Types of Keys in Hotel || Housekeeping


Handling the Keys it is most important factor in hotel. Generally Housekeeping and Front office department responsible for key control.

So the in this article we will discuss different types of keys in hotel and their control.

Different types of keys in hotel

Different types of keys in Hotel

  • Emergency Key
  • Master Keys
  • Guestroom Keys
  • Supply Keys
  • Card Keys

1. Emergency Key

This key opens all the doors, even those that the guests have double-locked.


In addition, it also double- locks the room against all other keys. Hence, the emergency key should be well-protected.

It should be stored in a secure place such as the hotel safe, a safe-deposit box, or a metal cabinet that only the general manager or the security officer can access.

Its use should occur only in emergency situations such as a fire or when a guest or employee is locked in a room and needs immediate assistance.

Most employees personnel do not use emergency keys on a day-to-day basis.

2. Master Keys

These keys open all guestroom doors that are not double-locked. 


They are separated into four different types of keys.

a. Grandmaster Key – This key opens all hotel guestrooms and often all housekeeping storage rooms as well.

It can also double-lock a room if access to it has to be denied.

This key can be used in emergency situations when it is vital for a manager to enter some or all areas of the hotel.

It is itself kept under lock-and-key at the front desk of hotels.

b. Pass Key/Master key – This key is kept by the deputy or assistant housekeeper and will open any internal door that has not been double-locked.


c. Sub-Master/Section Master Key – These keys open all rooms in one work section of a hotel.

A Supervisor may be issued more than one key of this type as he or she may be required to inspect the work of more than one GRA.

d. Floor Master Key – A GRA is given this key to open the rooms he or she is assigned to clean on a floor.

The floor key opens all rooms on a particular floor that are not double-locked.

If the employee has rooms to clean on more than one floor or area, he or she may need more than one floor key.

Floor keys typically open the storeroom for that floor too.

3. Guestroom Keys

These are keys issued to guests upon their registration.


The guestroom key opens a single guestroom so long as it is not double-locked. A code number representing the room number is typically stamped on the key.

A guestroom key not hanging on the key board should indicate that the guest is in the hotel.

4. Supply Keys

These keys are used within the servicing sector of the hotel by the supervisory-level staff to ensure that stocks and equipment are safely stored away when not in use.

Store keys, office keys, and linen room keys are examples of such keys.

5. Card Key

Card key use in Hotel

Many hotels now a days use the card key system.

This type of room-locking mechanisms uses regular door locks and special plastic cards that act as keys to unlock the doors.

The plastic cards look like credit cards with holes punched in them. Some have a magnetic strip instead of holes.


The system uses a computer that codes the cards to lock and unlock the doors. Rather than re-keying the door locks in case of loss of keys, the computer is used to create new room-lock codes for each room.


Key handling procedure in Hotel

Issuing keys – Guestroom keys are issued to guests upon check-in. These keys should be kept confidential and should not be spoken aloud. Guests should be instructed to return their keys to the front desk when they leave the hotel.

Collecting keys – At the end of each shift, housekeeping staff should return all keys to the front desk. This includes guestroom keys, floor keys, and master keys.

Controlling master keys – Master keys in hotel should be kept in a secure location, such as a safe or key locker. Only authorized personnel should have access to master keys.

Handling lost keys – If a key is lost, it should be reported to the front desk immediately. The front desk will then contact the guest to arrange for a new key to be issued.

Key Control in Hotel

  • Before starting the daily routine duties, different keys are issued to different members of the department according to their duties and their area of work and responsibilities.
  • From security point of view the keys are very important for the security of guest belongings and hotel property, so the keys are issued to the responsible person before the shift starts and is received back at the end of the shift and key register is signed every time for receiving and issuing of keys.
  • All the keys are handled carefully and a proper control system is maintained by frontoffice and housekeeping department respectively.
  • Entry of keys is done in a register, before issuing and also after receiving it back so as to ensure proper check and control over keys.
  • It is necessary for security reasons and to avoid any theft and mishap etc.
  • Room keys are taken care by the front-office department.
  • Section/Sub-master key, pass key, floor master key are handled by the housekeeping department by desk control.
  • Emergency Key/Grandmaster key is generally held by the General manager/Executive Housekeeper/Rooms Division Manager or Duty Manager.
  • Extreme care taken by while handling this key.

Importance of key control in Hotel

It helps to protect guests and their belongings – When keys are properly controlled, it is less likely that unauthorized people will be able to access guest rooms or other sensitive areas of the hotel. This helps to protect guests from theft, vandalism, and other crimes.

Key control helps to protect the hotel’s assets – In addition to guest belongings, hotels also have a lot of valuable assets, such as cash, food, and equipment. Key control helps to protect these assets from theft and damage.

It helps to reduce liability risks – If a guest’s belongings are stolen because of poor key control, the hotel could be held liable. By implementing and enforcing good key control policies, hotels can help to reduce their liability risks.


Key control can help to improve efficiency and productivity – When keys are properly controlled, it is easier for hotel staff to do their jobs. This can lead to improved efficiency and productivity, which can save the hotel money.

Room Keys FAQ:

Can you keep hotel room keys?

Yes, you can keep hotel room keys. It is not illegal to do so, and most hotels do not have a policy against it. However, there are a few reasons why you might want to return your keys to the hotel.

Security – Hotel keys are coded to expire after your stay, so they will no longer work after you check out. However, if you keep your key, someone else could potentially use it to access your room.

Recycling – Many hotels recycle their old key cards, so by returning your key, you can help the environment.

Policy – Some hotels have a policy that guests must return their keys upon check-out. If you do not return your keys, the hotel may charge you a fee.

How to open or unlock a hotel safe Box ?

Enter the code – If you have already set a code for the safe, enter it into the keypad.

Check the override code –  Many hotel safes have an override code that can be used to open the safe if you forget your code. The override code is usually printed on the back of the safe or in the hotel’s welcome packet.

Call the front desk – If you cannot remember your code or the override code, call the front desk and ask for assistance. The front desk staff will be able to open the safe for you.


In this blog post, we have explored the different types of keys that are used in hotels. We have seen that there are a variety of keys, each with its own purpose. Guestroom keys allow guests to access their rooms, while master keys allow hotel staff to access all of the rooms in a particular area. Emergency keys can be used to access any room in the hotel, and supply keys are used to access storage areas.

No matter what the size or complexity of the hotel, the types of keys used are essential for ensuring the security and safety of guests and staff. By understanding the different types of keys and their purposes, you can help to ensure that your hotel is secure and that your guests feel safe.


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