GRMS planning guide

GRMS planning guide

Mount Kelvin creates guest room management systems (GRMS) for the hospitality industry.

GRMS is the invisible butler who welcomes the guest in the room and makes sure they enjoy their stay to the fullest. It also provides the operator with sensor data and cloud API that can be used for third-party integrations, further develop the operations, and ultimately create better guest experiences.

Here are the things that we have found to be important when designing guest room management systems for the hospitality industry.

  1. Lighting control
  2. Room sensors
  3. General design principles


Lighting control

Mount Kelvin GRMS is designed to provide a premium experience in lighting control. Our principle is total lighting control, which means that all luminaries in the room, including table/floor/reading lamps, are controlled by the system.

Total lighting control is the basis for the proper implementation of other features β€” such as All off.

Total lighting control: all luminaires β€” marked with πŸ”΅  β€” are controlled by the GRMS.
Total lighting control: all luminaires β€” marked with πŸ”΅ β€” are controlled by the GRMS.

Lighting control switch positioning

Here is a tried-and-tested set of lighting control switch positions and functions for a standard guest room.

The guiding principle for these positions is convenience above all, which is the backbone of true luxury. When the controls are in exactly the right place and do what they are supposed to do effortlessly, the guest will thank you. No amount of shiny things can replace convenience.

We prefer to use wireless switches because they offer the ultimate freedom in positioning: switches can be placed in optimal positions without worrying whether pulling a bus cable to this position would be prohibitively expensive or downright impossible.

As you can see, all switches are plain in sight. You should always strive to keep the controls unobstructed by furniture, plants, etc.


P1 Entrance

The entrance: keep it super simple. Your guests will thank you for the stripped-down convenience.
The entrance: keep it super simple. Your guests will thank you for the stripped-down convenience.

This is the first switch that the guest encounters. It should be as simple as possible and positioned conveniently next to the entrance.

Upon entrance, the guest presses Lights on, and the guest room is completely illuminated (bedroom and bathroom) in order to present the room to the guest. Default to a very bright setting, for example, the Daytime scene.

Upon exit, the guest presses Away, and all lights go off (and HVAC goes to eco-mode).

No keycard reader?

That's right, the default guest room design of Mount Kelvin does not propose keycard readers. Keyless entry is gaining traction, so a future-proof room operation does not rely on keycards.

Charging devices?

The Away function should switch off the lights and set the HVAC to eco-mode, but keep on the device charging outlets. The guests want their devices to be charged when they return to the room.

Energy savings?

Whether the keycard reader is a proper way to control unnecessary energy usage in a room is a moot point: almost all guests are given two keycards: one for accessing the room and one for the keycard reader.

That's why a simple switch positioned right next to the exit with an Away function is by far the best way to ensure that the guests switch off the lights and HVAC when they leave the room. Let your guest be a good person without extra hassle, and they will act accordingly.

P2 Pathway to bedroom

Four scenes and curtain control for setting the mood of the room.
Four scenes and curtain control for setting the mood of the room.
  • Four scenes. Here we introduce the four lighting scenes to the guest:
    • Daytime. The default, brightest lighting scene for the room. Designed for presenting the room and energizing the guest in the morning.
    • Evening. A more relaxed and chill scene at a lower brightness level.
    • Night. This is for illuminating the room just enough for navigation, for example visiting the bathroom during the night.
    • All off. All lights off, including the bathroom and all decorative lights (table lamps, floor lamps).
  • Curtain control for opening and closing the curtains.
Why four scenes? That's what we've found to be the sweet spot for guest rooms: enough options to set the mood of the room, but not too much to confuse the guest.
See examples of real-life lighting scenes in our virtual showrooms.

P3L and P3R Bedside left & right

Bedside controls are nicely packaged into a sleek 4-gang frame.
Bedside controls are nicely packaged into a sleek 4-gang frame.

Guests spend a lot of time in bed, not only sleeping, but working on their laptops and watching the TV. That's why special attention has to be paid to the positioning and the functions of the bedside controls.

  • Wall socket outlet with USB ports. Make charging devices next to the bed easy, because that's where people typically want to keep their devices. The guest should be able to charge a laptop, phone, and a tablet.
  • Curtain control
  • Reading light
  • Four scenes
2USB sockets are an excellent choice.

We recommend outlets with both USB-A and USB-C contacts.

P4 Writing desk

A separate switch for the writing desk light.
A separate switch for the writing desk light.

P5 Bathroom

The bathroom switch has four scenes for the bathroom. The same scenes are used in Night lights.
The bathroom switch has four scenes for the bathroom. The same scenes are used in Night lights.

Typical brightness levels for scenes

Since the scene settings depend on the lighting and interior design of the room, it is impossible to give any definitive guidelines for brightness levels for individual luminaires.

For inspiration, check out our virtual showrooms.


Room sensors and detectors

Mount Kelvin is equipped with sensor-enabled features that make the room even more delightful to stay in and eco-friendlier in terms of energy consumption. In a standard room, two sensors and one detector need to be placed in the room.


Presence detector (bedroom)

The optimal placement of the presence detector is in the middle of the room, not at the entrance.

Motion sensor (bathroom)

Optimal placement is near the entrance with a direct line of sight to the shower and toilet.

Avoid placing the motion sensor very close to the shower, sauna entrance, or directly over a jacuzzi: the hot and humid air can blind the sensor

Door sensor (entrance)

The placement of the magnetic sensor is in the door frame, with a corresponding magnet on the door.

The input unit for the magnetic sensor should be placed in a wall box close to the door or in the false ceiling. When choosing a placement, ensure that the input unit is serviceable.

Sensor-based features

Welcome lights

Room lights slowly fade in to welcome the guest when they arrive in the room for the first time or if the room is unoccupied.

Welcome lights operation modes
Automatic eco-mode

Automatic eco-mode switches the lights and HVAC off or to eco-mode when the room is unoccupied.

Occupancy detection
Night lights

Based on the time of day, bathroom lights are switched on automatically when the guest enters the bathroom and switched off after the guest has left.

  • 08.00β€”18.59 daytime scene
  • 19.00β€”23.59 evening scene
  • 00.00β€”07.59 night scene

Additional features

Socket outlet control

There may be situations where certain electrical sockets have to be turned off when the hotel room is unoccupied (e.g. electrical socket for iron).

Mobile app control

Some concepts include a mobile app for controlling the facilities of the room (and interacting with other services in the hotel).


General design principles

Keep the controls plain and simple

Hotel guest rooms are not homes. An average hotel stay is 1.8 days, so the guest has no interest in learning intricate or non-intuitive controls. The highly valued features of guest room controls are:

1. Visibility

It should be obvious where the control is and what it is used for.

Labeling. A switch should be clearly labeled with a description of the function

Positioning. A switch should be in plain sight (instantly visible) and close to the device which it controls (for example, a reading light switch should be close to the reading light)

2. Affordance

It should be obvious how the control is used.

Switches are universal user interfaces: they are operated by pushing.

Refrain from using novel interfaces in environments where there is no time to get acquainted with new ways of interaction. A guest room is one of these environments.

3. Feedback

It should be obvious when the control has been used.

When pressing a switch labeled "Lights off", all lights should go instantly off in the same room to provide the correct feedback.

Do not place controls in such a way that the resulting action is not visible.

Do not design in silos

In order to create a guest room design that makes sense, you need interaction between the interior architects, lighting designers, electrical and room control designers, and HVAC designers.

For example, when designing the controls by the bedside:

  • the interior architect has a say in the fit and finish of the switches (frames and colors)
  • the interior architect needs to know the dimensions of the controls in order to accommodate them in the design
  • the electrical designer needs to know whether there are charging points next to the bedside (to accommodate the cabling)
  • the lighting designer needs to know that the lighting fixtures need to support different lighting scenes (Daytime, Evening, Night, and All off)
  • HVAC controls need to be conveniently placed with other controls

Think about the operational efficiency of the hotel

A well-designed hotel has a limited number of guest room types (Standard, Junior suite, Executive suite, etc). The room control design should follow these room types and keep the designs as uniform as possible. Keeping the controls uniform has many benefits:

  • When a need for a change in configurations arises, you can do changes over the complete fleet, instead of checking each room separately for exceptions
  • Replacing faulty devices is easy to learn for maintenance
  • Less spare parts need to be kept in stock
  • When the design is consistent across rooms, the guests learn how to operate the rooms no matter which room they stay in

Build a mockup room for real feedback

Even if you follow these guidelines πŸ’―, it's wise to build a complete mockup of the room and let real people – who are not partaking in the design process – test the room.

There are always design questions that arise when combining new room layouts, interior designs, and controls. Yes, building mockups is costly, but repeating mistakes 300 times in production is far costlier.

Mocking up the designs in VR is a very cost-effective way to have a rough idea of the room design.