From Keycards to AI Concierges: Understanding the Evolution of Hotel Technology

Welcome to the exciting world of hotel technology, where keycards have transformed into AI concierges! Over the years, hotels have undergone a remarkable evolution in their use of technology to enhance guest experiences and streamline operations. Gone are the days when a simple keycard was your only interaction with hotel tech. Today, cutting-edge advancements like artificial intelligence and machine learning are revolutionizing the way we check in, order room service, and even personalize our stays. So sit back, relax, and join us on a journey through time as we unravel the fascinating story behind the evolution of hotel technology.


Hotel technology has come a long way in the last few decades. From keycards to AI concierges, understanding the evolution of hotel technology can provide insight into how hotels are operated today and how they will be operated in the future.

Keycards were first introduced in hotel rooms in the early 1970s. They were used to open doors and check out, and they were typically inserted into a keycard reader located on the wall near the door. Keycards were initially unpopular because guests had to carry them around with them, and they could be lost or stolen.

In 1985, when electronic key cards became available, they became much more popular because they eliminated the need for guests to carry around keys. Electronic key cards also allowed hotels to track guest movements throughout the hotel room and prevent guests from staying in a particular room beyond their allotted time limit.

The advent of computerized reservation systems (CRSs) in the late 1980s allowed hotels to generate reservations for their guests through a computer system. CRSs enabled hotels to keep track of customer preferences and allergies, as well as inventory levels at different locations across the country. This information is used by hotels to make better decisions about where to allocate resources (e.g., staffing levels), which helps them maintain a competitive edge over their rivals.

In 2002, hoteliers began using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to interact with their guests. Mobile devices allowed hoteliers to provide faster service delivery.

History of Hotel Technology

The history of hotel technology is a long and varied one, with many advances made over the years. From keycards to AI concierges, understanding the evolution of hotel technology can help make your stay more comfortable.

The first form of hotel technology was keycards. Keycards were used to open doors and access rooms and were typically carried by staff members. They were relatively simple devices, consisting of a card with a magnetic strip on it and a reader that could be attached to a door or counter.

One of the earliest examples of keycard technology was at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, which installed keycard readers in 1924. The first hotel to use electronic keys was the Sheraton-Carlton in Dallas, Texas, which installed keycard readers in 1955.

Although keycards remained popular for some time after their introduction, they began to be replaced by more advanced forms of hotel technology in the 1970s and 1980s. One example of this was the introduction of contactless cards, which allowed guests to enter hotels without having to carry their keys around with them.

Another major advance in hotel technology was Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi allows guests to access internet content inside hotels without having to go outside or use separate networks. This has been an essential part of modern hotels since their inception, and most now offer free Wi-Fi throughout their facilities.

In 1998, AccorHotels became the first hotel chain to offer free Wi-Fi to all of its guests. Today, most major hotel chains offer free Wi-Fi to their guests in some form or another.

Computerized Reservations
Computerized reservations were first introduced in the early 1990s by a company called Sabre. At the time, they were one of the only companies that were able to offer this type of technology, and it quickly became popular among hotels.

Today, computerized reservations are a standard feature of most hotels, and they allow guests to make reservations online or through an automated telephone system. This is often easier than making reservations through human operators, and it can save you time and money.

Room Service
One of the main benefits of modern hotel technology is the ability to order food and drinks from room service without having to leave your room. This is a popular option among tourists who want to avoid getting up early in the morning for breakfast or dinner.

Room service has become increasingly sophisticated over the years, and many hotels now offer a range of different types of food and drinks. This makes it easy for guests to find something that they will enjoy, no matter what their preferences may be.

How does Hotel Technology Work?

Hotel technology has evolved significantly over the years, from traditional keycards to more sophisticated systems that use artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and improve Guest experiences. Here’s a look at how these technologies work and how they’ve helped hotels stay ahead of the curve.

Traditional keycards: Keycards are still a common way to access rooms and check in at many hotels, but they’ve been slowly replaced by more advanced systems that use RFID (radio frequency identification) technology. RFID tags are embedded in the cards, and when Guests swipe their card through an RFID reader, the tag communicates information about the card—including its identity—to the system. This system is more secure than traditional keycard systems because it prevents Guests from accessing rooms they don’t have permission to enter.

Keycard systems can also be used to manage reservations and check-in for groups of Guests. For example, a hotel might use keycard technology to automatically add guests who check in for a reservation online or via phone to a group reservation so they can all get started immediately without having to wait in line.

RFID readers: Hotel RFID readers are usually located near entrances or check-in areas, so they can easily read tags embedded in Guests’ cards. The information captured by an RFID reader includes not only the identity of the cardholder but also any information stored on the card, such as room numbers or credit card numbers.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Hotel Technology

As hotel technology evolves, so do the ways guests can be entertained and assisted while staying in a hotel. From traditional keycards to automated check-in and check-out processes, today’s hotels offer a range of technology options that can make your stay more comfortable and convenient.

However, while these features are often convenient and helpful for guests, they also come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we’ll take a look at the different types of hotel technology available today, as well as some of the benefits and drawbacks associated with each option.

Traditional Keycards: The Basic Method of Hotel Entry

Perhaps the most basic form of hotel technology is traditional keycards—physical cards that guests use to access rooms or other areas of the hotel. While they may seem outdated by today’s standards, keycards are still widely used in many hotels around the world because they are simple to use and reliable.

One downside of keycard systems is that they can be cumbersome for guests who need to carry multiple cards around with them during their stay. Additionally, if a guest loses their card or it becomes damaged, they may have difficulty entering the hotel or accessing certain areas.

Automated Check-In and Check-Out Systems: Making Checking In and Out Easier

Today’s automated check-in and check-out systems are arguably the most common forms of hotel technology out there. These systems allow guests to


Hotel technology has evolved over the years, from simple keycards to more advanced systems that allow for AI concierges. As the industry continues to change and advance, hotel guests need to be aware of the different types of technology available and understand how each one works to make the most informed choices when choosing a hotel. In this article, we have explored the different types of hotel technology available and outlined their benefits and drawbacks. We hope you find this article useful as you begin your quest for the perfect hotel stay!

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