Anyone who’s traveled a lot will advise you to keep your valuables in a safe place when visiting a hotel.
Unfortunately, many guests learn the hard way.
If you misplace an item and suspect housekeeping stole it, report the matter to hotel security. If the hotel uses key cards, they will track who came in and out of your room and may even use footage from surveillance cameras as part of the investigation.
If the security team finds the staff member who cleaned your room, they’ll approach them and act in accordance with hotel staff policies and local laws.
Confirm That Housekeeping Stole Your Item
While theft by housekeeping staff isn’t new in the industry, guest negligence is also common.
You must be 100% sure the staff stole your item; otherwise, you’re wasting everyone’s time, including your own.
It’s also not a good look to accuse someone of stealing when you’ve lost the item yourself.
Before reporting a stolen item, take a deep breath.
A burst of outrage might make you oblivious to what’s happening (necklaces break, or maybe you left your phone at a restaurant).
Most of all, conduct an in-depth search for the item before jumping to any conclusions.
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Check Your Room
Look everywhere – under the pillows, under the bed, under the furniture – everywhere.
It’s especially important to search thoroughly for small items like jewelry.
It doesn’t take long to notice when someone has stolen your laptop. On the other hand, a missing earring requires more time looking.
You should also extend the search if you’re used to walking around with the item (a wallet, for example).
That means returning to the places you last visited, in addition to searching your room and belongings.
Check Your Bags and Other Possessions
When you’re missing an item, unpack your bag and look in every pocket. Check your coat, pants, and anything else you wore where things might hide.
Your diamond bracelet might be in the coat you wore before dinner.
Your phone might be in the bag you took to the pool earlier.
Your cash might have fallen through the hole in your pocket and into the lower part of your jeans.
Check everywhere, even if it doesn’t seem reasonable for your item to be there.
Retrace Your Steps
Go back to the places you visited before noticing the missing item.
You may have left your phone at the gym or your credit card at the restaurant.
Scan the ground as you walk back to the location.
Depending on the size, the item might have fallen off while heading to your room.
Unfortunately, earrings and other jewelry can fall off, so make sure you weren’t wearing the piece the day it went missing.
When at the locations, ask the management if anything’s been turned in.
If you’re still convinced the missing item was in your room when you left – you still can’t find it anywhere – take the matter to hotel security.
How Do You Stop Housekeeping From Stealing?
It’s one thing for housekeeping to steal your jewelry during one vacation. It’s another to have the same experience on your next trip.
Both events might have been out of your control, but you can reduce the chances of getting robbed using the tips below.
Don’t Draw Attention to Yourself
This tip mainly applies when checking in.
Whenever possible, do not pay for your stay with cash.
A wad of bills is unlikely to do you any favors.
Regardless of the amount, it’s almost impossible to trace cash when it’s stolen.
In comparison, credit card companies allow you to block your funds.
Your card also has your name and a unique identifying number.
Though credit card scams are prevalent, you have a better chance of getting your funds back in case of theft.
But this said, I’m advising you to still use cash.
There’s a reason the world is not entirely cashless, and that’s because physical money still has its use.
You’ll need cash for tips, small items like bottled water, or bus fare.
Withdraw a small amount every two days to not risk losing everything.
And if you have expensive jewelry, take it off before checking in.
Keep Track of Your Items
Most electronics today have serial numbers that help you identify them in case of theft or misplacement.
Keep a record of these numbers as a mode of precaution.
Also, take note of other identifiers on your valuables.
These strategies might be the only way to track down items after an unfortunate event.
Locking your room is always advisable, but you can also add another layer.
Leave the TV on when you’re not around.
The staff won’t know whether you’re within the area, reducing the chances of theft because of the fear of being caught.
Of course, a sneaky person can still pick up your gold watch while cleaning the room, so always keep your items in a secure storage area, like the hotel safe.
If you want housekeeping to clean your room, you can always call them when you’re back in your room.
They don’t have to do it in your absence, which might reduce paranoia.
Another tip is to use a diversion safe.
These are safes disguised as regular items (like a bottle of bleach, a can of soda, a clock, etc.)
The space might be smaller than a regular safe, but it’s a security layer most guests don’t think about.
You also get to feel like James Bond.
Use the Room Safe
Most hotel rooms have a safe that allows you to keep your items secure.
If yours has one, use it.
Ensure to set a passcode that’s not connected to any aspect of your life.
It also shouldn’t be too easy to guess.
Room safes are a great way to store items as they might help your case if you lose something valuable.
Because they’re the hotel’s ‘possession,’ the hotel might be liable for negligence – if you can prove it.
I’m not saying you should use room safes to sue your hotel, but knowing you have a chance to retrieve an item (or even gain compensation) is great assurance for those reluctant to use one.
Is the Hotel Responsible for My Stolen Items?
In most cases, the hotel isn’t liable for your property unless you can prove it.
The legal concept of “Innkeepers Liability” is common in such scenarios.
It’s a legal concept explaining whether or not the hotel is responsible for your stolen items. If they are, the court usually attributes it to negligence.
Example scenarios include insufficient security, lack of proper investigation, faulty room safes, and many more.
The hotel is also negligent if it was in a position to stop the theft (and didn’t) and if other employees knew about the situation but didn’t report it.
Whether or not you have a successful lawsuit depends on several factors you might not have control over.
To be safe, ensure you have sufficient evidence before taking the matter to court.
Losing a valuable item sucks, but hotels try their best to screen their employees to reduce the potential for theft.
When visiting any hotel, it’s important to do your part and ensure your items are secure.
Reduce the amount of cash you carry and be extra cautious if bringing expensive jewelry.
Use the room safe and other, more unpredictable, security methods.
And if you still get something stolen, be sure it’s not under the bed before reporting the issue.
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