One key per room

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uktrail's picture
uktrail
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Joined: 20 May 2009
Posts: 679

I have stayed in a few hostels where there is one key per dorm room. I have also seen numerous reviews that complain of this.

Guest 1 arrives, gets the key from reception and goes to the room. Guest 2 arrives, is told the key is already out, goes to the room and gets in OK.

Guest 1 goes out. Guest 2 wants to get a shower. He takes the key with him. Guest 3 arrives, can't get in, goes back to reception, receptionist hunts around,......(hassle). Alternatively, guest 2 leaves the key in the room and the door unlocked. Guest 3 arrives, then leaves and takes the key to reception. Guest 2 comes back from the shower..... (hassle).

This system may work for a private room. But even then, if the members of the private room do not do everything together, ...(hassle). For example, we had a private room once. But the key was needed for entering another floor where the shower was. So while one is getting a shower, the other is effectively unable to go out as he can't get back into the hostel or the floor!

I hope nobody here uses the one-key-a-room system. It creates so much irritation and time-wasting, at negligible saving of money.

TheEnterprise's picture
TheEnterprise
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Posts: 50
Re: One key per room

I have wondered ...

Supposedly, the lock in a dorm door is to protect the guests staying in that room from other people. But actually, with new people arriving every day, and people leaving every day, most of them strangers to each other (and more so in dorms with many beds), does it make sense to put a lock on the dorm door when most people in the room are strangers to each other?

Does it make sense to put a lock to prevent "strangers" from entering the room, when most inside are probably strangers to each other?

If there is a thief amongst those strangers in a dorm, a lock on the door, won't prevent theft from happening. Some would say, if theft occurs, we can reduce the number of suspects to those staying at the dorm. But even so, who do we accuse? Those staying at the dorm? Also those who just left the dorm and hostel? Also those who just arrived at the dorm? Every day, there might be new people entering and leaving.

I am still toying with the idea of not having locks at the dorm doors. Is it a real necessity or do we do it just out of habit?

Hostels's picture
Hostels
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Re: One key per room

TheEnterprise wrote:
If there is a thief amongst those strangers in a dorm, a lock on the door, won't prevent theft from happening. Some would say, if theft occurs, we can reduce the number of suspects to those staying at the dorm. But even so, who do we accuse? Those staying at the dorm? Also those who just left the dorm and hostel? Also those who just arrived at the dorm? Every day, there might be new people entering and leaving.

I've only worked at hostels in large cities where crime was an issue. I think in more remote locations you can sometimes get away without locking things as much...

At the hostels I've worked at, narrowing down the suspects by room access was useful for catching the thief and making sure they were gone or kicked out... (we could even use the electronic key to see exactly which keys accessed the room to eliminate accusations that "the housekeeper did it"... and, unfortunately, at least once to confirm that a housekeeper did do it)

Scotch Argus's picture
Scotch Argus
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Joined: 10 Jun 2008
Posts: 565
Re: One key per room

Whilst it's possible to imagine a scenario where a key for a dorm may be unneccessary, there are many cases where people would like and expect that the room could be locked. For instance what if a group of 6 people travelling together has sole use of a dorm? They'd certainly not want other people being able to walk in and out of their room at will. What if it's quiet and you end up with just on woman in a dorm by herself? Or even a group who don't know each other, but are going for a night out together?

Basically if you don't have locks a lot of people will be unhappy with it. In some cases they may be being unreasonable, but it's what they expect. You occasionally see reviews of places with no locks on the doors and the certainly get a lot of complaints on Hostelworld, even if they are in a low crime isolated area. People just expect it.

Regarding having more than one key, for sure everyone should be able to have their own key. If there are groups of more than one, they are often happy with one key between them. Certainly if you give 4 keys to a group of four people, you'll lose a lot of keys, as they often leave with the key. You could of course take a deposit for each key, personally I don't like that, but I can see the point of it.

Plakian's picture
Plakian
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Joined: 6 Nov 2007
Posts: 510
Re: One key per room

Sorry I have to disagree. Here there are just 3 keys, to my office, to the secure lock-up and to the drinks fridge. Our current rating on HW is 98% (yes, the 2% dropped is on security!) and no complaints.

Scotch Argus's picture
Scotch Argus
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Posts: 565
Re: One key per room

The other case I thought of would be schoold groups. If you had a group of students in a dorm together then I'd think that you wouldn't want a situation where any other person could walk in and out at liesure. Obviously this wouldn't apply to hostels that don't take school or youth groups, and I'm thinking of child protection policies in the UK, it may differ in different countries.

Bocciardi's picture
Bocciardi
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Joined: 23 Mar 2009
Posts: 118
Re: One key per room

I have been checking a key-card security system for my hostel, however I don't know if it is necessary in my case... And, it is a little bit pricy...

I just have 7 rooms with 32 beds and the hostel is stayed in a medium size town (portuguese standards).

3 of the rooms are private, so for those I give their keys...

On the dorms we do not have keys to give. Every person has huge lockers with individual keys to put their stuff in, so I assume they use it for the purpose (however, many times they don't, they just leave their stuff in the ground or bed...).

If I gave keys for each person in the room, on each time someone arrives at night, all people inside would wake up with the noise of the key opening the door, and the doors and locks are those old ones from the old house..., so, I'm preventing that possible issue... Wink

When I have a group together that book all room, in that case and if they ask for, I give them the room key and also the lockers key, but if someone arrives earlier that the fellow that has the key, I just say, "the key is with your friends mate..."

In Lisbon (THE case-study), mainly all Hostels have key-card system and regarding security reviews, I had ever hear anything about it. i just saw some HW comments regardins the streets outside the hostels or the area where they are...

Since we open I just have a couple of people that sayed something about the door dorms, but when I explain the reason why, they understood my point of view... On reviews, once in HB we have a 60% on security but mainly are 100% and two or three 80% in HB and HW...

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