As more and more hoteliers look for ways to enhance their sustainability programs, "green guestroom access" should be a priority on the list of things to consider. Over the past few years, the hospitality industry has seen a much increased effort at sustainability knowing that people care about the environment. "Green" hotels, green organizations, green certification programs, green hotel school courses and green industry events have been developed to make a positive impact on the environment and reduce the industry's carbon footprint, each adopting programs for energy management, waste management, lighting, water conservation, heating and cooling, cleaning and maintenance, air quality, kitchen and laundry, design and even sales and marketing. Recyclable keycards and those made of more sustainable materials are recent green components introduced for the betterment of the environment.
Because traditional plastic or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) keycards are extremely ecologically unfriendly, companies have developed ways to replace PVC with wood, corn plastic and paperboard materials. While these are definitely improvements, they come with their own set of issues. The "greenest" way on the planet to access a guestroom is with Mobile Key by OpenWays because it is made only of data. OpenWays is the hospitality industry's first front-desk bypass solution that delivers a new option for sustainability by dematerializing keys and cards and replacing them with an acoustic credential that is sent over the air to any of the 6 billion mobile phones in the world.
"Offering the option of Mobile Key enables hotels to make a significant contribution to the environment," said Pascal Metivier, OpenWays Founder and CEO. "We commend those companies leading the effort towards making keycards sustainable, but depending on the material used, there are limitations. Biodegradable keycards, for example, can take 18 months to five years to decompose, and there are concerns with paperboard and wood keycards bending and breaking, especially if they get wet."
According to the U.S. Travel Data Center, 43 million U.S. travelers are "ecologically concerned," and as such hoteliers should be doing everything possible to attract this demographic. These consumers – whether traveling for business or leisure -- are especially interested in staying at a hotel that puts the environment first. In fact, Green Lodging News reported that by 2011 approximately 4,271 U.S. hotels have earned some type of "green certification."
Jungsun (Sunny) Kim, an assistant professor for the hospitality program at Texas Tech University's College of Human Sciences, and Daniel Connolly, associate dean for undergraduate programs at the University of Denver's Daniels College of Business, had this to say in a January 2012 article published in Hospitality Technology magazine titled: "How IT Can Go Green": "The focus on sustainability or 'going green' is quickly becoming a major trend. In the world of information technology (IT), the green movement is taking shape. There are numerous opportunities for IT professionals to take leadership roles in helping their organizations adopt sustainable practices. Serving guests through digital signage, smart phones to replace key cards, and e-mail to reduce paper flow are also great ways to conserve resources, save money and have a positive impact on guest service and the overall guest experience."
"The benefits of using a mobile key vs. a physical key card of any type are three fold," Connolly said. "First, using a smart phone as the guestroom key provides a great way to re-architect guest service; guests can check in on the go and bypass the front desk to avoid lines and proceed straight to their rooms upon arrival. Second, it's a bona fide way to protect the environment because there are no additional physical materials needed for the room key. Third, it's an excellent way to add more convenience to the overall guest experience. Certainly, it is worth considering this technology when the time comes to replace an existing locking system."
In another article titled: "Increasing Number of Suppliers Now Offering Green Key Cards," published by Green Lodging News, it was reported that a typical 200-room hotel encodes and distributes approximately 12,000 plastic keys per year, as desk clerks typically code two to four keys per check-in. The article reported that most hotel guests don't return their cards for reuse or recycling. That means many non-biodegradable key cards wind up in landfills each year. Multiplying this factor across the landscape of American hotels, more than 1,300 tons of plastic become waste each year in the United States alone.
"Guestroom access has undergone a steady transformation over the past 20 years," Metivier said. "Years ago there was no high tech security like there is today; there were traditional keys for locks and doors. Then came the advent of keycards made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) that relies on harmful petroleum -- and today these ecologically unfriendly PVC-based cards make up the majority of keys in the marketplace."
In addition to the green benefits of Mobile Key by OpenWays, other advantages include:
- OpenWays is 100% compatible with ALL cell phones and network technologies;
- It is extremely user friendly and highly secure;
- It is simple to operate for all users because it leverages what people already know to do with their phone;
- It aids in a hotel's e-marketing efforts by providing a vehicle for continual communications with the guest before, during and after his/her stay;
- It helps hotels to deploy value-added mobile applications
- It can be retrofitted to the major electronic locks on the market;
"OpenWays does far more than just allowing hotel guests to use their cell phones -- rather than a plastic key card -- to securely open their room doors," Metivier said. "It opens new avenues of communication between the hotel and its guests. With Mobile Key, guests are empowered to control their hotel experience and simultaneously make a direct contribution to the environment. Hotels looking to fine tune their mobile strategies and sustainability programs in 2012 and beyond need to embrace Mobile Key by OpenWays. It's 'key' to a greener earth, better guest service and heightened satisfaction -- especially for those ecologically-concerned travelers and hotels."
OpenWays is a global solutions provider of mobile-based access-management and security solutions. With offices in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seoul and in Europe, OpenWays provides technology solutions allowing for the secure issuance and delivery of access rights and keys processed via any cell phone operating on any network. The OpenWays solution is truly unique as it is built on the concept of credential dematerialization. The OpenWays mobile room key solution works on ALL the 7 billion cell phones in service in the world today. For more information, please contact Barb Worcester at +1 440 930-5770 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can be found by visiting www.OpenWays.com.