The UK’s Telegraph carries a piece about which nationalities steal from hotels, when really it’s about who, in their sample, admits to stealing and wouldn’t you think someone predisposed to stealing would also be predisposed to being less forthcoming about it?
Nonetheless, it contains some interesting bits on what’s ok to take and what isn’t, and the most extreme thefts from hotels.
The article relies heavily on Jacob Tomsky’s book, Heads in Beds. I reviewed Tomsky’s book two years ago.
What Are the Most Extreme Thefts?
A former Starwood GM reports the theft of a grand piano from his lobby. Some guests walk out with the TV from their room. Another GM reports a guest unscrewing the room number off their door for a souvenir.
sections of carpet, light fittings, mirrors and even curtains. …a medieval sword, door hinges and a 4ft wooden bear. .. One gentleman staying at the famous Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel – which featured in the film Pretty Woman – is alleged to have taken the entire marble fireplace. … a couple staying at an American Holiday Inn specifically requested a room near the car park. They then proceeded to empty the entire contents of said room (bed, furniture, the lot) into their handily-parked U-Haul.
Now we know why some chains mount hair dryers to the wall.
What Can You Take from a Hotel?
Hotels actually want you to take the toileteries. They don’t want you to raid the housekeeping cart — many of those now lock down when unattended, whereas in years past they used to be completely open. But the ones in your room? Clean those out, the hotel hopes you will think of them and the brand when you use them.
The most common items taken by British travellers were stationary (20 per cent admitted taking such items) and slippers (12 per cent).
What Happens When You Cross the Line?
[O]ne hotel that has saved $16,000 per month by reducing its towel thefts each month from 4000 down to 750 by attaching washable RFID tags to its towels. I assume that they aren’t actually tracking down towel thiefs, rather by letting guests know that the towels are tagged this serves as a deterrent. Presumably the deterrent would work just as well by telling guests that the RFID tags are in the towels, without any need to make the actual investment, at least as long as they are able to keep their lack of technology investment a secret.
More than warning you, or even catching you, there can be real consequences to theft in some places:
In Japan a few years ago, one hotel reportedly had a young couple arrested for running off with bathrobes and an ashtray, while a woman in Nigeria was sentenced to three months in prison for stealing two towels from the Transcorp Hilton Abjua Hotel.
Too bad they didn’t take advantage of towel amnesty.
What Do You Take from Hotels?
What do you consider yours, as part of the room rate? What do you feel a little guilty about? And what wouldn’t you ever take?