Welcome to Hotel Supply Makeover, where the experts at Front Desk Supply show you how simple design changes transform your hotel supplies — and your guest experience.

When it comes to key holders, most hotels use paper key sleeves because they’re the most budget-friendly option.

Key sleeves are not very big, which is why you need to plan your design carefully—if you’re trying to make a strong impression on guests or communicate important information about your property, remember that you don’t have as much design space at your disposal.

Let’s discover how easy it is to turn your key sleeves from simplistic to stylish, with little impact on your budget!

The Original Key Sleeve

Take a look at the standard hotel key sleeve:

Most hotels print their logo on the key sleeve and keep the background white or add one or two of their brand colors.

This might be a suitable design if your hotel:

  • Doesn’t need to communicate lots of property information
  • Has a fabulous logo
  • Mostly receives budget travelers

However, some hotels may find this design a bit lacking.

An Underwhelming First Impression

If you manage a boutique or luxury hotel, a paper key sleeve might look a little generic without an impeccable design.

Hotel Guest: Dave

Dave checks in at the front desk and receives his room key, which is held in a paper key sleeve.

“I’m paying a lot of money for this hotel room… these key sleeves are flimsy and a little cheap-looking. I hope I’m not paying too much to stay here.”

The guest is now skeptical of the hotel’s value, just moments after checking in. From this point forward, they’ll start looking for evidence that proves or refutes this.

“Didn’t the room look bigger on the website? I hope they have a tasty breakfast… Is that a HAIR on the bathroom floor?”

Too Much Info; Not Enough Staff

If you manage a larger property with a variety of facilities and amenities, you may want to provide the guest with ample information about them.

Hotel Guest: Samantha

When Samantha checks in, she has questions about the restaurant hours, but notices the guest service agents are very busy and decides to hold her questions until later.

Samantha goes to her room and spends an hour getting comfortable—she unpacks her bags, takes a quick shower, and checks out the entertainment options on her TV. Then she goes down to the restaurant for lunch… she’s spent half the day traveling and is starving.

Unfortunately, the restaurant has just closed for lunch—she missed it by 10 minutes. And dinner won’t be served for another 3 hours.

“I wish I had known the restaurant would be closing soon or else I would have gone straight there to get lunch. I guess I’ll have to grab a bite somewhere outside the hotel.”

Not only has Samantha been inconvenienced, but the hotel has also lost an opportunity to make a sale at the restaurant.

The New Key Sleeve

Both of these problems could have been averted if the key sleeve had a more strategic design!

Front Desk Supply would recommend a few simple design changes.

La Jolla Cove_sleeves

An example of a beautiful premium sleeve.

Upgrading to a Mid-Sleeve

Instead of using an economy key sleeve, the hotel could upgrade to a mid-sleeve. The sleeve is a little thicker and doesn’t feel as “papery,” but it’s still highly economical and only a few cents more expensive than the economy version.

A luxury hotel could upgrade to a luxury key sleeve—with beautiful cover stock and metallic ink—or a premium key sleeve that has a heavier feel.

As for the design itself, it’s helpful to remember that more color means higher cost with the premium sleeves, but it is exactly why the mid-sleev is a great trade-off.  It is thicker paper but still prints in full color, so no need to try and manage colors and they are only a bit more than economy sleeves.  Full color means you can even include great photos!

Front Desk Supply’s graphic design service (complimentary, for no extra charge) would create a beautiful, color-infused design that gets the most out of the hotel’s branding while keeping within its budget.

Dave, feeling reassured about his choice of hotel:

“Cool-looking room keys. I’m really glad to be here—I’ve heard good things about this place.”

QR Code to the Rescue!

Larger properties could benefit from printing a QR code on the key sleeve, which allows the guest to access important property information by scanning it with their smartphone.

There’s just not enough space on a key sleeve to add restaurant hours, hotel maps, or other information the guests need to get the most out of their stay (without getting creative!).

However, a QR code can connect the guest with all that information, without making the key sleeve look overly cluttered. Our design team at Front Desk Supply can easily add QR codes to any type of key sleeve.

Samantha, scanning the QR code in her room:

“Oh, shoot! Looks like the restaurant is closing soon. I’ll grab lunch first and take a shower later.”

Give Your Key Sleeves a Hotel Supply Makeover with Front Desk Supply

If you think it’s time to give your hotel key sleeves a makeover, reach out to Front Desk Supply to get a quote or consultation!

Every hotel has unique needs and differing budgets. Our friendly team can work with any type of property to create dazzling new key sleeves—and other types of custom hotel supplies—that will boost your guest experience while keeping you firmly on budget.