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Hotel Key Card to Turn on Lights, Why?
Old 11-30-2019, 09:28 AM   #1
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Hotel Key Card to Turn on Lights, Why?

In our hotel room, the lights don't work in the room unless you put (and leave) your key card in a little holder by the door:



What's the thinking? That you will take your card when you leave, and the lights will go off? If you remember to take it.

Perhaps that lets the front desk turn off the lights remotely?

The main result, is that you forget to take your card with you when you go to breakfast, etc. Better to have it in your pocket.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:38 AM   #2
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It might also control the air/heater.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:40 AM   #3
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These are very common. They control the electricity in the room, shutting everything down a short period after you pull the card out.

Among the things that shut down are the air conditioning and the outlet into which you have plugged your various device chargers. No charging for you, buster. The accountants win and the customer loses!

Often you can just put a business card into the slot. If you have two key cards, use one of them. If you have need for both cards, ask the front desk for a third.

I have an ironclad habit, honed over decades of traveling. Every single time I exit a hotel room I touch the card or key in my right front pocket. One reinforcing lesson I had was in the 1980s, a morning (false) fire alarm in a Holiday Inn in DC. As we were all milling around the lobby and getting the all clear to return to our rooms, a very embarrassed guy wearing nothing but a bath towel was getting a key to his room from the front desk. He had gone out in the hall to see what was going on and his room door had ... closed ... and ... locked ... behind him.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:40 AM   #4
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Europe has had that for at least a decade - energy savings.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:40 AM   #5
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Yes we had this a few weeks ago here, have had it in Europe for a long time and on a cruise ship.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:42 AM   #6
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One sure way to insure you turn off the lights?
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:42 AM   #7
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I first saw these in the 70ís in Brazil. They prevented the hotel guest from leaving the lights and a/c on when away from the room. Back then Brazil was suffering an energy crisis and it was a necessary measure. My guess is their primary purpose continues to be energy conservation.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:42 AM   #8
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Get used to it. It will spread. All about saving energy. It will be touted as a green feature.

This is common in parts of Europe. We cut out thin cardboard to make a fake key, and this worked. That way, DW could grab the key and go out while I stayed in the room. (They would not give us 2 keys.)

Funny story: our party was confused when we arrived. Nobody could turn on lights. Word spread, although I think one party played ugly-American and went down to the front desk to demand a new room for the broken lights.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
In our hotel room, the lights don't work in the room unless you put (and leave) your key card in a little holder by the door:

What's the thinking? That you will take your card when you leave, and the lights will go off? If you remember to take it.
Reducing the wasted electricity when the guests are not in the room.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:44 AM   #10
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I've found that common in Europe, and just last week in Thailand.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:48 AM   #11
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I've stayed in a lot of hotels both domestically and internationally traveling over the years and have never run into that. If I did, it would be one hotel that I would avoid on my next visit. Stupid idea. Just what I want to come back after a hard Day's work to room it's hot as hell because the AC has been off all day is in a economizing measure.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:51 AM   #12
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Just don’t leave a phone or other device in the room to charge. You’ll be disappointed.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:58 AM   #13
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Just don’t leave a phone or other device in the room to charge. You’ll be disappointed.
Another reason we made a fake key. We used that mostly while going down for breakfast, not all during the day.
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Old 11-30-2019, 10:04 AM   #14
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If this bothers you, just get a 2nd key or carry a an old hotel key in your wallet, problem solved.
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Old 11-30-2019, 10:08 AM   #15
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I got a third card as soon as I found out how it works.

I just tried it with my library card (same size), and that didn't work.

What an expense to install all of these and hook them into the electrical system. I guess it saves them money overall.
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Old 11-30-2019, 10:16 AM   #16
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... I just tried it with my library card (same size), and that didn't work. ...
Sometimes a simple fake will work, sometimes the card acceptor is more sophisticated. It probably depends on how new the system is. The simple solutions work often enough for me that it's the first thing I try.

I left a "hotel legal" card in the acceptor on a recent trip and the maid took it, thinking it was her room service card that she had put in when she entered. Not sure how to prevent that.
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Old 11-30-2019, 10:24 AM   #17
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What an expense to install all of these and hook them into the electrical system. I guess it saves them money overall.
Maybe not--it could be a code/legal requirement in some places.


Yes, annoying and I have gotten a second key when I encounter it (typically in Europe and the Middle East). The energy savings to the hotel from HVAC use is likely extremely moderate since the surrounding rooms get much of the added cooling/heating load when one room gets hot/cold. There's just one side of the "cube" that is external, the other 5 sides are conditioned spaces.
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Old 11-30-2019, 10:32 AM   #18
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Have not seen this in our recent hotel stays but have on a couple recent cruises. We just save an expired gift card for this purpose. Works like a charm.
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Old 11-30-2019, 10:34 AM   #19
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When I used to travel for work, I would keep a couple of old hotel keys in my briefcase and use them if I wanted to keep the power on all the time. It seems like most hotel keys are the same size and are interchangeable when using this energy saving device. These have been around internationally for decades now and are now just finding their way to the U.S. - just like dual-flush toilets and chipped credit cards. It think it's a very cool feature and it's nice to not have to turn everything off individually when leaving the room - just pull the card.
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Old 11-30-2019, 11:02 AM   #20
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I encountered these in Japan and stuck my AAA card in the slot so I could charge my laptop during dinner. One hotel we stayed at was older and still used physical keys. You had to put your key in a keyhole in the wall and turn it to get power. No getting around that one.
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