Video: Housekeeper Rifling Through Belongings of Hotel Guest?

A  video supposedly secretly documents a member of the housekeeping staff allegedly going through the belongings of a guest at an unnamed “brand-named hotel” property located in the United States on Wednesday, November 5, 2014.

Here is the video by a person named Vince Stravix with which you can judge for yourself:

Do you believe that this member of the housekeeping staff would deserve a gratuity placed in an envelope — designed to encourage you to tip the housekeeping staff — on the night stand set beside the bed?

I am currently traveling to Indianapolis to stay at a Hampton Inn hotel property — which FlyerTalk members deduce is the hotel brand in question. Regardless, I am not concerned at all.

Whenever I stay at a hotel property, I never “make myself at home.” If you take a look at any of the trip reports and reviews of hotel properties I post here at The Gate, you will notice that the room typically looks like a guest did not stay there. That is because I virtually never unpack — save for hanging a few items such as shirts in the closet. I leave everything hidden to mitigate any temptation of a possible rogue member of the housekeeping staff from taking my items…

…and in the years in which I have traveled all over the world, I have never had anything stolen from a hotel room. Never.

By the way, one part of the video which I found particularly uncomfortable is having the pillows dropped on the floor by the housekeeper and then placed back on the bed. I do not want to sleep on a pillow which was on the floor without having first been washed.

If an item is of particular value to me, I will usually take it with me if I either need to use it while out of the hotel room; or I will hide it well so that a potential thief will have a difficult time finding it. Similarly to vehicles, a potential thief looks for the easiest score. I can assure you that my room is not that easy score…

…and if you think that storing valuables in the safe in your hotel room is the answer, think again. The safest bet is usually to leave them at the front desk with proof that your valuables have been left in their care, if they offer that service; and the personnel at the front desk will most likely have a more secure safe in which to temporarily store your valuables.

I offered some advice on how not to lose your valuables in this article originally posted on July 9, 2012:

  1. Do not take more than you need. The more items you bring with you, the more times you will need to do inventory whenever you move from one location to another while you are traveling — and therefore the greater are your chances of losing something. With the advent of technology, you can now have your camera, video camcorder, music player, address book, calendar and even publications stored in one convenient device. Unless absolutely necessary, there is no need carry items which serve a duplicitous purpose. Take clothing with which you can mix and match, and do not fear wearing each item of clothing more than once. If that causes you to be squeamish, consider having those few pieces of your clothing items laundered while traveling for a nominal cost. More valuable advice on traveling light can be found here — including how to successfully carry a suit in a carry-on bag, which I have been doing for years.
  2. Do not take more cash than you need. I take just enough cash in case of an emergency — otherwise, the credit cards I take with me usually more than suffice whenever I need them. Although I usually attempt not to use it, I would rather pay the potential surcharges incurred on my bank card when using an automated teller machine rather than leave excess money in my hotel room with a chance of it being stolen — or worse, potentially be robbed of it when carrying it on my person. Those extra charges probably look quite good rather than have had the money gone forever in the case of anyone who had their cash stolen or lost.
  3. Use the hotel safe. If you really must have extra cash immediately available when you travel, you can take a chance by storing it in the safe in the hotel room if it is equipped with one — but there is no guarantee that you will see it again in there either. Rather, take any valuables you have and have the front desk clerk or manager store your items in the hotel safe instead — and be sure you get an official signed receipt as proof that the hotel indeed does have your belongings, just in case there is a dispute. This option may be less convenient, but it is far more secure.
  4. Use the pocket on the back of the seat in front of you on an airplane sparingly. Out of sight, out of mind is how that old saying goes. I never put anything of value there. That ensures a significantly better chance of leaving your item in there after you deplane — especially if the item sinks deep into the pocket. I usually hold on to my items, or have them in the seat with me. After the airplane lands, I search all areas around and underneath my seat, as well as the pocket on the back of the seat in front of me, just in case to ensure that I am indeed leaving nothing behind when I am ready to exit.
  5. Create a routine. Routines are boring, but they ensure that you will lose fewer belongings if you adhere to them. I already mentioned my routine aboard an airplane, and I do similar routines with rental cars and hotel rooms. I search every cavity and area when I return a rented vehicle to a rental car facility as they prepare my receipt: in the trunk, under all seats and floor mats, in the glove compartment, the console between the seats, the pockets in the car doors and the backs of the front seats, and any other hidden areas — and you might be surprised at how much I find as a result, such as $5.00 worth of quarters in a film canister under the driver’s seat. The same goes for hotel rooms: under the bed, in the drawers of every piece of furniture, around the bathroom, in the closet and over the door jamb. Yes, you read that right — over the door jamb, as I have found money there too. That one still puzzles me…?!?
  6. Personalize your belongings. While ensuring that your name, telephone number and e-mail address are taped, sewed or engraved on your personal belongings does not guarantee a safe return to you in case they ever become lost, it certainly increases your chances of seeing them again. Do not include your home address, however — you probably do not want a stranger knowing where you live.

 

The above list can certainly be inexhaustible; but if these simple tips help prevent even one person from potentially and needlessly losing their valuable belongings or cash on a future trip — including being stolen — then they have served their purpose.

Please share your stories on items which you have lost while traveling, as well as any tips and advice you have to prevent fellow travelers from losing cash and valuables — or from being stolen — while traveling in the future.

Video and screen shot from the video ©2014 by Vince Stravix.

2 thoughts on “Video: Housekeeper Rifling Through Belongings of Hotel Guest?”

  1. Very good posting and advice. One thing to add though is, I wouldn’t paint an entire hotel chain with one brush, assuming ALL the cleaning staff are dishonest, and rogue. And of course not implying that you do that here. However, there will be people who watch this and do that, because, unfortunately, that’s human nature. On that note, in 2013…I lost a wad of 20’s one time at the Hyatt in L.A. area, and the cleaning lady found it under the bed, and placed it in an envelope waiting for me by the lamp.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you, The Value Traveler.

      By the way, I am posting this right now from a Hampton Inn hotel property, of which I intend to post a trip report and review; so definitely not painting an entire hotel chain with one brush.

      In fact, I can hear a vacuum cleaner vigorously being used by a member of the housekeeping staff hard at work in the room next door…

      …and that is an excellent outcome of your experience. It proves that there are still honest and hard-working people in this world!

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