Starling Travel

September 28, 2007

Key Cards Turn On Power In Hotel Room

Filed under: Lodging — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Uploaded by Courtney Wachob from FlickrThere is a new fashion in hotels. Your key card turns on the power in your hotel room. Courtney Wachob, on Flickr, described it here:

In order to have electricity in the room, we had to put our key card in this thing . . . and, since we only had one key, we couldn’t cool the room off OR charge camera batteries, etc while we were out. Very annoying.

Although his photos are no long available on Flicker, Steve Portigal took a trip to Wan Tsai in Hong Kong. All four hotel rooms on his trip had these contraptions that controlled the power in his hotel room with his keycard. When he left his room (with his key in his pocket) the power was off, so he couldn’t charge his camera battery or iPod.

He explained it:

“The device on the right was on the wall near the door of our hotel room. It accepted a card key and turned on the power. No card key, no power in the room. If you didn’t have two card keys, that meant you couldn’t have the power on in your room when you were out, in other words, if you wanted to be charging up a device, you couldn’t.”

Other people commented on his photo:

xeeliz: The card key for power is fairly standard. When I once used two keys this way – to have power when out – I got into some trouble when the cleaning staff “snitched” on me. I was duly told off and had to give up my “spare” card key. I guess I could have argued but I was tired and leaving the next day.

Hotel key and light switch from FlickrHere is a photo from sydneyamw, who seemed to like the idea:

what a GREAT invention! A light switch card on your key ring…. so when you leave the room, you have to take the key, and the card comes with you. You automatically turn off all your lights! SMART!!!!!!

It looks like this system might come to the U.S. if the ACEEE (the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy) has its way:

Key card systems have become universal in the hospitality industry due to the benefits of increased room security through reprogrammable key cards. Energy management features that control room HVAC and lighting operation represent the next logical step in key card evolution.

Logical? How so? It just sounds like a way to inconvenience your customers and leave them at risk if they leave one of their cards in their room to keep the power on. I wonder if the hotel world will realize that saving a couple of pennies on electricity isn’t worth your customers’ good will.

September 27, 2007

Hotel Key Card Troubles

Filed under: Lodging — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Alex and jmhart07 stayed at the London Marriott. Unfortunately, they had a little trouble with their key card:

I have had this trouble before. I don’t know if some of the locks have dead batteries or if I’m just doing it wrong. I tend to blame myself, but after watching this video, it feels good to know that I’m not alone.

September 26, 2007

Urban Legend: Hotel Keycards Do NOT Have Your Credit Card Information

Filed under: Lodging — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Another example of local news only listening to the sensational half of the story:

Fortunately for us, this is absolutely not true:

“I have worked as a desk clerk for three hotels: Holiday Inn, Best Western and the Howard Johnson. In all cases, the TESA lock system (key-card) was not connected to the front desk computer in any way. To create a key for a guest, we typed the room number, the number of nights of the stay and how many keys we wanted to create. That’s all the information that was recorded. There was no way of encoding any other information.”

Computerworld surveyed 100 hotels to see if any of them put credit card information on your key card:

Okay, they didn’t SURVEY them, they brought their key cards home with them when traveling. Once they had gathered them all (over 100), they read them with a card scanner:

Most cards were completely unreadable with an off-the-shelf card reader. Neither Benson nor Computerworld found any personally identifiable information on them.

Looks like they just open your room, so you can leave those useless keys in the room after your stay with no worries.

September 25, 2007

Give Her Your Hotel Room Key

Filed under: Lodging — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

This commercial is hilarious:

I love the very end of the commercial in the hotel elevator.

September 24, 2007

Hotel SWAG: Are Key Cards SWAG?

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Keycards at Best Western Croswinds Motor Inn

Long ago, I remember watching an episode of MTV Cribs. I think it was about the guys from Blink 182. They were showing off their tour bus and they had a box of key cards from all the hotels that they stayed at while they were on the road.

Are key cards SWAG? Are you allowed to take them?

My instinct was NO. They open the freakin’ door, they can be reprogramed and reused, so NO, you shouldn’t keep them. They probably cost the hotel a lot of money.

Then I looked up how much they cost:

A hotel can buy a box of 1000 preprinted key cards for $85. That makes them less than 10 cents apiece. Of course, the custom printed key cards will cost more, but assuming the custom printed cards are 20 cents, that makes them less than the shampoo they leave by your bathtub.

It looks like people even collect and exchange key cards:

Are hotel key cards SWAG? My instinct says no, but it appears that everyone else disagrees with me.


If you have taken pictures of Hotel SWAG, please share them with us on Flickr:

Or you can contact me and I can post them here and give you credit for it:

September 21, 2007

Hotel SWAG: Best Western Crosswinds Motor Inn in West Yellowstone, Montana

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging,Montana — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

On our way back from Billings, we stayed the night at the Best Western Crosswinds Motor Inn in West Yellowstone, Montana. They also allow pets, but if you have allergies, you won’t be able to tell because their rooms are so clean. Here is the SWAG as it was presented on 08-24-07:

Best Western Crosswinds Motor Inn Hotel SWAG

This motel is within walking distance of all the fun places in West Yellowstone. It’s right on the main strip and our room faced the busy road, but we couldn’t hear road traffic because the insulation was so good. Our room had a refrigerator in it, which was an added bonus that we didn’t expect.

After such a harrowing trip, the Crosswinds Motor Inn was a quiet and pleasant place for us to rest on our way home.


If you have taken pictures of Hotel SWAG, please share them with us on Flickr:

Or you can contact me and I can post them here and give you credit for it:

September 20, 2007

Hotel SWAG: Best Western Clock Tower Inn in Billings, Montana

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging,Montana — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Without a doubt, my favorite place to stay in Billings, Montana is the Clock Tower Inn. They accept pets, but their rooms are clean and didn’t set off my husband’s allergies. It is closest to the best restaurants in Billings. I have stayed at plenty of hotels in Billings, but my favorite is the Clock Tower Inn. Here is the hotel SWAG as it was presented on 08-20-07:

Best Western Clock Tower Inn Hotel SWAG

I’m ashamed to say that the SWAG at this hotel made me squeal with joy.

On the back of the toilet, they had extra toilet paper, a shower cap and a disposal bag. I love the container for the shower cap. If you actually USE a shower cap and want to keep it, this is the BEST little box for one because it allows the cap to dry, it’s recloseable and it is compact.

Best Western Clock Tower Inn Hotel SWAG

I usually don’t take pictures of the coffee setup at hotels because I don’t drink coffee, but everything looked so good, I snapped a picture of the coffee as well.

Best Western Clock Tower Inn Hotel SWAG

They even performed a little bit of toilet paper origami. It’s little touches like this that make the hotel experience all the better.

Best Western Clock Tower Inn

We had to stay in Billings because my grandfather died. It was a horrible time for us and the one respite we had at the end of those hard days was coming back to the Clock Tower Inn. I’m so grateful for them.


If you have taken pictures of Hotel SWAG, please share them with us on Flickr:

Or you can contact me and I can post them here and give you credit for it:

September 19, 2007

Hotel SWAG: Hooters Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging,Nevada — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

While we were being misled by timeshare people at the Excalibur Hotel, the rest of my family stayed at Hooters Hotel and Casino just down Tropicana Blvd. Here is what their SWAG looked like on 08-09-07:

Hooters Hotel and Casino Hotel SWAG

Looks amazing compared the the Excalibur SWAG, right? Yeah… it does. In the collection, was a grooming kit. Here is what the grooming kit looks like when you open it up:

Grooming Kit from Hooters Hotel

My family really enjoyed staying at Hooters Hotel and Casino. Considering how scantily clad most of the cocktail waitresses are in Las Vegas, Hooters is actually pretty tame. I liked the laid-back island atmosphere. Since we were so angry at Excalibur, we ended up spending all our time at Hooters instead.


If you have taken pictures of Hotel SWAG, please share them with us on Flickr:

Or you can contact me and I can post them here and give you credit for it:

September 18, 2007

Hotel SWAG: Excalibur Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging,Nevada — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Last month, we took a quick trip to Las Vegas. We stayed at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino. Here is how the SWAG was presented on 08-09-07:

Excalibur Hotel SWAG

We were less impressed with Excalibur this time than the previous times we’ve stayed there.

When we arrived, we were exhausted. Loaded down with suitcases, we headed to the registration counter. A friendly lady approached us and asked if we were checking in. We told her yes and she told us to follow her.

She led us down the hall over some stairs (lugging our suitcases up the stairs) and to a timeshare desk!

The registration desk was in the complete opposite direction. When we realized we were at the wrong place, I asked, “Are you just trying to sell us timeshares?!” The lady at the counter said, “No, I’m trying to give you free tickets to a show.” I can’t believe she lead us the wrong direction and watched us lug our heavy suitcases up those stairs. I was so angry, I wanted to leave the hotel, but we had already paid for our room, so we checked in.

When are the Las Vegas hotels going to learn that the timeshare people are just pissing off their customers? We’re skipping the Excalibur next time we go to Vegas.


If you have taken pictures of Hotel SWAG, please share them with us on Flickr:

Or you can contact me and I can post them here and give you credit for it:

September 17, 2007

Hotel SWAG: Days Inn in Billings, Montana

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging,Montana — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Once again, it’s Hotel SWAG week. Today, we are showing the hotel SWAG from the Days Inn in Billings, Montana. These photos were taken 07-29-07:

This was on the counter by the sink:

Days Inn Hotel SWAG

This was taken in the shower. We had a handicaped room (saved us $5 a night), so all we had was a shower. This bath mat with soap and shampoo were sitting on the shower seat.

Days Inn Hotel SWAG

I liked this hotel. There was a friendly cat who lived there. He liked to sit on the printer and would let me pet him if he happened to be in the hall.


If you have taken pictures of Hotel SWAG, please share them with us on Flickr:

Or you can contact me and I can post them here and give you credit for it:

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