HOTEL CONFIDENTIAL: Safety 101 (Follow their lead-let them help you)

Handpainted Lobby Dome in Waldorf Astoria Orlando

Waldorf Astoria Lobby, New York City

Most hotel chains have systems in place for the safety for the guest .  These begin from the moment the guest walks in and are in place until the guest checks out.

Most chains will ask for credit card and ID this is to reduce fraud.

They will write your room number on a key card. Some guest will ask where the room is?  The front desk staff will write the room number on a piece of paper.  This is for your safety.  Not everyone in the hotel is a guest of the hotel.   In addition to regular guest there are criminals who are in public areas looking for opportunities.   When you tell your colleague what room you’re in(holding your expensive PC) you’ve made  it easy for the criminal and everyone in the hotel lobby to find you.

Always be in control of your wallet.  Do not walk away or leave your wallet or valuables on the counter of the hotel.  (This  is also  true of  Rental Counters)  With in seconds, any person with a newspaper, book, briefcase or purse can take your wallet.

Most hotel chains will not divulge personal information (what room you’re in on the phone or in person)

Note:  You should tell the front desk person if others are sharing the room with you, Give them the names and tell them to add these names to your account.  So in the event they lose their room key, the front desk is authorized to issue keys to your roommates .   This applies to everyone in your party. Husband, Wife, Children, Colleagues.

Expensive Jewelry  Passports  should go into a safe deposit box.


Common Sense isn’t common.   There are literally hundreds of reports of Guests opening the door in a bath towels. Leaving the door propped open while they visit friends in another room.  Adults leaving the doors open with their sleeping children inside.    Guest leaving small children in a room alone, while they are in the bar or having a smoke or chatting with friends down the hall or on a different floor.    Many late night stories of crying toddlers looking for their parents.   Unsupervised teenagers walking outside the hotels at 3 am.

Use the peep-hole.   If you hadn’t called for service ,call down to the front desk before opening the door, ask for the name of the employee they dispatched to you.

Never leave your room open!   An open door means open access to any one passing by there are a few hiding places in your room should you return.

If you are traveling with toddlers or small children bolt the highest lock.   Always know where your children are  Predictors are everywhere.    Some of the full service hotels may have phone numbers to babysitting services .


Most of the major hotels have interior rooms.   Hotels with interior rooms are generally safer than those with exterior rooms.   At night, the outer doors are locked .  Guest can enter the hotel with their room key.   Non guest will need permission from hotel employees.       Many full service hotels at night will need a room key for elevator access.

These systems are in place for the safety of the guest.   Do not open the door  for someone outside., do not assume everyone in the elevator is a guest of the hotel.   Remember these are in place for your safety.

Hotel and Motel are magnets for thieves.   Tired guests leaving luggage and packages locked in a car.  People attempting to hide cell phones and valuables under hats, newspapers and clothing is well-known by thieves.      While many hotels have cameras and security, there is less than a 70% chance your items will be recovered.     Do not leave anything in your vehicle anything visible should be stowed in the trunk.. 


Baby Boomers  travel with  too many credit cards and carry  too much cash.   If your wallet is more than an inch thick, you have too many credit cards and cash.  By contrast, European travelers carry fewer credit cards and cash.

A thick wallet sends information to the wrong people.   If your on vacation or traveling for business you’ll need a three to four cards max.   Leave your department store credit cards at home, through the years we’ve seen guests spending hours cancelling credit cards .

American Express is hands down the best travel card, most do not have a limit and if lost American Express is has offices in most major cities.  This is the card to use for rental cars and hotels.    If you plan to travel outside the country, the better ( were not talking interest rates)Credit Cards many through the larger Banks,  Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo.  What you want to look for is 800#’s   International locations, how soon can they get a replacement card to you?  The other card is a simple debt card.   You can avoid fees by getting cash back from your purchase. No conversion fees.

 Debit Cards, Credit Cards, Gift Cards

When you check into a hotel, a hold is placed on your Debit or Credit card.  Depending on the type of hotel, the amount of the hold is the full cost of the room plus 20% to 50%.     When you check out of the hotel,the unused part of the hold is returned to your card.   If a credit card was used at check in, the hold is released within 24 of checkout.   Like the credit card, the hold is released 24 hours of checkout, unlike the credit card, the bank or credit union could hold the amount up to 10 business days.   A Credit Card or Debit Card is required with a gift card.

Tip: If the hotel stay is over one hundred dollars, present the gift card at check in:   If the estimated charges are $250  and you have 2 one hundred-dollar gift cards ask the front desk to apply the gift cards before taking your credit/debit card, this will reduce the overall amount held on the credit card.