12 Examples of Custom Key Card Design

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Key card design is an overlooked and underutilized facet of hospitality marketing. A surprising number of hotels elect to use blank, bland, or generic key cards due to budget constraints or a lack of creativity. Ironically, these are often the same businesses that invest loads of time and energy designing business cards, tri-fold brochures, and small promotional items for the same hotels. They design these marketing materials with the sole objective of getting them into customer pockets, ignoring the fact that key cards end up in customer pockets automatically. In fact, whether they have a blank design or a bold one, most key cards end up going home with the customer. Wouldn’t it be more cost-efficient and more effective to invest time and resources into well-designed key cards instead of frivolous tchotchkes? Thankfully, some hotels are using custom key cards to make strong impressions on their customers at a very good value. Below are a dozen examples of custom key card design.

Bellagio

Bellagio’s key card reflects the elegance of the rooms, the decor, and the architecture of their hotel.

Excalibur

Excalibur’s ornate metal key design harkens back to the legend on which “Excalibur” is based.

Treasure Island – Promoting Cirque Du Soleil’s “Mystere”

Treasure Island’s keycard sparks the curiosity of those who came for the famous Cirque Du Soleil performances.

Tropicana – Miami Gardens in Las Vegas

Tropicana’s Miami Gardens key card features an Art Deco design that emphasizes the “South Beach” feel that they emulate from halfway across the United States.

MGM Grand

The MGM Grand Hotel and Casino — arguably the most well-known establishment in Las Vegas — forgoes any promotions or marketing copy, going instead with their classic, ubiquitous lion logo.

NH Hotels – London and Mexico

NH Hotel’s key card design focuses on national flags and symbols for their respective hotel locations. They want you to remember your travels, not your hotel room.

NH Hotels – United Kingdom and International

For NH Hotels in the United Kingdom, the emphasis is once again on familiar symbols of the specific country. For their generic keycards, the universal “rubber duckie” connotes comfort across all cultures.

Marriott – Singapore

Visitors of Marriott’s Singapore hotel will likely take the key card home, which illustrates a photograph that captures not only the appeal of Singapore, but also the unique location and architecture of the hotel itself.

Palms Casino and Resort – Las Vegas

Palms Casino and Resort chooses palm tree imagery to reinforce their brand, and sunset and moonlight effects to elicit impressions of Vegas nightlife.

Stardust

Stardust celebrates their forty-fifth anniversary with a retro throwback to their early years. Sadly, the resort was demolished in 2007.

Venetian

The Venetian’s classic key cards offer simple photographs of their impressive location and architecture.

Venetian – Chinese New Year Edition

To celebrate the Chinese New Year, The Venetian made substantial changes to their key cards.

More Designs

All images are courtesy of Oomph, a passionate plastic card printer with a fantastic range of membership and hotel key cards. You can see more of their key card designs online, and you can follow them on Twitter at @madebyoomph. Do you think that key cards are an underutilized opportunity to make an impression on customers? Are they truly more effective and cost-efficient than other promotional items? Do you have any key card designs (or design ideas) to share?

Frequently Asked Questions about Hotel Key Card Design

What are the key elements to consider when designing a hotel key card?

When designing a hotel key card, it’s important to consider both functionality and aesthetics. The card should be easy to use, durable, and compatible with your hotel’s key card system. Aesthetically, the design should reflect your hotel’s brand and create a positive impression. This can be achieved through the use of color, typography, and imagery. Additionally, the card should include necessary information such as the hotel’s name, address, and contact details.

How can I make my hotel key card design stand out?

To make your hotel key card design stand out, consider incorporating unique elements that reflect your hotel’s brand. This could be a distinctive color scheme, a creative logo, or even a memorable tagline. Additionally, consider using high-quality materials and finishes to give the card a premium feel.

What materials are commonly used for hotel key cards?

Hotel key cards are typically made from durable plastic materials such as PVC or PET. These materials are chosen for their durability, flexibility, and ability to hold printed designs well. Some hotels may also opt for eco-friendly materials such as biodegradable plastic or recycled paper.

Can I include promotional offers or advertisements on my hotel key card?

Yes, many hotels use their key cards as a marketing tool by including promotional offers or advertisements. This could be a discount at your hotel’s restaurant, a special offer for a spa treatment, or an advertisement for a local attraction. However, it’s important to ensure that any promotional content does not detract from the overall design and functionality of the card.

How can I ensure the security of my hotel key cards?

To ensure the security of your hotel key cards, it’s important to use a reliable key card system and to regularly update your security protocols. Additionally, consider using key cards with advanced security features such as magnetic stripes or RFID chips.

What is the typical size of a hotel key card?

The standard size for a hotel key card is similar to a credit card, typically measuring 3.375″ x 2.125″. This size is chosen for its convenience, as it can easily fit into a wallet or pocket.

Can I customize the shape of my hotel key card?

While the standard shape for a hotel key card is rectangular, some hotels choose to customize the shape of their key cards for a unique touch. However, it’s important to ensure that any custom shapes are still functional and compatible with your key card system.

How often should I update my hotel key card design?

The frequency of updating your hotel key card design can depend on several factors, such as changes in your hotel’s branding or marketing campaigns. However, a general rule of thumb is to consider updating your design every few years to keep it fresh and relevant.

Can I design my own hotel key card or should I hire a professional?

While it’s possible to design your own hotel key card, hiring a professional designer can ensure a high-quality, professional result. A designer can help translate your hotel’s brand into a visually appealing and functional key card design.

What information should be included on a hotel key card?

At a minimum, a hotel key card should include the hotel’s name and contact information. Some hotels also choose to include additional information such as the room number, check-in and check-out dates, and WiFi password. However, it’s important to balance the amount of information with the overall design and aesthetics of the card.

Peter NorthPeter North
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Peter is Chief Digital Officer of CuriosityStream, a multi-platform nonfiction streaming service by the founder of Discovery Communications (Discovery Channel, Science Channel, Animal Planet, etc.). Peter is also Co-Founder of True North, a management consulting firm and digital marketing agency with clientele that includes WebMD and Salesforce.

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