Security of mobile locks a priority for hoteliers

iphone mobile phone

This article is part one of a three-part series on mobile locks. Here is part one and here is part two.

Many lock manufacturers strongly recommend evaluating and focusing more on security if a hotel is making the move to mobile access locks. As with any new technology, poor implementation can be a risk so hoteliers need to ensure their proper usage. Another prime hurdle is easing users’ fears in the age of the hacker. Security of the keyless method remains a prime concern for guests and operators alike, but experts say mobile key is even more secure than standard magnetic keycards.

Hilton Worldwide designed its mobile locking technology with security precautions in mind. All of its HHonors loyalty members can use the Digital Key but only the guests with a previous stay history can skip the front-desk upon arrival.
“Our guests that have not previously stayed with us make a stop at the front desk to show their identification and credit card,” said Dana Shefsky, director of digital product innovation at Hilton Worldwide. “Additionally, the Digital Key can only be used on one device and cannot be shared. Further, Digital Key has undergone comprehensive testing and has been vetted by security experts. We retained a leading security assessment firm to perform a thorough evaluation of the technology.”

Steve Slishman, director of engineering for the Hilton Boston Downtown, said the security aspect of Hilton’s Digital Key is actually reassuring to guests. “The hotel can see when the guest or anyone else entered or left the room—we have the same chain of custody as with a keycard,” he said.
The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center in The Woodlands, Texas, uses the security systems and communications provided by Kaba’s hosting services.  “The flexibility of our system allows for the option to have the RFID function for any guests that choose not to use this feature,” said Jose Garcia, director of hospitality IT for the Howard Hughes Corporation, which owns the hotel. “Guests must choose to enroll their devices to utilize this and are immediately disabled upon checkout, similar to a normal guestroom RFID key.”

The security of a mobile door lock is a part of the larger shift in guest security as hoteliers have gained access to more guest data through loyalty programs. Mobility does continually test hoteliers on the security side but with preparation, hotels are rising up to meet the challenge.