Technology is being taken a step further by a company called Omron Hospitality Systems. The Schaumberg, Illinois-based firm developed the first magnetic hotel lock in 1982. Recently, the company introduced a new payment option that enables guests to unlock room doors and charge hotel restaurant bills and gift items to their room with the swipe of one card. Currently, most hotels allow guests to charge their expenses to a room number or use a separate magnetic-stripe card. According to Lynn Madlinger, director of marketing at Omron, the new card provides an easier, more secure payment method. “You don’t have to tell anyone your room number,” he explains.
The cards also allow guests to set spending limits. “And, if you’re traveling with kids, cards can be issued to your children encoded with instructions as to where they use them,” adds Madlinger. Omron has also created a self-service, automatic check-in machine to issue these cards. Look for these new cards and systems at hotels and resorts in mid-1999.