Hotels Combat Towel Thieves

Hotels Combat Towel Thieves

The economy is affecting everyone, including hotels.  Hoteliers are facing ever-increasing replacement costs, specifically for towels, since the price of cotton keeps increasing.  So, hotels are taking the high-tech route to combat would-be thieves.  So, if you’re moving and need to stay in a hotel for a night or two, think twice before you steal those towels!

Wondering what we mean?  Some hotels have begun putting RFID chips into their linens.  Yes, these chips are very similar to those that help identify lost pets – which happens all too often during relocation.  Once an RFID chip has been placed in a towel, for example, an alarm goes off somewhere once you leave the hotel with it.

And the fun doesn’t stop with the towels.  Some hotels are placing the little radio frequency chips into the fabric of their bathrobes and bed sheets as well. The use of the RFID chips is two-fold.  On one hand you get better inventory management.  On the other, you get to deal with the fact that a lot of hotel guests steal towels – and lots of them.  Towels seem to be the biggest movers among hotel linens.

Surveys carried out a couple of years ago by Orbitz showed that almost 20% of hotel guests have admitted to stealing towels.  Only a handful of people stole bathrobes and bathmats.  But, one Honolulu hotel that has started using RFID chips took note that their missing towels dropped from 4,000 a month to just 750.

The question is what the hotel will do once they know you’re the culprit.  It doesn’t seem likely you’ll need to move into your local jail, but they may end up charging your credit card for the linens.

Jon Huser