How Do Hotels Prevent Theft?


EXEC finds out what are the no-no’s in the hotel industry.

Have you ever wondered how hotels protect themselves from theft? From opulent lobbies to well equipped rooms, hotels are no different from homes, and are as vulnerable, if not more when it comes to theft. EXEC spoke to hotels to find how they protect themselves.

Security Checks: Besides surveillance cameras, hotels protect themselves in a number of ways. Says Supriyo Dhali, General Manager, Svenska Design Hotels, Mumbai, “Various security gadgets include walk-through scanners, luggage scanners, hand-held detectors and, of course, the standard frisking and pat-downs, etc. The presence of properly trained and well-equipped security guards manning the gates on a 24×7 basis is a major deterrent, too. Furthermore, basic security measures and checks like the housekeeping staff doing a quick check of the room while the guest checks-out is useful in immediately catching any missing items from the room.” Adds Vitthal Teli, Security Manager, Novotel, Mumbai, “Electronic magnetic locks are installed in all rooms, and enables us to track the complete record with details of entry into the respective room, and authorised staff with master keys have access only, apart from the other security measures like security personnel among others.”

Complimentary Vs Non-Complimentary Hotel Items: Complimentary items in hotels include bathroom amenities, mineral water and stationery items. Special packages include complimentary laundry and wi-fi. Non-complimentary items include the minibar, bathrobes, towels, hair driers and other in-room equipment like furniture, fixtures and furnishings.

Uncommon Items That Have Gone Missing: “Hotel guests often take away items that they are not meant to. These include towels, bathrobes, newspaper and laundry bags, in-room compendium, etc. Given the plethora of gadgets that are now given to guests for their convenience (from the iron to the iPod Docking stations to the DVD players to remote controls to the hair drier, amongst others), it is increasingly very challenging for the hotels to check and ensure that none of these items go missing,” says Dhali adding that, “CCTVs with both live monitoring and recordings act as significant deterrents for thefts.” Says Kuldeep Chauhan, Chief Security Officer, The Metropolitan, “Sometimes they carry writing pad leather folder gets taken away as well.”

Linen Technology Tracking Devices: Anti-theft systems are yet to be implanted in linens, at least, in Indian hotels. Teli says that their linens like towels and robes have the “Novotel logo on them”. Similarly, “There are no chip/tags implanted in these items. These items are checked manually when the guest checks out,” adds Chauhan.

Loss Incurred by Hotels: Says Dhali, “Though it is not a significant amount (usually less than 2%), but the time, effort and process that is put in to prevent such losses/ thefts is pretty significant. If the basic precautions and measures are not taken, such losses/ thefts could drastically increase, especially given the plethora of items and gadgets that are now kept in an upscale hotel room.”

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