At a recent Association of Corporate Travel Executives’ (ACTE) Education Day, Detective Kevin Coffey outlined a number of best practices for business travel safety.
Most business travelers know the basics of hotel safety, but situations may arise where this isn’t the case. For example, maybe you’re staying in an unfamiliar hotel or forgot to check whether or not there were in-room safes. Here are 10 things you can do to be safer.
Top 10 safety tips for staying in a hotel
- Arriving at the Hotel – If you arrive at the hotel by bus or cab, stay with your luggage until it is brought into the hotel lobby. Keep a close eye on your luggage, purse, etc. when checking in. Thieves often use the distractions of a busy lobby to lift others’ belongings.
- Checking In – Ask the front desk personnel not to announce your name or room number. In recent years, hotels have become accustomed to writing the room number on the room key sleeve (rather than saying it aloud), but they often continue to call patrons by name. While this is friendly customer service, it unfortunately allows those around you to learn your name, and a stranger could easily call the hotel later to reach you. Also, be mindful to not leave your credit card on the check-in counter and always make sure the clerk has given back your credit card.
- Hotel Address – Get the hotel address and keep it accessible, whether that’s with a business card, matchbook, or digital notation in your phone. Trying to get back to your hotel when you don’t know where it’s located can be frustrating, particularly if you are staying at a chain brand with multiple hotels, or in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language.
- Room Selection – Avoid the ground floor. If you have no choice, choose one facing a courtyard or interior of the hotel. When possible, avoid rooms above the sixth floor, as this is generally the maximum height that fire department ladders, especially overseas, can reach.
- Elevator Safety – Observe all passengers in elevators. Board last and select floor buttons last. If someone suspicious boards an elevator, exit as soon as possible.
- Entering the Hotel Room – Check all closets, bathrooms, showers, etc., to make sure there isn’t anyone there. Examine all locks to make sure they are working properly.
- Inside Your Room – Keep the deadbolt or latch locked at all times. You may even want to travel with a doorstop–they’re small and can be packed easily–to wedge the door shut from the inside. Become familiar with the nearest exits and stairwells in case of an emergency. Keep your key in the same place, preferably next to the bed.
- Visitors at Your Door – If someone comes to the door unexpectedly, do not open it, even if they say they’re hotel staff, housekeeping, or maintenance. Ask who they are, what they need, and then call the front desk to verify.
- Valuables – The safest place for valuables is usually in the front desk safe. Get a receipt of items left and remember to ask if the hotel will cover any losses. When using your in-room safe, know that some safes can be opened with a master key or code. If no safe is available, lock your items in your luggage using a Milockie lock, or purchase a portable locking travel safe.
- Leaving Your Room – Leave the television on and place the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the doorknob. If you would like maid service while you’re out, call housekeeping and ask them to keep the sign on the door. Take minimal cash and carry bait money for potential thieves. Wear minimum jewelry, especially women. Always keep these four things “on” you: 1. your ID (passport if traveling internationally, copies when you are out), 2. a credit card, 3. a cell phone, and 4. essential prescription medications. That way, if you lose everything else, at least you have the things that cannot be replaced quickly and easily.