Hotel Keyless Entry: The New Hospitality Standard in 2023

Keyless hotel entry is no longer just a nice bonus offered by chains like the Accor Group and Hilton. To reduce costs, manage staff challenges and ensure every guest has a great arrival, it’s a must for boutique hotels, too.  

Your teams need to be able to reduce front desk lines and administrative tasks and instead focus on helping guests.  

As the lines between short-term rentals and hotels blur, keyless access is part of the digitized and autonomous experience guests increasingly expect—by providing it to them, you’ll get better reviews, be able to streamle your operations, and be more competitive as a result. 

In this article, we explore the advantages of keyless entry before looking at how implementing this technology has transformed three hotels. We’ll also show how you can upgrade your locks and guest experience for a fraction of the normal cost.

Connect your operations

Turn your existing door locks into keyless locks without the cost or hassle of replacing any hardware

Advantages of keyless entry for hotels

Keyless entry simplifies your operations and opens the opportunity for you to automate related tasks. It allows you to:

  • Create a streamlined, automated check-in workflow
  • Meet modern guest expectations
  • Reduce the workload of the front desk
  • Gain visibility over unit access

In this section, we explore how.


Create a streamlined, automated check-in workflow

Being easy and efficient for guests and your team, a frictionless check-in is the hallmark of a modern hotel experience. With Operto, check-in automation works like this:

Our software, Operto Guest, connects with your smart locks and PMS. Then, when you receive a booking, it automatically sends your guest a link to your branded web app. From here, guests can verify their identity and complete a security deposit in the app. Then, when their check-in time comes around, your guest’s access details are activated so they can go straight to their room as soon as they arrive.


Meet modern guest expectations

With the merging of the hotel and short-term rental markets, guests are looking for increased flexibility and autonomy in their hotel stays. This means not having to queue in long lines at check-in and being able to independently access all the information they need. 

By combining mobile access with a check-in app that delivers a great guest experience, you can also engage guests pre-stay. For example, Operto allows you to create digital guidebooks with information about arrival and parking, Wi-Fi codes, links to local services, and more.

Screenshot of Operto Guest’s smart buttons.

Include smart buttons with links to local services like guided tours inside Operto’s guidebooks.

Reduce the workload of the front desk

If you’re struggling to staff your front desk, you can’t afford to have your team tied up with manual processes like managing keycards and checking guests in. With keyless access, they’ll no longer have to swipe, give out, or replace keys, and they can instead focus on providing the attentive service your guests expect. 

That reduced workload also makes it easier for your existing team to train any new staff. And keyless access software is much easier to learn than manual check-in procedures.  

Gain visibility over unit access

Great front desk software allows you to easily track occupancy and manage room access across your hotel. This means you can see who’s already checked in to their room, and, if an issue like a broken lamp occurs, you’ll be able to investigate how it might have happened. 

You can also combine occupancy insights with other software to improve operational efficiency and cut costs. For example, inside Operto, you can access team management and tech solutions to:  


  • Auto-generate tasks based on your team’s schedule and guest check-out information
  • Save money on energy by automatically turning off smart thermostats when a guest leaves 
  • Centralize team communications to quickly resolve issues
Screenshot of Operto Teams scheduling software

Optimize your team’s schedules automatically with Operto Teams

Cutting-edge tech that makes upgrading hotel locks easy

If you're considering implementing keyless access, you're probably concerned about the cost of installing new locks

With Operto Boost, however, you can implement keyless access without having to change any hardware. By retrofitting your locks with a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) chip, you can:

  • Instantly grant mobile access after an installation time of just 15 minutes

  • Avoid maintenance and installation costs

  • Avoid the issue of having to replace your door or parts to meet fire code regulations 

  • Ensure high-level security 

  • Gain access to a suite of guest experience and management tools

Image of the Operto Boost Smart Chip and mobile app

Create a great first impression and cement your brand with Operto’s check-in experience

Three examples of hotels benefitting from keyless entry

Want to see how keyless access works in practice? Here, we take a look at how three successful hotels are utilizing it. 

Mint House: Ensuring optimal efficiency for business travelers  

“It’s always been our mission to fundamentally improve the lives of road warriors who are tired of the legacy, box-like hotel... Mint House’s model has proven to be ahead of its time as our tech-driven concept offers a safe, reliable option.” Will Lucas, CEO and Founder, Mint House.

A kitchen at Mint House

Mint House is designed to give business travelers an easy, long-term stay with all the amenities they need

Units designed for fuss-free remote work

Mint House was created to offer the ease and comfort of home, alongside the perks of a great hotel experience. Aimed at business travelers and remote workers, each property is designed to enable people to work productively and enjoy the property independently for long periods of time.  

So, with the assistance of tech including Operto automation, they’ve created a consistently high-quality, frictionless guest experience at an affordable cost. From pre-stocked fridges to smart thermostat control, people have access to all the amenities they need for an easy and autonomous stay. And, with these solutions, Mint House keeps initial costs down so they can offer great long-term rates. 

Amazing ratings and guest reviews

With an average 5-star rating for several of their properties on TripAdvisor, Mint House clearly delivers on its promise to guests. In reviews, remote workers and business travelers describe the ease of their stay and the convenience of being given everything they need upon arrival.

Screenshot of a review of Mint Hotel

With digital solutions, you can reduce your staff numbers and still leave your guests feeling they’ve had great service

Annex Hotel: Optimizing the guest experience with no front desk

“When guests arrive all they have to do is place their palm over a keypad and enter a code and they're given access to the room. It's always fun to watch people when they first realize how simple it is.” Ryan Killeen, General Manager, Annex Hotel.

A guest room at The Axnnex Hotel

The Annex Hotel has a minimalist interior that complements its stripped-back digital approach

Early adopters of self check-in technology

Annex Hotel was ahead of the curve when it came to keyless access, setting up with no front desk and working with Operto to enable guests to check in themselves. This, alongside fast Wi-Fi, smart thermostats, and other low-touch features, enables a seamless arrival and in-stay experience. 

The hotel also focuses on creating the experience of “living like a local.” By giving guests everything they need to enjoy an autonomous stay, and the ability to text staff for neighborhood insights, they allow people to enjoy a trip that bears many similarities to that of a tech-enabled short-term rental.


Fewer staff and greater savings 

As well as giving them a 9/10 average review score on Expedia, this technology-first approach has streamlined The Annex’s operations and reduced costs. They now need just one staff member per 24 rooms and save more than $122,000 each year on front desk staff.

The June Motel: 

When Melanie Bible, Central Services Lead at the June, recently spoke with us about software solutions, she said:

“We do not staff our front desks overnight but this has no impact on late arrivals who can digitally check in and access their room without having to pick up a key. Our rooms department [is] notified through Operto the moment a guest has checked out of their room using their unique checkout code, preventing any delay between a guest leaving and a room being cleaned.”

An image of the pool at the June Motel

The pool is just one aspect of the June that elevates it beyond the average motel

A modern motel experience

The June Motel is not a typical motel. It was created to stand out from the crowd with its creative designs and vibrant, retro lodging experience. But it still comes up against all the same challenges typical motels and hotels do—the need to keep costs down, provide staff with a positive working experience, and coordinate check-ins 24 hours a day. 

With keyless access, the June Motel is able to accept last-minute bookings with no staff at the front desk. They can also deliver a great, digitized experience that sets them apart from the crowd even further. Keyless access means guests can check straight in after a long journey, and enjoy an easy stay from start to finish.  

Fame and loyal guests 

The June Motel has attracted a loyal base of customers as a result of its great guest experience and Instagrammable features, and its rooms are often sold out as a result. In fact, the motel is so popular that in 2021 it was given its own Netflix show, Motel Makeover.

For more examples of how Operto’s keyless access is transforming hotel operations, check out our conversations with Prague Residencies who went from four check-in desks to one, and Roomza who eliminated front desks altogether.

Future-proofing your hotel with keyless access

Whether it’s through a high-tech, low-touch experience like the Annex Hotel, a convenience-first stay like Mint House, or the luxury feel of the June Motel, keyless access has a critical role to play in your delivering a contemporary guest experience.

Yet, digital check-in is no longer grounds to stand out. Hotels of all sizes are turning to contactless solutions to help them solve labor shortages and keep costs down, which is making keycard locks look increasingly outdated in comparison. 

Put simply, keyless access allows you to:

  • Provide a streamlined check-in experience

  • Meet modern guest expectations

  • Reduce pressure on your front desk

  • Gain real-time insights into occupancy 

  • Integrate with additional software to optimize operations

And, with Operto Boost, you can now access this technology—by fitting smart chips into your existing locks, and so making mobile self check-in achievable at scale.

Connect your operations

Turn your existing door locks into keyless locks without the costs or hassle of replacing any hardware.