Staying safe in your hotel guestroom
Several weeks ago, two tourists to Las Vegas were murdered in their hotel room, due to what investigators reported as "the latch plate on the door to the tourists' room was broken meaning that it wouldn't secure properly". Las Vegas Metro police also reported that it is not uncommon for thieves to roam strip hotel corridors testing doors to see if guests have left them unlocked. Las Vegas Casino Security questioned....
During my 21 years in the hospitality industry focusing on Safety, Security and Loss Prevention, guest and employee safety was THE priority for my department. Below, I've listed five guestroom safety and security items that you should ensure to be operational when you check into any hotel or resort and if ANY are compromised, have them repaired or request to be moved to another room.
1. When approaching your guestroom door, push on the door to ensure that it is secured. Once you enter the room, ensure that the door closes properly behind you properly. Some interior corridor rooms have automatic closures so ensure that the door closes completely. Unfortunately, this has also caused some guest to have a false sense of door security, if not confirmed. If the door is to be closed manually, ensure that you close the door completely. If the door does not secure properly, contact the front desk and maintenance to have it repaired, or be moved.
The guestroom door should have an automatic deadbolt that engages as the door is closed. There should also be a knob or latch that is to be manually engaged by the guest while in the guestroom. Most hotels will also have a secondary lock (typically at eye level) that can be a latch/bolt type lock, chain lock or a metal block that can be turned to help secure the door. Use your locks to prevent unwanted entry into your room. These secondary locks will also help prevent housekeeping or other staff from entering, should you be in the shower and unable to hear them knocking. If you find the locks inoperable, cracked, broken or missing contact the front desk and maintenance.
2. Peepholes - All guestrooms should have a peephole in the door, two if the room is an accessible room. Ensure that the peephole is clear and not cracked, blocked, painted or turned around, which would allow someone in the hallway to look into your guestroom (remember the Erin Andrews case). If you find the peephole compromised, contact the front desk and maintenance to have it repaired.
3. Window and sliding glass windows are great to look out of when you are on vacation, but they are also another area of concern to be aware of when traveling. Many hotels have windows that do not open, however, if the window does open, ensure that the window lock is operational in both the open and closed positions. Additionally, there should also a secondary lock installed to ensure that the windows can be secured in the open position. These secondary locks should be able to secure the window, so that no one can enter the guestroom (local fire department jurisdictions have the final say regarding whether windows can be restricted) Additionally, windows should have screens in place if windows open.
4. Smoke detectors in guestrooms should be operational. While most guests will not "test" the smoke detectors, a visual inspection of the smoke detector should show a steady or blinking light to indicate that the detector is operating properly. In cold weather states or anywhere where there are furnaces in use for heating, a carbon monoxide detector may either be installed in the guestroom or in the storeroom where the fuel burning appliance is in use. Local jurisdiction fire codes determine the location of the CO detectors.
5. Guestroom phones are not used as often as they were in the "Good old days", because everyone has a personal cell phone. However, it is a good habit to check that the guestroom phone is operational and has both the hotel phone number and room number listed. The room number is important so that in an emergency, you can read your room number instead of trying to recall your room number or find it listed on your folio or key jacket.
While this list is not to be considered the only room security considerations to be aware of when in a hotel or resort, these are a few of the basics that you should verify when you get to your guestroom.
Stay tuned for future updates on additional hotel/resort items to be aware of when traveling as well as restaurant safety and security tips for the public.