Marriott Maracay Golf Resort Brings RFID-Based Security to Locks, Safes

The historical Venezuelan hotel has deployed an HF RFID- and ZigBee-based solution from ASSA ABLOY that manages guests' access to their rooms, and to the safes within those rooms, while detecting unusual activity and helping employees identify any guests who have forgotten items in their safe.
Published: October 16, 2018

In December 2017, Venezuela’s Marriott Maracay Golf Resort launched a comprehensive, RFID-based door and safe access-control system that is intended to ensure automated and secure access to both guest rooms and the safes in which guests store their valuables. The resort reports that the system helps guarantee high occupancy based on guest satisfaction, and that it reduces the risk of losses in the case of travelers leaving valuables in the safes. The solution consists of VingCard Signature RFID, Visionline and Elsafe Zenith Safes, provided by ASSA ABLOY Hospitality.

The system has helped the resort manage guests’ access to their rooms and the safes within those rooms.

Marriott Maracay Golf Resort, designated as a national historical monument, is a luxury hotel built in central Venezuela in 1957. The resort is surrounded by 16 hectares (39.5 acres) of open area with an 18-hole golf course, as well as the Henri Pittier National Park. The hotel recently underwent renovations that maintained the original building architecture from the 1950s, but with some 21st-century upgrades.

The hotel took advantage of the renovation to update its key-card and security technologies. By upgrading its access-control system, it could offer guests greater convenience and peace of mind, says Jose Subero, Marriott Maracay’s general manager. The resort was already familiar with the RFID-based technology, Subero says, as the other four Marriott properties in Venezuela all use VingCard devices. “So it’s been a matter of continuing with our brand preference based on a reliable technical support,” he states.

The new system consists of ASSA ABLOY’s VingCard Signature RFID door locks, installed at each guest room. The locks, designed and manufactured by the technology company, come with built-in readers for 13.56 MHz HF RFID cards compliant with the ISO 15693 standard, according to Markus Boberg, ASSA ABLOY Hospitality’s senior VP of commercial excellence. They can also accomplish NFC reads, enabling NFC transmissions from a device such as a cellphone.

Inside each room is an RFID-enabled Elsafe Zenith safe with a built-in HF RFID reader that can be used by the same RFID key card employed at the guest door, to provide the guest with automatic room and safe access. Additionally, the company is using VingCard Visionline, a ZigBee-based solution or managing data from both the VingCard guest door locking system and the electronic safes.

With a ZigBee unit (manufactured by ASSA ABLOY) on each floor, the system can capture data from every safe and door lock, as well as manage that data on the hotel’s server. In that way, the resort has access to information about any unexpected behavior, such as someone attempting to use his or her card on multiple guest room doors, or on an unauthorized safe. When guests check in at the resort, they are assigned a key card with a built-in RFID tag that has a unique ID number encoded on it. They can then simply place their card within the proximity of their room’s door lock.

Jose Subero

Alternatively, a user could sign up for the ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access app on his or her mobile phone. When the individual checked in, the app would collect that person’s room key information and phone number, then transmit the unique ID via NFC technology when interrogated by the lock’s NFC reader. Thus, no room key is necessary. Once inside the room, the guest can use the key card or mobile phone to unlock the safe.

With Visionline, there is greater functionality for the guest as well. For instance, Boberg says, guests can change their reservation or room assignment without requiring a new key card. They can simply use the app or talk to hotel personnel to have their stay extended, or to change a room. The Visionline software then updates the key-card data so that the key or phone can continue to be used according to that changed reservation.

Markus Boberg

Additionally, Boberg says, “When connected to Visionline, hoteliers have the option of allowing guests to gain access [to their safe] using either a PIN-code or RFID key card.” If a visitor forgets his or her PIN, he or she can simply make a request at the front desk, or through the app, and hotel management can then unlock the safe remotely. Managers can also use Visionline to quickly identify any guests who may have left items behind in the safe upon checking out, and send a message via text or e-mail alerting them that their belongings have been located.

Since the system was taken live in December, Subero says, “We expect to bring complete guest satisfaction,” as well as simplify and strengthen security control—all, he says, with “a hassle-free operation.” The support service has been imperative for the resort as well, he notes, adding, “The local qualified and certified tech support is of great help.”