When traveling and staying in a hotel, most people automatically expect that they will be able to maintain privacy while being safe. Unfortunately, recent events have forced hotels nationwide to rethink some of their standard operating procedures in order to keep guests as safe as possible which could diminish some of the privacies that guests have come to expect.
Privacy And Safety
When staying at a hotel or motel it is in your best interest to be aware of what procedures are taking place for your own safety. Be aware of what the check-in and check-out policies are and how the staff is storing your personal information. Credit card information should be stored using computer software rather than on paper to eliminate the possibility of sensitive information getting into the wrong hands. One particular thing to keep in mind is that staff should always be checking for identification. For instance, if you lose your room key and need to go to the front desk to retrieve another one, you should be required to provide a form of identification. The same should be required for any guest staying with you to prevent anyone who shouldn’t be in your room from entering.
Do Not Disturb Signs
After the tragic shooting that killed dozens occurred in a room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, several hotels have begun to change their policies regarding Do Not Disturb signs on doors. One of the more recent changes is coming from several hotels in Walt Disney World. Going forward from December 22, a handful of hotels on site no longer distribute Do Not Disturb door hangers and instead have replaced them with Room Occupied signs. This change allows hotel staff to enter into every hotel room each day for housekeeping and maintenance even if the Room Occupied sign is hung on the door. The staff is required to knock and identify themselves before entering the room.
While Disney has not stated that these changes were made specifically due to the Vegas shooting, it seems clear that there is a distinct connection between the two. The gunman in the Mandalay Bay shooting was able to enter his hotel room and hang a Do Not Disturb sign on his door. This enabled him to set up his room with 20 weapons and large amounts of ammunition without any hotel staff noticing anything out of the ordinary for three full days.
Yet, Disney is not the only company to be making changes that could affect their customers. Hilton has also revised their policies regarding door signage and entering hotel rooms. The chain will keep their Do Not Disturb signs but changed the policy to inform customers that staff can enter the room every 24-hours. This does not guarantee that a staff member will be entering all rooms each day but does reserve the right to do so in the event that suspicious activity or lack thereof is observed. Hilton also instructed staff on behaviors to look out for, such as the extreme use of a Do Not Disturb sign (over 24 hours), so that managers can be aware this behavior which could be a red flag.
The new policy changes that undoubtedly will start occurring at more than just the above-mentioned hotels, may help the hotel industry combat other security issues as well. In many parts of the country, sex and human trafficking is a serious problem. Campaigns to say something if you see something do not always help as much as officials would like because many people are trying to protect one another’s privacy. Allowing staff to enter hotel rooms every 24 hours, rather than avoiding a room for days due to a Do Not Disturb sign could hopefully curb criminal activity and possibly save lives.