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February 2024

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The evolution of the hotel room key

First with a thick and heavy tag so that you don’t lose it and forget it when checking out, then as a kind of punched tape card, followed by a card with a magnetic stripe, a chip card and now – virtual.

We have to go to the Netherlands for a family matter and we need a hotel at short notice. Using one of the reservation sites we find one in a nearby small town, Schagen.

Expectations are low, this is not a tourist hotspot. I was all the more pleasantly surprised when I received a text message straight after booking: “Welcome to our hotel. Here are your keys for Room XXX.”

A link follows, clicking on it opens a website that summarizes everything you need to know about the hotel and the surrounding area, from shopping to parking, and where there is a “Room Control” item. If you then stand in front of the room door, you can use a sliding switch to unlock the door via Bluetooth, and you can control everything your heart desires in the room: open/close the curtains, open/close the windows, turn the lights on/off/dim, adjust the temperature . Another point “Invite your roommates” allows you to pass on the key to other roommates. WiFi is available via the start screen of the switched on television, where there is a QR code in the bottom right corner. Scan and you’re on really fast Wi-Fi. If you want to check out, you can do so via the website, and if you check out earlier than allowed, you will receive a code for a discount on your next booking. The guest service effort for the hotel is limited to “Welcome” upon arrival. Please click the link in your message!” and in the evening you can buy a bottle of wine – of course also paid for contactlessly with your Apple Watch.

(Wolfgang Kunckel)

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