hotel key cards

where is the best place to get hotel key cards?
I know that working the front desk and doing everything to be visible to guests, I have a meeting with 2 GMs at the largest hotels in our area, The Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn tomorrow and I know that in room channel guides are out, I know that they pass out a phone list to each guest of each pizzeria in our area so I am going to ask that I be allowed to print them off and put our menu on the back. I am exploring the key cards (something I haven’t done) so how have they worked for you?

I looked through my collection of key cards and this name popped up many times…

You will need about 1.5 cards per room per day on average…These things really do walk away!..

PLI is where we used to get ours.

But we don’t do it anymore - from anyone. Too expensive and I don’t think it works.

I’ll never forget the time we got a call from a person in a hotel about 30 miles away. Said they had our number on their keycard. Turns out, the local hotel we had given the keycards to gave this hotel a box of them because they were out. :roll: When asked about it, local hotel explained that they were going to give them cards back when their shipment came in - generic cards of course!

That was the end of key cards for us. BTW, that out of city hotel continued to use those key cards - I think 250 of them - and that one call was the only one we got…

Hotel key cards do work…very well. If you take a typical 100 room hotel in our area before we started doing keycards we averaged 2-3 deliveries/week. With key cards we do 10-12 deliveries/week. With channel guides we do 12-15 deliveries/week. With channel guides and key cards we do 15-20 deliveries/week.

 We probably go through 12-15 boxes of key cards(at most, maybe less) in a year at a cost of $70 each.

$840-$1050 annual cost yields us $7200-$9000 in sales.

To me this is a no brainer. We of course give discounts to the staff, bring menus and gift certificates by, and check in on their supply several times each month.

Are saying you use 15,000 cards a year at room 100 hotel?..If so, that is .41 cards per day per room which is exceptional… I think for most their usage would be much higher than your experience…And I do not think a small operator could buy cards for 0.07 each…

So lets do some best case math…

  • 12 boxes of cards at 70.00 = 840.00
  • Annual sales =9,000.00
  • Marketing cost = 9.34%

So without factoring in other costs (staff discounts, menus, gift certificates, tv channel guides, etc.) you spending over 9.34% of sales on just key cards alone…So what is your real cost?..And is it really as good as you think?..

For most folks, if you factor in higher card usage, higher card costs and all the other costs I can see getting to 15-20% versus sales for marketing costs…

 For the average 100 room hotel we actually use 6000 key cards/year  (500/box X12 boxes)  Our hotel marketing cost does run approximately 10% but I would be crazy not to do it.  Our hotel orders usually pay full menu price while our non hotel orders average close to 10% discount/coupon.  Two years ago before we started aggressively marketing our hotels we did about 50k/year in hotel deliveries. This year we will spend 18k on our hotel marketing,  but we will do 230k-250k in hotel deliveries.

 Our overhead (fixed costs) needs to be paid regardless of whether we go after this business.  Our incremental costs are food, labor, and advertising.

 We are doing at least 180k in additional hotel sales this year.

Food cost 54k (30%)
incremental labor 36k(20%)
hotel marketing 18k(10%)

Our hotels will yield an additional 72k profit this year up over two years ago. Even if we had to spend 15-20% on hotel marketing, it would still be a no-brainer for me.

Perfect thank you for the great reply…It explains the situation very well…After I posted I thought about some of the things you said and thought this type of business might be worth the extra costs…Even though the marketing cost seems out of range versus other marketing…

Let’s look a bit closer at this - key cards actually only bring you 3-5 orders/week if you are using channel guides. So you are spending somewhere between $3 and $5 per order on those orders.

Is that really worth it? What is your cost per order for the channel guides?

 Tv channel guides definitely give us a bigger bang for the buck than keycards.  However, they both work extremely well for us.  Some of the higher end hotels do not allow us to do channel guides but have no problem with the keys.  Other hotel/motels do not allow or do not use keycards but allow the channel guides. If they allow both we do both.  If I only did the guide and some other place supplied them with free keys, I am certain I would get less of a response on the channel guides.  However, even with the worst case scenario, I would gladly pay $3-$5 for a $20 order where my incremental labor and food cost = $10.  The best thing about my hotel orders is they seem to be concentrated betweem dinner rush and my late night rush.  So it is perfect to keep my drivers busy between 8:30 and midnight.

We started doing the key cards a couple of months ago. (pli is who we used, GREAT service from start to finish)

You will want to make sure the hotel is going to use yours…find out what kind of key card software they use and call pli they will help you from there. All three of our hotels use different ones (same price just different cards)

We have seen an increase in our deliveries to the hotels. This is the busy season for them because we are by a big amusement park.

Like another poster said what is so great about them is they do pay full price for food so it is worth it…not to mention our competition is not getting their business!

I have received two calls from a hotel 60 miles away for delivery because of this. I would not do the whole key card thing

“I would gladly pay $3-$5 for a $20 order”

I wouldn’t.

“Like another poster said what is so great about them is they do pay full price for food so it is worth it…”

Why would that be? I have never encountered any group that does not ask for specials or use coupons.

My friend that owns a local hotel and offered to let us do the cards told me the math was very much as stated in one of the posts above: 100 room hotel = about 50,000 cards per year. (Room count X occupancy rate X 365 days X 2 cards)

What ever you end up doing, as with any marketing you need to track all your sales and all your costs and make calculations to see where you are are at…Your experience will likely be quite unique to your operation and calculations will need to be made to determine if it is worth doing…