Staying Safe in your Hotel
The security that some travelers feel while in a hotel has always baffled me. I often witness hotel guests who prop doors or leave valuables unattended while their attention is elsewhere. I’m really not sure why people have this false sense of security when staying in a building that is typically filled with strangers and rife with activity.
This article will cover hotel safety tips that will help to protect you and your belongings, if you are prepared to use them. It is important to remember that you are responsible for your own safety and you should never assume that others have your best interest in mind. Always being prepared and alert to your surroundings is a major step toward your personal safety.
What can Happen?
Theft continues to be among the most common crimes that occur in a hotel setting. As a result, the primary focus of this article will be protecting yourself against becoming a victim of theft. However, much more serious crimes can and do occur in hotels quite frequently.
As a general rule, Business Travel Gadgets highly recommends that you travel with a companion when ever possible and stay together as a team as often as you can. If you need to travel alone, keep co-workers or family members aware of your schedule and your “whereabouts” whenever possible. Check in routinely and communicate your expected return times.
Hotel Safety Tips
Staying safe on a business trip starts the moment you step off the plane. But for the purposes of this article we will focus on staying safe while in your hotel. And much like the airport, you should be diligent about your well-being the moment you pull into the parking lot. Let’s review some do’s and don’t’s regarding hotel safety.
First and foremost, never leave your belongings unattended. It is very common for hotel guests to leave a luggage cart full of valuables sitting in a hallway. Bring the cart into the room with you.
Park in a well-lit area of the parking, preferably close to the entrance of the hotel. Do not be afraid to ask the staff if certain areas of the parking lot have surveillance. If so, park in the cameras view.
If possible stay on an elevated floor. Ground level rooms are more accessible from the outside, particularly in the rear of the hotel where the lighting and activity is lower. In a high rise hotel, it is recommended that you stay on floors 4 through 6, anything higher will not be accessible by a fire ladder truck.
Be aware of your room number being visible to others during check-in. Keep your personal information protected while you are interacting with the staff at the front desk. And do not be distracted when checking in, thieves commonly use distraction to remove items or gain access to information.
Try selecting a hotel that has updated locking systems for all of its doors. Card systems for room doors are typically programmed with each new guest and exterior hotel access doors should also require a valid key card. Do not allow strangers to enter the hotel while you are entering with your card.
Ask the hotel staff for a card that contains the hotel name and address and phone number. Place one of the cards by the phone in your room and put the other in your purse or wallet. If there is an emergency, and you call for help, you’ll have the name and address of your location.
Once in your Room
Check the room prior to closing the door. Open the closet doors and check the bathrooms to make sure no one is hiding. Once you are certain that all is well, inspect the window and door locks to make sure that they function properly. Also, check any adjoining rooms and make sure the door between the rooms is locked. If there is any concern with the windows or doors, contact the front desk and ask to change rooms.
Now that you are feeling a bit more secure, check on the inside of the room door you will find information about fire safety and emergency evacuation, read the information entirely and become familiar with the nearest fire exits. When in the hallway take notice of the emergency pull boxes, and the location of fire extinguishers.
While you are in your room, particularly when you are sleeping or in the shower, use the dead bolt. And as an added level of security use the door wedge on the inside of the door. Always use the peephole to identify anyone who knocks on the door and never, never, prop your door open when visiting another room or going for ice.
Once you are settled, contact a family member and give them your room number and the phone number of the hotel. Make sure you have this information readily available in case of emergency. Earlier we suggested asking the front desk for a business card for the hotel; leave this by the phone.
When you leave the room, store your valuables in the room safe. If the room is not equipped with a safe or the safe looks unsecured, ask to have your valuables stored in the hotel safe.
Sounds like a lot of work to for peace of mind, doesn’t it? Actually, these steps do not take much time at all. The trick is to program yourself to do these things naturally. Theft of any kind can really put a damper on a business trip or any trip for that matter. I beleive that we want to trust that others will behave in the manner we expect them too, but reality is quite the opposite.
Just a few more tips for when you leave the hotel.
- Never leave your passport behind, unless it’s in a safe.
- If you leave your room key, inform the front desk immediately
- And lastly, enjoy youself, you’ve taken all the right precaustions.