People will always collect small inexpensive items that either remind them of happier times or are aesthetically pleasing.
In recent years, one item that is growing in popularity as a collectable is the hotel room key card. Virtually all hotels have now moved over to this technology for their room locks and the cards themselves are now seen as an ideal medium for advertising by the hotels and they often change the designs on a regular basis. Some hotels will also produce key cards for special occasions such as a large conference or holiday.
Hotel key cards are a great collectable item. They are small and therefore easy to store and display. They are made of plastic, so they are not easily damaged. There are tens of thousands of different ones that have been produced with new ones being created all the time.
There are a number of avenues for collecting these.
The first is to visit the hotels themselves and ask if you can keep the key card upon checkout. I have not yet come across a hotel that has refused this request. They are more than happy for you to keep a reminder of their hotel with the hope that you will return for another visit.
The second is to ask friends, family and work colleagues to do the same. If you are lucky enough to know or work with somebody who travels for business, then they will visit many different hotels each year.
The third is to write, fax or e-mail the hotels you would like a key card from and ask if they will send you one (or a couple). I have found this method to be extremely successful. I have e-mailed a lot of hotels in the last few years. I normally check the websites and try to find an e-mail address for the reception or the concierge. These two groups of people have given me the best successes. They both are strong on customer service and they have easy access to the key cards. The e-mail I sent is normally short and polite. I explain that I am a collector and would like to add one of their key cards to my collection. I always offer to pay for postage or make a small donation to charity if they send me one or two. I always ask for a couple and explain that I would trade the extras with other collectors.
The fourth is to trade with other collectors. If you have managed, through either your travels or requests to acquire duplicates then you can trade these with your fellow collectors. There are a number of collector sites on the internet.
Options for storing your collection are quite varied. Hotel key cards are the same size as sports and trading cards so the hundreds of different types of boxes and pages made by companies like Ultra Pro are perfect for the job.