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5 Best Cloud-Based Access Control Systems for Hotels

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Jordan Hollander in Guest Experience

Last updated November 07, 2023

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How do you manage access to your hotel for guests, employees, residents, and vendors? Traditional access management systems require expensive hardware that can easily get lost, broken, or stolen, leading to security risks and high replacement costs. To prevent or eliminate these risks, many commercial buildings, like apartment buildings, offices, hospitals, and hotels, are shifting to cloud-based access control systems. You might be wondering how a cloud-based access system works, how it differs from a traditional system, and what systems make sense for hotels. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the basics of cloud-based access control and mobile key systems so you can make informed purchasing decisions and be on your way to a more secure building, lower operating costs, and happier guests and employees.

Understanding Cloud-Based Access Control

Let’s start at the beginning: what is a cloud-based access control system? This type of system allows you to remotely manage access to doors and gates using internet-connected devices. From a central dashboard, which authorized users can access from any web browser, hotel staff can remotely lock or unlock doors, open or close gates, and activate or deactivate access items (such as fobs or keycards). Traditional access control systems don’t have any remote or internet-connected functionality; you would need to walk over to the parking garage to close the gate, or you would have to manually re-issue a physical keycard if a guest extended their stay. Cloud-based systems are much more efficient and secure, especially in hotel settings, because they offer increased oversight over access and the convenience of remote management. In the hotel industry, one of the most popular types of cloud-based access control systems is a mobile key system, which handles guestroom access without the need for physical keycards.

Criteria for Selecting the Best Cloud-Based Access Control System

How do you choose the ideal mobile key system or cloud-based access control system for your hotel? Let’s look into the critical features and functionality:

  • Security Features: A good system will have sophisticated security protocols to encrypt data, authenticate and authorize users, and integrate with existing security devices, like security cameras. 

  • Scalability and Flexibility: Throughout the lifetime of your system, you’ll likely add or remove access points and authorize users with different levels of access. A good system should be flexible enough to handle these nuances and scale as your hotel evolves.

  • User-Friendly Interface and Mobile Accessibility: When you’re running around property, the last thing you want to do is rush back to your office to fix an access issue. Finding a system with mobile accessibility can add extra value to busy hoteliers who need to manage things on the go. In addition, look for a user-friendly system with an intuitive interface to simplify training and reduce the risk of errors.

  • Integration Capabilities: The best system doesn’t work in a vacuum; look for an access control system or mobile key system that integrates with your PMS and other on-site software for effortless management of guest data and access. For example, an integration with your PMS can ensure mobile key access expires upon each guest’s checkout time. 

  • Cost Considerations: Be mindful of your budget when vetting potential vendors. Some mobile key systems and access control systems operate on a subscription model, while others ask you to buy hardware upfront. Although a subscription might seem attractive because of the relatively low monthly or annual cost, be sure to calculate the total cost of ownership over the lifetime of the system; you might be better off paying upfront.

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Top 5 Cloud-Based Access Control Systems for Hotels

Wondering where to start your search for cloud-based access control systems? Take a look at these five leading vendors.

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THE PITCH
RATINGS BEST FOR
100 HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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As the mobile key category winner at the 2023 HotelTechAwards, Goki offers an integrated hardware and software system designed specifically for hotels and vacation rentals. Goki’s mobile key functionality enables guests to unlock guestroom doors with a secure digital key on their smartphones (via a web app or a downloadable app), allowing hotels to streamline the check-in process and eliminate physical keys. From the Goki dashboard, you can remotely open doors, check door lock battery status, and run lock audits, making it great for hoteliers on the go. Goki can integrate with PMSs like Mews and Cloudbeds, but if you don’t use one of their supported systems, the value you get from Goki can decrease. Goki offers two subscription plans between $4.50 and $6 per lock per month, and you can purchase one of their stylish smart locks between $69 and $399 per device.
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Goki Hotel Keyless Entry Systems
THE PITCH
RATINGS
100 HT Score
As the mobile key category winner at the 2023 HotelTechAwards, Goki offers an integrated hardware and software system designed specifically for hotels and vacation rentals. Goki’s mobile key functionality enables guests to unlock guestroom doors with a secure digital key on their smartphones (via a web app or a downloadable app), allowing hotels to streamline the check-in process and eliminate physical keys. From the Goki dashboard, you can remotely open doors, check door lock battery status, and run lock audits, making it great for hoteliers on the go. Goki can integrate with PMSs like Mews and Cloudbeds, but if you don’t use one of their supported systems, the value you get from Goki can decrease. Goki offers two subscription plans between $4.50 and $6 per lock per month, and you can purchase one of their stylish smart locks between $69 and $399 per device.
Learn More
Image
THE PITCH
RATINGS BEST FOR
93 HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
Learn More
Lock giant ASSA ABLOY makes hardware for all types of buildings, including homes, but their mobile key system for hotels is one of the industry’s best. With a strong 4.7/5 average review score on HotelTechReport, it’s clear that hoteliers find value in ASSA ABLOY’s contactless check-in, digital keys, and beautiful design. ASSA ABLOY offers a few options for digital keys: you can embed their software within your own app, you can use a verified third-party partner, or your guests can use the key functionality within the ASSA ABLOY app. It’s worth noting that the system works well for back-of-house and exterior doors as well. To further illustrate the system’s value, ASSA ABLOY has a handy calculator that shows your estimated keycard and labor savings. Pricing is available upon request.
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Mobile Access by Vingcard Hotel Keyless Entry Systems
THE PITCH
RATINGS
93 HT Score
Lock giant ASSA ABLOY makes hardware for all types of buildings, including homes, but their mobile key system for hotels is one of the industry’s best. With a strong 4.7/5 average review score on HotelTechReport, it’s clear that hoteliers find value in ASSA ABLOY’s contactless check-in, digital keys, and beautiful design. ASSA ABLOY offers a few options for digital keys: you can embed their software within your own app, you can use a verified third-party partner, or your guests can use the key functionality within the ASSA ABLOY app. It’s worth noting that the system works well for back-of-house and exterior doors as well. To further illustrate the system’s value, ASSA ABLOY has a handy calculator that shows your estimated keycard and labor savings. Pricing is available upon request.
Learn More
Image
THE PITCH
RATINGS BEST FOR
87 HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
Learn More
A finalist at the 2023 HotelTechAwards, OpenKey powers the contactless check-in experience at hotels around the world, including both branded and independent properties. OpenKey’s software lets guests check in and open guestroom doors on their smartphones using secure digital key technology. OpenKey has a customizable app, making it great for hotels that don’t already have a guest app, and automation features eliminate the need for front desk agents to manually send check-in instructions to guests. The software integrates with dozens of PMSs, like Opera, Little Hotelier, and Frontdesk Anywhere, and it’s compatible with locks from several brands, like ASSA ABLOY and Salto. Pricing ranges between $4 and $6 per lock per month, plus a one-time implementation fee.
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Openkey.co Hotel Keyless Entry Systems
THE PITCH
RATINGS
87 HT Score
A finalist at the 2023 HotelTechAwards, OpenKey powers the contactless check-in experience at hotels around the world, including both branded and independent properties. OpenKey’s software lets guests check in and open guestroom doors on their smartphones using secure digital key technology. OpenKey has a customizable app, making it great for hotels that don’t already have a guest app, and automation features eliminate the need for front desk agents to manually send check-in instructions to guests. The software integrates with dozens of PMSs, like Opera, Little Hotelier, and Frontdesk Anywhere, and it’s compatible with locks from several brands, like ASSA ABLOY and Salto. Pricing ranges between $4 and $6 per lock per month, plus a one-time implementation fee.
Learn More
Image
THE PITCH
RATINGS BEST FOR
77 HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
Learn More
Scoring an average of 4.7/5 on HotelTechReport user reviews, INTELITY is a frontrunner in hotel technology, offering products like in-room tablets, guest apps, a staff collaboration platform, and mobile key. INTELITY’s mobile key product allows guests to unlock their guestroom doors and access common spaces (like your pool or gym) from a mobile app. Hotels can take advantage of this technology by using INTELITY’s own app or by using their API to embed the functionality in a proprietary guest app. Although INTELITY doesn’t manufacture their own door locks, their tech works seamlessly with hardware vendors like Saflok and dormakaba. INTELITY supports integrations with hundreds of other software vendors, including PMSs like Mews, Stayntouch, and Infor. Pricing is available upon request.
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INTELITY Guest Mobile Apps with Mobile Key Hotel Keyless Entry Systems
THE PITCH
RATINGS
77 HT Score
Scoring an average of 4.7/5 on HotelTechReport user reviews, INTELITY is a frontrunner in hotel technology, offering products like in-room tablets, guest apps, a staff collaboration platform, and mobile key. INTELITY’s mobile key product allows guests to unlock their guestroom doors and access common spaces (like your pool or gym) from a mobile app. Hotels can take advantage of this technology by using INTELITY’s own app or by using their API to embed the functionality in a proprietary guest app. Although INTELITY doesn’t manufacture their own door locks, their tech works seamlessly with hardware vendors like Saflok and dormakaba. INTELITY supports integrations with hundreds of other software vendors, including PMSs like Mews, Stayntouch, and Infor. Pricing is available upon request.
Learn More
Image
THE PITCH
RATINGS BEST FOR
71 HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
Learn More
Offering a stylish mobile app and convenient mobile key technology, FLEXIPASS can be found in hotels ranging from Resorts World, WestCord, and Choice in over 30 countries. FLEXIPASS lets you do away with plastic keycards and give your guests the option to do contactless check-in and unlock their rooms with the FLEXIPASS mobile app. Like some other mobile key solutions, FLEXIPASS doesn’t have its own hardware, but instead is compatible with locks from ASSA ABLOY, dormakaba, and Salto. FLEXIPASS has several pricing tiers with increasing levels of customization, and quotes are available upon request.
Product logo
FLEXIPASS Keyless Mobile Access Hotel Keyless Entry Systems
THE PITCH
RATINGS
71 HT Score
Offering a stylish mobile app and convenient mobile key technology, FLEXIPASS can be found in hotels ranging from Resorts World, WestCord, and Choice in over 30 countries. FLEXIPASS lets you do away with plastic keycards and give your guests the option to do contactless check-in and unlock their rooms with the FLEXIPASS mobile app. Like some other mobile key solutions, FLEXIPASS doesn’t have its own hardware, but instead is compatible with locks from ASSA ABLOY, dormakaba, and Salto. FLEXIPASS has several pricing tiers with increasing levels of customization, and quotes are available upon request.
Learn More

Why your hotel should be investing in access control in 2024

Ready to upgrade access control at your hotel? Cloud-based access control systems, like a mobile key system, bring a slew of benefits, including cost savings, better guest and employee experience, and increased security. The top five mobile key systems are great vendors to begin your search, and you can quickly narrow down your options if you’re looking for a vendor with both hardware and software products, or if you want to pair new software with existing door locks. After the implementation process, you’ll be on your way to realizing the benefits that a mobile key system can provide.

Investing in cloud-based access control systems is a strategic move for hotels in 2024. Such systems enhance the guest experience by streamlining check-in processes, allowing hotel guests to bypass the front desk and directly access their guest rooms using a mobile key. This keyless entry is facilitated through RFID or Bluetooth technology, where a smartphone can function as a smart card, negating the need for physical keys or traditional lock mechanisms. The functionality of these hotel access control systems extends beyond convenience to offer robust security solutions. For instance, electronic locks equipped with a card reader for RFID card or smart card use can be monitored in real-time, providing hotel management with instant data on room access.

This integration with property management systems (PMS) allows for seamless access management and the adjustment of permissions, ensuring that only authorized hotel staff and guests can enter certain areas. RFID technology also mitigates security risks associated with lost room keys by enabling immediate deactivation of a lost key card from the management system, thereby offering hoteliers peace of mind concerning hotel security. The automation capabilities of these systems mean that they can interface with various hotel management platforms, simplifying tasks for hotel staff and reducing the chances of human error. Providers of such advanced security systems, like ASSA ABLOY, offer a range of products including smart locks and hotel door lock solutions that integrate with existing hotel lock systems, enhancing overall functionality.

The shift towards contactless and keyless solutions reflects the broader trends in the hospitality industry towards digital transformation and heightened security measures. Finally, adopting these access control solutions positions a hotel as a forward-thinking establishment that prioritizes guest access and convenience, which can significantly elevate the overall guest experience. In an era where guests are increasingly tech-savvy and concerned about hygiene and contactless options, a hotel room that can be accessed via a digital key or mobile key resonates with customer expectations. Moreover, the biometric options further personalize guest access, reinforcing the hotel's commitment to modernization and individualized service.

Cloud-based access control systems offer the dual benefits of enhanced guest experience and improved hotel security, with added advantages in operational efficiency and management for the hospitality industry.

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Jordan Hollander
Jordan is the co-founder of Hotel Tech Report, the hotel industry's app store where millions of professionals discover tech tools to transform their businesses. He was previously on the Global Partnerships team at Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Prior to his work with SPG, Jordan was Director of Business Development at MWT Hospitality and an equity analyst at Wells Capital Management. Jordan received his MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management where he was a Zell Global Entrepreneurship Scholar and a Pritzker Group Venture Fellow.