Jodi - posted on 02/06/2011 ( 60 moms have responded )
I thought this article was interesting, and after reading it, the question comes to mind......what do YOU think is acceptable, and why?
There are some strange ones in this article that WERE deemed acceptable, so it looks like it is a matter of personal perception.
Police stopped a small hatchback because it was being erratically driven - but didn't expect to find it crammed with stolen bed linen, towels and other hotel property.
The couple in the car were arrested - and police advised Melbourne's Novotel St Kilda that stolen property, some with the hotel's name, had been recovered. Here the story turned mysterious. Hotel staff rushed to check the room but reported nothing was missing. This seemed decidedly odd. Then other employees discovered depleted stock in several storage rooms, commonly left open while guest rooms are serviced. Storage rooms contain clean towels, fresh linen, toiletries and cleaning equipment. Rooms manager Jodie Bell stacked the stolen haul on a luggage trolley and returned it to storage.
Hotel staff report a surge in thefts.
Take hangers, for instance. These were regular wooden hangers, often with hotel logos, which would frequently disappear. But a clever inventor came up with an anti-theft design: hangers attached to rings fixed to the rail. Most hotels now use these - except roadside motels, which prefer wire hangers like those given away by dry cleaners.
Over the past 15 years hotels have taken "regrettable" moves to stop thieves, said David Perry, chief executive officer and general manager at Melbourne's Windsor Hotel.
"Fortunately, guests dislike being treated as potential thieves. Hotels resisting such penny-pinching are rewarded with additional patronage," he said.
"If you send out a message 'We don't trust you with a coat hanger' how on earth can you expect brand loyalty?"
According to Perry, "souvenirs" taken by guests include ashtrays, towels and bathrobes. However, hotel executives say taking a few toiletries is acceptable - soaps, shampoos or conditioners (particularly if partly used). Movie star Jackie Chan illustrated his frugality in an interview by boasting he always takes partly-used toiletries.
Some general managers say it's acceptable to take notepads and pens. But others have replaced pens with pencils. Trying to curb theft has pitfalls. One general manager told me his crackdown almost cost him his job. Towels disappeared whenever groups sent by a particular travel agency stayed. Finally, he demanded guests open bags in the lobby - retrieving dozens of towels. A few days later, his boss at head office angrily complained he'd received a protest from the travel company. "Don't ever do that again," he warned. "They supply a lot of business."
The Perth manager of an old-fashioned hotel using keys instead of key cards was annoyed that `grey nomad' coach groups often souvenired keys. So he told them not to return keys to reception but to keep them for a lucky draw. Once everyone was on the coach, he boarded with a bottle of sparkling wine. Guests put their keys in a hat - for a chance to win the bubbly. "I beat the problem with cheap wine," he revealed.
A Holiday Inn senior executive in the US bragged to me that "every bathroom in America has a Holiday Inn towel". He saw this as effective advertising. But a policy change saw removal of logos and policing of thefts. Thefts sparked several major hotel chains' decisions to switch to towels with no logos.
Light bulbs are often stolen - so much so that some hotels include replacements on chambermaids' trolleys. One North American chain loses 140,000 bulbs a year to theft. Aside from towels and light bulbs, commonly stolen items include kettles, irons and hair dryers (the latter, increasingly, are fixed into place) along with room service crockery and cutlery.
Not just city hotels suffer. A rural Queensland motel owner watched two men park their ute outside their room - and later discovered they'd made off during the night with a large plasma TV.
Sometimes stolen items are decidedly oddball. Phillip Boniface, manager of Sydney's Travelscene Carlingford, heard about a guest whose home wallpaper design was inspired by hotel art. He helped himself to the art, to show his interior designer, but replaced it with something from his briefcase. A month later he found himself staying in the same room of the same hotel - where his replacement art was still in place. No-one had noticed.
"I heard of one guest going to the hotel's lost property desk 'to see what was on offer'," recalled Helen Demetriou, travel.com.au executive general manager.
"He started choosing items that took his fancy. The hotel let it slide the first time - but the third time he wasn't so lucky when a staff member cottoned on to what he was up to."
Another phenomenon involves swapping. Guests bring old appliances, swapping them for later-model kettles or whatever.
Hotels in China and Malaysia prevent theft by displaying price lists saying everything is for sale: pens, informational compendiums, plasma TVs and artwork. A hotel in Kunming, China, even lists metal window frames.
Australia's first anti-theft notices related to bathrobes, advising "these can be purchased from housekeeping".
Even carpets aren't safe. At one Australian hotel a bed was moved during the night so a square of carpet could be cut to be folded and placed in a suitcase.
But, sometimes, taking nothing is itself a problem. At Dubai's Burj Al Arab, describing itself as one of the world's most expensive hotels, a silk-clad butler ran after me as I left. He thrust at me a stylish hotel carrier bag containing a box of Arabic pastries and a bottle of Australian red.
"You forgot something in your room, sir - the management's gifts to guests," he explained.