Luxurious amenities, ideal location, responsive service and fine dining are just some of the features of a first class hotel. First impressions can change quickly, however, if guests must wait in long queues when reception staff is slowed by additional chores such as dispensing and recording building keys used by maintenance or housekeeping.
At the four-star Birmingham Marriott Hotel in Birmingham, England, hotel management has moved to ensure an exceptional first impression by removing this task from reception staff. Now, authorized maintenance and housekeeping staff access keys from a Morse Watchmans KeyWatcher key control system, located away from the public eye. The system automatically documents all activity so management has an accurate record of who accessed keys and when.
“A lot of paper work and time was needed with the manual system of signing keys in and out,” said Steve Hargreaves, Assistant Director of Finance, Birmingham Marriott Hotel. “By installing the KeyWatcher system, reception no longer has to manage this process and they have more time to better serve our guests.”
The KeyWatcher cabinet installed at the hotel is designed with a biometric (fingerprint) access interface. Once the biometric information has been verified, the cabinet unlocks and keys can be removed or returned. Each individual key is secured to a SmartKey® locking mechanism which readily accommodates both hard keys and plastic key cards. The mechanism features a built-in memory chip; data from the chip is stored every time a key is inserted into a key slot, providing a remotely accessible data trail for every key in the system.
Mr. Hargreaves comments that reports generated by the KeyWatcher system are very useful for tracking key usage and in improving overall operational and security procedures. He says, “We utilize various reports to trace missing keys, keep better control of assets and help ensure timely follow-up action if there is an incident.”
The automated KeyWatcher management system cannot be manipulated or easily tampered with and provides the hotel with a safe secure method of storing and tracking keys. For example, personnel cannot exchange keys during or at the end of a shift because the key management system will notate that a key was not returned or that it was returned by another user.
“The system not only keeps the keys much safer than our previous manual system, but it also makes staff more responsible for their department keys,” adds Mr. Hargreaves.
While other key management systems available on the market were reviewed, Mr. Hargreaves selected the Morse Watchmans solution based on a variety of considerations including price, performance and ease of use. He notes that the company’s reputation for quality and service also was a leading factor.
He says, “The system has exceeded all of our expectations. It’s very easy to use and Morse Watchmans has been extremely responsive to and patient with our requests.”