Key control in the mountains

April 2018 Access Control & Identity Management

Stowe Mountain Lodge is a mountain resort located in Stowe, Vermont. Established in 2008, the lodge oversees a variety of properties, including private house sites, mountain cabins, restaurants, private clubs, retail venues and two golf courses. Stowe is located between the slopes of Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak, offering alpine vacations and accommodation with a wide variety of entertainment and amenities for winter travellers, from families to powder-hounds. Over 350 keys are utilised daily on the lodge property alone, to provide for the lodge’s wide-ranging needs.

A major issue for Stowe during the construction and design process was the vast number of keys that required consistent management. Employees require both hard (physical) and soft (programmable) keys for access to areas of the facility where they work. Restricting access to certain areas of the facility helps security management provide accountability within the hotel’s key hierarchy, ensuring that keys are only used by their proper users. Should a sensitive key get into the wrong hands, that person would have access to a plethora of hotel areas – potentially putting the lodge at risk for liability.

As part of the lodge’s operating supplies and equipment (OS&E) package and with high recommendation from parent company, Two Roads Hospitality, Stowe decided on Morse Watchman’s KeyWatcher key control system to not only manage hotel keys across the entire facility but also to audit key usage and location as needed. The lodge installed KeyWatcher during the building’s initial construction and started using the system immediately upon opening in June 2008.

“It’s a really valuable system for us,” explained Dan Rich, chief engineer at Stowe Mountain Lodge. “Without key control, our keys would very quickly be ‘out of control’. Now, we always know if someone hasn’t turned their keys back in on time – and we always know who has them out.”

The Lodge uses four, six-module KeyWatcher units, each holding over 90 keys, which are networked for convenience across the large facility and campus. As the Lodge expanded, additional units were added to accommodate satellite buildings and ensure all of the many keys were accounted for properly.

One of the most important features that this key control system provides for Stowe Mountain Lodge is the ability to audit key locations and removal during day-to-day operations, as well as upon the departure of regular employees and seasonal hires. The assurance that no one has removed a key from the premises is an absolute top priority – if keys go missing, there may be risks for guests and employees. Email and SMS notifications allow management at Stowe Mountain Lodge to know if, when, and where any one of their over 300 keys has been removed or returned.

KeyWatcher’s reporting feature also helps to make sure Stowe Mountain Lodge employees have access to the right keys. In a large hotel environment, it may be ­difficult to ensure that both hourly and salaried workers receive proper access to the areas in which they work. With KeyWatcher’s reports, it’s simple to run key removal reports for the essential keys that employees require to perform their jobs and obtain access to relevant secure areas. Additionally, KeyWatcher’s timestamped documentation helps to keep a secondary attendance record to be referenced if hourly workers forget to clock in or out.

In the rare instance where something is reported missing in the hotel, KeyWatcher makes it simple for Stowe Mountain Lodge to perform lock interrogations. Should, for example, an asset in a guest room go missing, it’s simple to pull up the data for the relevant key and investigate who had access to it and when. Also, the rugged design of the KeyWatcher cabinet itself ensures that keys cannot be removed by force. While the cabinet itself is low maintenance, it remains robust in the face of the surprisingly high-impact hotel environment, where (for example) inadvertent repeated impacts from linen carts might damage other brands of key boxes.

“Earlier this year we took over a number of satellite properties and one of the first things I was charged with was coming up with a new keying hierarchy,” said Rich. “To come in and find an uncontrolled key system, and know that I could bring order to it with KeyWatcher… it’s pretty hard to put a value on that.”

Stowe Mountain Lodge provides memorable experiences for hundreds of visitors, epitomising the New England experience with resort and spa facilities to create the perfect getaway. Morse Watchmans’ KeyWatcher key control system throughout the Stowe Mountain Lodge facility ensures that, even with the large turnover of seasonal employees, every key in the multi-building facility is accounted for, auditable, and only accessible by authorised users.

For more information, contact Morse Watchmans, +1 203 264 4949, morse@morsewatchman.com, www.morsewatchmans.com




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