The Staggering Cost from Hotel Theft



A study undertaken by the British Hotel Association has found women are more likely to steal items from hotel rooms than men. Often these will be small items like cups and saucers or clothing hangers and laundry bags.

Hotels everywhere agree the most often stolen room item to be towels. Last year Holiday Inn alone reported a loss of more than 560,000 towels throughout its franchise.

But hotel losses are not confined to petty theft.

Recently items such as safety deposit boxes, televisions and desk lamps have been either intercepted or found to be missing when guests vacate a room. Incredibly, when found with the smuggled items guests almost universally claim they don’t know how the item made its way into their suitcase!

Hotel managers winced with the introduction of flat screen TVs. What was already a tempting ‘lift’ suddenly became even more ‘portable’ with new slimline versions of the old tube. To safeguard their property hoteliers linked TVs to a coded in-house system. So even if someone managed to get the flat-screen home, it wouldn’t work

The American Hotel and Lodging association estimated theft in hotels to cost in excess of US$100 million last year.



Interestingly, there is much conjecture over whether hotel thefts mirror the state of the economy around them. Some hoteliers claim they see a rise in thefts as times become leaner. Others argue the opposite: That as an economy declines so too do bookings. And the tougher times become the more only the wealthy are able to make room bookings. Since they are already wealthy, these guests have no need to steal, are therefore less likely to, and so theft rates actually decrease.

Hotels report larger scale thefts are increasingly focusing on guests rather than the hotels themselves.

A recent audacious robbery took place at the upmarket Peninsula in Hong Kong. The Peninsula is one of the most high-tech and security conscious hotels in the world; but no hotel is ever completely immune from tricksters.

A man wearing a pair of slippers shuffled up to the main desk late one evening, telling staff he had lost his room key. He spoke good English and demanded his key be replaced. He was able provide the required identification details – room number, name of the occupant, birthdate etc.

Once issued with another key the man entered the room and again telephoned the front desk. This time he shame-facedly admitted he had forgotten the password to his room safe, and asked for assistance to open it.

This slick manoeuvre allowed him to walk out the Peninsula’s front doors with nearly five thousand dollars in cash, a laptop, wallet, and some small (though expensive) luggage.

This article has been proudly bought to you by the Swanston Hotel Grand Mecure – Sumptuous accommodation, outstanding location, right in the Melbourne CBD.

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