The Ultimate Hotel Safety Checklist
Traveling and staying at hotels may put you at risk for a number of different attacks, both physical and financial.
Here at Hotel Engine, we take extra steps to find safe hotels that strongly limit these risks. We also encourage you to take common-sense precautions.
This guide will help you protect yourself and your belongings while staying in a hotel. If you’re a travel manager or frequent traveler, add these step by step instructions to your policy documents to make sure you’re always booking and staying in safe hotels.
Travel managers may want to link this checklist in their travel policy documents.
Are you ready to check off some boxes?
Table of Contents
1. Choose Your Hotel Wisely
2. Ask for a Specific Room
3. Be Discreet When Checking In
4. Empty Your Car and Park in View
5. Invest in Your Own Locks
6. Be Careful When Your Room Is Unoccupied
7. Use a VPN
1. Choose your Hotel Wisely
A report done by Cornell University in 2009 shows that bigger and more upscale hotels have the highest safety ratings. Your best bet is to book hotels that best meet those standards within your company budget.
When deciding on a hotel, the natural approach is to research based mainly on the price and proximity to your destination.
To ensure hotel room safety and avoid scams, it is advised that your research goes a little deeper.
What type of neighborhood is the hotel in?
You can get a good idea of the neighborhood by looking at the satellite and street view through Google Maps.
It can also be helpful to read reviews from others who stayed there. If they complained of noise or a less-than-welcoming neighborhood, it probably isn’t your best bet.
What security measures do they have?
Ensure that you or your team members are safe by finding out what the hotel security plans include.
Look for a property with these security measures at a minimum:
- 24-hour staffed lobby
- Security cameras in public areas
- Digital room keys and other room technology
- A well-lit exterior
- Gated and locked rear and side entrances
2. Ask for a specific room
Instead of simply booking a room based on the size or number of beds, ask for a specific room. Some rooms have a lower potential for danger.
Choose the right level
Rooms on the ground floor and the second floor are the most prominent targets of crime since they are easiest to get into and out of. You’ll want to stay away from these floors if you can.
Floors above the fifth level are harder to get out of in case of emergency or fire, so you don’t want those either.
Ask for a room on floors three to five since they are located in the sweet spot, further away from ground floor access but not so far away that it takes too long to get out if necessary.
Choose the best room location
To find the best room, look at a hotel layout map. Most hotels provide this online.
Find the fire escape routes and fire exits. Choose rooms closer to emergency exits, stairwells or elevators to make for an easier escape plan.
If the rooms have balcony access, you’ll also want to choose rooms with the most outdoor lighting. Most ill-intentioned individuals strike in the darkest areas.
Related reading: 16 Must-Know Corporate Travel Safety Tips
3. Be discreet when checking in
It is best to be as discreet as possible when you are checking into your hotel and keep corporate travel arrangements confidential.
Don’t tell the front desk your personal information out loud, and ask them to write down your room number instead of telling you.
Some criminals will listen to your room number, wait in the lobby for you to leave and then break into your room.
It’s also beneficial to book online so that you need minimal information exchanged when you arrive, such as your credit card number. If you can, use a virtual credit card so that your primary payment methods aren’t on file. It’s something you can do when you book your hotel through a service like Hotel Engine.
Don’t discuss your itinerary with the hotel staff, as this will tell others when your room will be empty and when you will be alone.
When you have your bags with you — at check in or otherwise — place them between your feet. Many luggage thefts occur during this process when the guest and staff are distracted.
If you can, leave your bigger bags locked and out of sight in the car until you handle the check-in process.
4. Empty your car and park in view
The best places to park your vehicle to protect it from theft are in front of the hotel lobby or your hotel room door. If neither is possible, try to park within view of your hotel room window.
It’s also helpful to park under a lamp post. Remember that criminals prefer to work in the dark.
Don’t leave valuables in your car overnight. Keep them in the hotel room safe instead.
5. Invest in your own locks
Although most upscale hotels invest in quality locks, it doesn’t hurt to bring an extra temporary door lock or door stopper for good measure.
While you are in the room, keep the deadbolt and lock or doorstop on at all times.
Make sure your windows are locked as well and cover the peephole.
Related reading: How To Create Trip Risk Assessments to Keep Employees Safe
6. Be careful when your room is unoccupied too
If you know you will be leaving the hotel room for some time, there is a protocol to follow that can help minimize your risk of becoming the victim of theft.
To create the illusion that the room is occupied, leave the lights on and the television on at low volume.
Place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door handle and keep the drapes closed.
Place all your valuables in the in-room hotel safe, or bring your own to protect them while you are away.
7. Use a VPN
While many security tips are mostly common sense, some first-time hotel guests aren’t fully aware of the broad spectrum of dangers they open themselves up to.
For example, many don’t know that hotel Wi-Fi leaves you open to digital theft. It’s best to assume that the Wi-Fi network is public, or that many people have access to it — and your information can easily be hacked.
A VPN will protect you from this danger. It is wise to invest in a subscription to this type of service before your next trip.
Another way that digital criminals can get your information is through a USB port. Don’t use a USB port without a data blocker to eliminate this risk.
Related: Is There a Hidden Camera in Your Hotel Room?
The need to be safety-conscious while staying in a hotel is only becoming more urgent. For peace of mind, following these hotel safety tips can help.
Also, the quality of the hotel (or lack thereof) can greatly affect your chances of becoming a victim of a crime during your stay.
Hotel Engine always partners with hotels that prioritize your safety and put into place safety measures to prove it.
Sara Kern is a Copywriter at Hotel Engine. She worked as a writer in the tech and apparel industries for almost a decade before joining the HE family, but also has experience coordinating business travel for fast-moving nonprofits, so she knows firsthand how hard it can be. She joined Hotel Engine in 2022 and is excited to be a part of the movement to radically simplify trip management for everyone.