I've worked at hotels for seven years, so I've been trained on the best ways to keep guests safe.
Make sure to use both locks on your door and consider investing in a door stopper.
To keep your room number private, charge things under your last name and ditch the room-key sleeve.
Hotels aren't inherently unsafe, but the people who stay at them can be unpredictable.
I've worked in hotels for the last seven years, and employees go through hours of training on the best practices for assigning rooms, withholding personal information, and even identifying human trafficking to keep guests secure.
Read on for some of the best tips for feeling safer at a hotel.
Always use the latch and deadbolt to lock your door
Using the latch and deadbolt adds two additional levels of protection and privacy. A deadbolt will stop any authorized key from accessing the room and the latch will stop an unbolted door from being immediately opened.
Plus both will keep employees from accidentally walking in on you after a shower.
'Do not disturb' signs are respected by employees, so use them
Unless you're late checking out, well-trained employees shouldn't disturb you if you have the sign on the door.
If you put it out and there's a noise at the door, you can take this as a red flag because it's likely not a staff member on the other side.
If the hotel really needs to contact you they'll call your room or cell phone. In an emergency, you'd hear a siren and/or a verbal announcement in the hallways.
Check your room for any issues or intruders before you settle in
Walking the room gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with your surroundings while simultaneously catching any cleanliness issues.
There are real horror stories out there of predators hiding under hotel beds until people fall asleep. A quick check behind curtains, under the bed, and anywhere else someone could hide could potentially save you from danger.
Your stay can be as private as you want it to be, just communicate with the staff
Whatever your case may be, we will keep your information secure.
I've had guests ask us not to forward calls by telling people "there's no guest here with that name." Other guests request that food deliveries be left at the front desk.
In the most extreme case, I've even seen guests use false names.
I never ask the reason for these specifications, nor do I need to know. We're trained to add notes in the reservation clearly stating that the guest doesn't want to be identified or contacted.
For those traveling alone, I recommend getting a door stopper
The most effective ones use the weight of the door and direct any force coming from the other side into the floor. As long as they're fully tightened, they won't wiggle loose.
I'd put these against my strongest friend and bet money they couldn't gain entry until it's removed.
Use your last name instead of your room number in public spaces
If you truly feel at risk or just want to keep your information private, your entire profile can be accessed with your last name, meaning your room number won't be overheard by everyone in the lobby.
This is especially useful when charging things to your room like snacks or bar bites.
Even if you lose your key, you never have to tell the staff your room number - simply show them your ID.
Memorize your room number and leave that packet behind
A dropped key packet immediately gives the finder access to your space. But a random, unmarked key on the ground has no value besides the hotel name.
If you tend to be a forgetful person, some hotels offer a mobile feature that lets you use your phone as a room key. This allows you to view your room number and keep track of the key without risking the information.
Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts
Simply put, listen to your gut. Being in an unfamiliar city can be scary and leave you more vulnerable.
If you feel like you were followed into the hotel or outside to the parking deck, continue to monitor the situation. Stop by the desk for help or hit an extra button on the elevator to throw off anybody that may be watching the numbers from the lobby.
When walking to your room, double-check down the hall to see who's behind you. It never hurts to make an extra effort.
If you're driving, unpack the car and park in a well-lit area
If you drove to a hotel, park near an entrance or in a well-lit area whenever possible.
It can be common for thieves to target travelers because there is a higher chance of belongings being left in the car.
Even if you're only staying for one night, take the time to unload anything of value. A broken window beats losing something expensive or irreplaceable.
Personally, I like to park in a well-lit area that I can see from my room, so I can hear my alarm in a worst-case scenario.
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