It’s the question we all ask ourselves as we do that last minute check around a hotel room before check-out.
Sure, you can pack up the individually wrapped soaps but what else is up for grabs inside your average hotel room?
Recent reports from The Sun, who scoured online forum Quora, has come back with a number of responses to this age old question.
And based on the answers, around 99% of the time there’s no consequence to nicking something from your room – be it the shampoo or the couch cushion.
This lack of punishment is for two common reasons, per the post; that it’s hard to pinpoint which guest stole something, and that plenty of hotels actually build in a theft cost into their yearly budget.
Teodor Birsa, who has worked in a number of hotels, said, “Nothing [happens]. If we catch them in the process and they refuse to return the property, we might let police handle the issue, but if the stuff isn’t of a particularly high value we just let them go.
“Or, if we see that something is missing after they leave, we view it as one of the normal risks in the business and forget about it.
“This kind of stuff happens all the time – there are a lot of people who enjoy free stuff, and petty theft isn’t beneath them. More than you would expect actually – it’s surprising how greedy we humans get, when nobody’s watching.”
Tyna Makpo, who’s worked in hospitality, said, “Perhaps a decade ago, it was a real issue for hotels, but today, towels are mostly considered Operating Supplies and their replacements are very carefully planned for within operations budgeting.
“In my opinion though, the real issue from the guest’s perspective should be the embarrassment of getting caught – especially with a pillow (that’s a tad overboard wouldn’t you say).”
Aditya Sanghi, Co-Founder and CEO of Hotelogix, added, “It actually depends on the Hotel’s policies. Some Hotels go to extremes just to “Teach” a lesson to guests who steal. Here’s an example – 3 Months in Jail for Stealing Hotel Towels.
“However, most Hotels come up with their own unique ideas to outsmart these kind of guests. Here is a blog with more insights – How to outsmart hotel guests that steal!”
In a confession, Account Manager Gaby Martino admitted, “I have stayed in many hotels in my travels, and have taken things home with me on many occasions, usually by accident.
“I stay at the Ritz Carlton every June with my family. A couple of years ago I decided I was going to ‘borrow’ one, despite the sign hanging on the robe that clearly said something like “Please enjoy this robe during your stay. If you would like to purchase one, let concierge know and we will bring you a new one to take home, or you may take this one home and we will charge it to your account”.
“Got a call from my dad about a week later. “Did you take a robe from the hotel? They charged me $150!!”
“I also have a number of the beach towels from the Ritz because they are HUGE and fluffy, but they hand those out like candy at the beach cabanas and doubt they ever count or have a way of keeping track of them, so those would be the ‘easiest’ to ‘borrow’.
I don’t ~~condone~~ stealing, but I certainly borrow things from large hotels that I spend lots and lots of money at and revisit many years in a row. I think its a fair return on my investment ;)”
Hotelier Richard Gale also commented, “The most stolen items are airco and TV remotes, though neither would work anywhere else, so why bother ? These cost 50-75 eur so of course we charge…
“In our hotels we charge their credit card after departure, as stated in out Terms and Conditions…IF and it’s a big if, it’s spotted. A pillow would be noticed but a towel?”
Heather Barford, former Cook, waitress, claimed, “In the past I worked in a variety of such places in a couple of countries, some counted everything and charged others didn’t even bother.
“One place… some almost stripped their rooms, even bedside mats were rolled up and tied. Woollen blankets, bedspreads you name it.”