HOSPA IT Members Meeting “Technology & Tradition” 21st Sept. Rubens Hotel

Free to attend : Venue : Rubens Hotel 21st September 6.30pm to 9.00pm (Drinks and Canopies on arrival)

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Opposite Buckingham Palace, The Rubens Hotel is a fusion of traditional luxury and all the comforts the modern traveler demands. Exceeding expectations at every turn, the team at the historic hotel take pride in delivering impeccable service. It’s top floor houses Hotel 41, which takes luxury to another level.

Come and hear how the Rubens and Hotel 41 meet the challenges of blending traditional service with cutting edge technology that the modern traveller demands.

As technology becomes more and more critical to the hotelier, our free to attend event provides you with an unprecedented opportunity to find out what technology your guests really want and critically what they don’t want.

 

HOSPACE 2016, See you there!

As usual we are looking forward to catching up with everyone at HOSPACE, which is being held on the 10th November at T5 this year.

There is an insightful programme of events at HOSPACE this year, from a Debate on the Value of Brands, to the Complexities of Attracting and Retaining Good Staff. We will also discuss Brexit and it’s affect on hospitality as well as Sustainability and Technology whilst making sure we are all up to date on Industry trends.

Look through the full programme HERE

 

Keystep Solutions celebrates 10 year anniversary as leader in IT Support to the Hospitality and Retail Industries

Keystep SolutionsKeystep Solutions Limited, a leader in IT Support for shops, retail outlets, hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, pubs and leisure complexes marks the companies 10th year anniversary of its founding.

In 2005, Andrew Evans – an IT Director with over 2 decades of experience in hospitality – established Keystep Limited, an independent support company, differentiating it by providing expert and impartial advice and delivering a higher quality of service than he’d experienced during his 20 years as a customer using such IT Support companies.

Starting out in a small office, Andrew focussed on providing great customer service and IT solutions that many other IT companies did not promote or were unable to design. Initially concentrating on upgrading, implementing and supporting EPoS solutions, the company expanded its services and now also offers electronic door locking solutions, IT Support and helpdesk services.

Outsourcing IT Support allows Keystep’s customers to focus on what they do best – enhance their customer’s experience. Today, Keystep’s solutions provide the backbone support of many premier brands within the hospitality and retail sectors.

Throughout those initial years, Keystep’s clients enjoyed the honest approach and reliability of the technical solutions implemented. As word spread, it became clear that in order to maintain a high quality service and to be able to respond to the rapidly increasing client base, Keystep would need to expand.

From a team of 2, the company has expanded its workforce to 25 strong, and has recently moved into purpose built offices. A recent acquisition of NuFocus Limited, an IT organisation with vast experience of server and desktop support, has provided Keystep with the technical skills to fulfil its ambitions to expand its IT Support options, offering a one-stop-shop for customers looking for a complete service wrap for all their IT Systems. With offices in the East Midlands, Glasgow and London, Keystep services clients across the UK, the Channel Islands and in mainland Europe.

Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Evans said: “Keystep’s 10th anniversary is a tremendous milestone for the company. Over the past ten years, we’ve built up amazing relationships with our clients and worked on some great projects, becoming an integral part of their teams. I am immensely proud to have achieved this milestone, so to Keystep’s employees, customers and business partners, thank you for your dedication and loyalty. It has been a wonderful decade of achievement, and I look forward to the next 10 years”.

 

About Keystep Keystep provides EPOS, access control systems, and IT Support & helpdesk services for hotels, hospitality and retail units in the UK and beyond.

Understanding the unique challenges hospitality and retail faces has enabled Keystep to accrue long standing relationships with clients such as Red Carnation Hotels, Principal Hayley, Shire Hotels, Hotel Du Vin and Tiger Retail.

For more information, please contact: Tanya Stadler, Marketing Officer tanya.stadler@keystep.co.uk

Office:  08443-510805

Mobile: 07834-599768

www.keystep.co.uk

 

Holiday Inn Lancaster Installs Opendoor Electronic Lock System


Holiday Inn Lancaster selects Keystep Opendoor

Holiday Inn Lancaster, part of the Kew Green Group, has selected Keystep Solutions Limited to replace their existing electronic door lock system with Keystep’s Opendoor solution.

From the moment a guest checks-in to a hotel, they expect the level of security in ‘their home away from home’ to be equalled to that of their own house.  Finding the magnetic keycard doesn’t let them into their room causes frustration, and often, a tiring trek back to reception to obtain a new keycard.  Failing keys are mostly caused by cards being placed near a mobile phone, or the magnetic strip getting old and worn out.  Keycard encoders at reception are vulnerable to spills, dirt and dust collecting in the mechanism, and these eventually become ineffective.

Holiday Inn Lancaster took the opportunity replace their old magnetic lock system once it became old and unreliable, replacing it with state of the art RFID technology, provided by Keystep.  Four major factors contributed to their decision:

  • It uses contactless radio frequency technology (RFID) – thus eradicating the magnetic strip issues.
  • Opendoor’s locks have an ingenious design that fit perfectly into the space left by the old locks leaving a clean and tidy finish with no re-decoration overheads.
  • All Keystep Opendoor locks come with a free lifetime software upgrade (back office and lock programme), and a 3 year warranty, something unheard of with other brands.
  • Replacing a like for like system with the old supplier would have cost significantly more.

Keystep’s fully managed installation – from site survey to fitting of 180 locks – took just 5 days.  Today, a support contract covers any technical queries – and implements those all important free software upgrades.

Andrew Evans, CEO of Keystep solutions Limited comments:  “Keystep’s Opendoor is one of the most cost effective access control systems on the market.  By utilising RFID, a miniature antennae is located inside the keycard, and transmits a signal to the proximity reader in the lock to allow entry.”

 

Considerations for other Opendoor options include:

Remote Access Readers

Mounted on door frames or walls for use on entrance doors or lifts – it allows simple but secure access to guests who wave their keycard across the reader for entry.

Converting Existing Magnetic Card Locks to RFID

If you currently have traditional magnetic strip card door locks and experience regular failures, it is likely the magnetic reader has lost sensitivity because of low ingress protection.

Keystep’s Opendoor conversion kit provides the option to keep your existing door furniture, by converting the lock mechanism to RIFD. Conversions provide a practical, cost effective, and simple solution that gives all the benefits of RFID technology without the overhead of replacing all the door handles in the building.

Swapping out the locking mechanism is a simple process that can be done by internal maintenance staff, or by Keystep.

New Doors

Keystep can also supply doors of any specification and finish with the routing already prepared for receiving a lock. We have a skilled team of joiners who can install door frames, doors and locks, providing you with a fully managed an end to end solution. This option is particularly attractive for those embarking on a new build project, or for organisations where a complete refurbishment programme is taking place.

 

Keystep Solutions same great service, just a bit bigger!

Keystep Solutions Keystep Limited and Nufocus Ltd. are joining to form a new company that will be called Keystep Solutions. Both companies are experts in the field of IT Support, each with more than 10 years’ experience of supporting Hospitality and Retail organisations

The combination of Keystep and Nufocus creates an exciting opportunity for both companies and for our customers” said Andrew Evans Chief Executive Officer, Keystep Solutions. “In addition to creating a company, which is totally dedicated to our customers, the combining of our resources allows us to provide greater reach in the UK and offer improved IT support to our customers. Its exciting times for the new company as our new products such as “OpenDoor” our electronic lock solution is being adopted by several hotel chains, it really offers an alternative to the systems that have not evolved for today’s tech savvy hotel guest.

Over the last few months we have moved to larger premises, the new location has increase office space, a large warehouse and loading bays. This has allowed us to start storing large amounts of equipment belonging to our customers and have dedicated hot staging areas for each customer.

It is our 10th year of trading, with us celebrating our birthday in September, we plan to hold a celebration and will be attending HOSPACE IT Conference in November for the 7th year on the run.

Opendoor is our new approach to hotel locking systems

Hotel Locks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are officially launching our new locking system at HOSPACE Conference and Exhibition, 20th of November 2014 at Sofitel London Heathrow. 

Our electronic locking system offers flexible and functional access control with a wide choice of software options. Both key cards and locks can be programmed to allow or restrict access to different parts of the building. The information stored in the key card can be transferred to a computer to provide precise audit trail information about where and when each lock has been used including the date, time and whether access was allowed or denied.

Key Features

· PMS Interface as standard

· Lifetime free software upgrades

· If replacing a Vingcard™ lock there is no need for any door alterations

· Cloud back up of the database

· All locks are RFID giving additional guest security

· The locks automatically deal with the changes to and from British Summer Time

· The locks do not lose their programming when the batteries go flat

· 3 year warranty on all door locks

· Room energy saving options and room automation

· Matching range of room safes

Hotel Locks Systems, don’t forget the clocks go back on Sunday

Door KeyChaos descended at the Marriott in Denver on the stroke of midnight on New Year eve as guests at the 628-room Marriott were locked out of their rooms when their electronic key cards stopped working – for a staggering three hours. Denver police were called to the hotel as fights broke out among frustrated guests. Now I appreciate this is an extreme example, but the Door Access system not working in your hotel is going to cause a lot of disruption to you and your guests, but hopefully not fighting!

The first mechanical reprogrammable card lock was invented in 1976 by Tor Sornes, who had worked for VingCard since the 1950s. The first card lock was installed in 1979 in the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, Atlanta, USA. This product triggered the evolution of electronic locks for the hospitality industry that we all take for granted every time we open a bedroom door in a hotel.

The manner in which you receive your guests expresses a great deal about how you value them and gives a first impression of the quality of service they can expect during their stay. Gone is the bulky room-key, and the risk that yesterday’s guest may return to attempt to gain access into the same room (along with the inconvenience and costs incurred to change the lock). Most establishments have overcome these issues by installing electronic locking systems that guarantee guest security and convenience. A magnetic card or RFID tag can be programmed for an individual for a specific period of time, making the card or tag invalid for use after the guest has checked out. An electronic locking system supports access to specific areas, and places restrictions based on each person’s need, whether they are paying guests, visitors, workmen or employees.

Let me dismiss an urban myth, there is no guest information or data stored on the magnetic key cards that are common in the UK, just a coded algorithm which is encrypted so it cant be read by just anyone. A card that works in one hotel will not open a door in another hotel as each hotel has a unique master system code.

Although there have been massive leaps in the technology the magnetic key card is still king and used by the majority of hotels in the UK. The reason being that it is incredible expensive to change every lock in a hotel for a newer system and will continue to be a barrier to advances such as guests using their mobile phone to open their hotel room in all but a small percentage of hotels in the UK.

Hotel guests want to feel safe and secure in their temporary home. Hotels have a duty to protect them. After all, the business depends upon them. Good security benefits everybody, hotel guests, staff and managers. When all staff take security seriously as a service, the result is a well run, efficient hotel with an excellent reputation and booming business. Security should be another guest service, just like the bar, restaurant, leisure club or turn-down service. It should not be seen as an overhead, but as a value-adding service, which can be used to promote the hotel as a safe haven and secure environment

Over the last year we have had an increase in enquires from hotels wanting help and advice to ensure they are following best practice. Many enquiries have come after an incident or breach in security including thefts from guest rooms. Security experts warn theft from guest’s rooms is on the increase due to the wide array of gadgets and devices guests now travel with laptops, tablets, mobile phones and not to mention the good old favourite’s passports and cash are easy pickings for a thief.

Many hotels see the door access system as just there to let guests in their rooms and do not actively manage the system. Due to the make up of the door entry system part mechanical, part IT system its responsibility can be difficult to pin point, is it maintenance, front desk or IT department and in many cases no one takes responsibility for this mission critical system. We have to look beyond “it’s just a system for letting guests in rooms” it is probably one of the most critical systems you have in your hotel after power and water!

Keystep’s Key Advice

 

Entrance and Exits

Minimise the number of entrances, one is preferable, although not always possible. Reducing the entrances allows owners, management and staff to monitor who is entering and leaving the hotel.

Emergency exits should be alarmed so that staff will be immediately notified if the door is opened or tampered with. Signs to this effect should be placed on emergency doors

 Staff Access Levels

Make sure staff only access the areas of the hotel they want and at the times they should. Don’t give all staff access to every area and at all times. There is a tendency to give staff access to all areas when they just don’t need it. When staff leave make sure you get their access card / tag back and cancel their access. Record the details in a log in case you have to investigate any incidents hotel.

What Time is it?

Ensure the time is correct on all the locks in the property. If you are in the UK you may have to set the time in your locks twice and year to cope with BST and GMT. If the time is incorrect any log information on who has used the lock will be useless in the event of an incident.

Emergency Access cards

Every door entry system has emergency cards, which are pre-made cards will allow you to let guests into rooms if there is a system fault or a power cut that prevents you cutting room keys. You should always keep your emergency keycards available and have a manual process for issuing the cards in the event of an incident. It is worth practicing the drill with staff in the same way you have a fire drill.

On some systems the emergency cards expire after a period of time so it’s critical to check they work every 6 months.

Well Maintained

Basic maintence is essential many of the electronic locks have batteries that should be changed before they go flat otherwise the lock will loose its programme. Cleaning of the Magnetic card reader will ensure guests are not fumbling to get into their rooms. Housekeeping should report any lock issues and clean the reader every month.

Master Keys

The traditional mechanical master key should be kept locked away in the safe at all times. It shouldn’t be on a bunch of keys even the maintenance managers. If you loose the master key your only option is to recode all the key barrels in the locks, which no one wants to, do.

Cards

Hotels want to enhance their brand by using guest key cards or access tags, but make sure staff cards are plain so if they are lost they cannot be linked to the hotel. If a guest brings a card back and says it doesn’t work, destroy the card and use a new one. Like everything the magnetic cards wear out over time and loose their magnetism. Any staff cards that are lost should be cancelled and details recorded in a log in case you have any incidents in the hotel.

Pubs need to go digital or miss out on the next generation of customers

Pub WifiPub operators must embrace digital technology or risk losing out on customers in years to come. Physical PR is dying. It’s all social media now and free internet is something customers expect! Digital technology and social media have become an increasingly important focus for pub companies. Today’s customers expect to be able to go online in social spaces; the pub is a key social space. It’s not just the young, but customers of all ages who want to go online and it is very important that pubs cater for this need.

Wireless internet in pubs is driving all the latest technology – jukeboxes with Spotify compatibility, for instance, which allow customers to access their own music library in the venue. This is a really exciting proposition – it makes customers feel at home in any site and promotes conversation – two important aspects for any pub wanting to build their trade.. Would you keep going back to a pub that has no Wi-Fi? You may want a break from work, but sometimes everyone needs get online!

It’s clear that young people use social media to inform their going out behaviour – and these customers have remained resilient and have gone out to eat and drink throughout the recession. Put simply, outlets who do not build relevant digital marketing into their business planning will not only be missing a trick, they will be missing customers.

Small hospitality business owners ‘too busy’ for significant personal occasions

300x200x761892_239345961-300x200_jpg_pagespeed_ic_XcNFD9D61U More than half (63%) of decision makers in small leisure  hospitality businesses are so busy that they are forced to miss significant personal occasions, while 70% of owners in the sector say running a business in the sector is a “constant challenge”.

That’s according to a YouGov survey, which also found that 42% of business owners say that running a small leisure and hospitality business is “exhausting”.

Significant personal occasions that hospitality business decision makers have missed due to the call of work include weddings, romantic anniversaries and engagements with their children. One in five have even had to sacrifice their own birthday celebration, in order to run their business.  To work in hospitality you have to be a special type of person who is willing to give everything to their job.

Card Clash! It could hurt your walet

11979892_xxlPeople may see money swiped off their new contactless cards and even run the risk of double-charging if they are not careful. At the moment the issue is most prevalent in London due to the use of Oyster Cards. It has emerged that several hundred people a year are unwittingly having their fare taken from their contactless card instead of their Oyster card. Who knows how many more haven’t spotted the small charge among the rest of the items on their bank or credit card statement?

While this “Card Clash” is currently seen as a problem for Londoners using buses and the tube, there have been reports that some Marks & Spencer and Pret A Manger customers have complained that payments had mistakenly been taken from their contactless cards when they did not intend to use them.

Was this what the experts meant when they said that the contactless revolution was going to “change the way we pay“. Our advice always take out the card you want to pay with out of your wallet or purse, but is touch that much quicker than Chip & Pin if you do that and for Oyster Card users is a real Inconvenience!