Tips for Ensuring Your Safety in Hotels


Due to being high-profile Western symbols and having guests with perceived wealth, hotels have become a target of criminals and terrorists alike. While petty theft is the most likely threat faced by travelers, fires, natural disasters and terrorist attacks are some of the other concerns that may compromise a traveler's safety in hotels. Hotels with robust security measures, have on occasion mitigated the worst of the impact from terror attacks and have kept guests safe.

Below are some simple steps that a traveler should implement before booking a hotel, upon arrival and during their stay. The extent of the measures that are implemented will depend upon the local threat environment.

Research the area and book online

Do your research before booking. Identify the broad threat environment and identify the cultural expectations. To do so, visit Pre-Trip Information available on our website at and via the free Global Travel Plus Mobile App.

When sourcing a hotel, avoid areas of the city that are known to have a high crime rate, are associated with protests, or areas that experience ethnic tension. Likewise, where violent unrest is frequent, trips should be booked outside of election periods or during heightened tension.  

In cities that have a high terrorism threat or where political instability and terrorism are a concern, the security measures employed by the hotel are more important. Critical security features that you should look out for are: a clearly defined perimeter; set back from the street more than 50 meters; vehicle access control; monitored surveillance systems; pedestrian control; on-site security personnel; card access control within elevators; and staff that are multi-lingual and available 24/7. You should avoid hotels that are adjacent to high-profile targets such as government buildings or diplomatic missions – these are often targets of terrorist attacks or protests.

Booking and checking in

By booking online you can save time at check-in and limit the amount of information that you have to provide over the counter. To prevent identity fraud, it is better to provide a company address when registering. Do not leave your luggage unattended, and do not display your room number. You should request a room that is between the second and fifth floor, that is not directly above the front lobby, and that does not have an inter-locking door. The floors above the second floor are more secure from attackers, and fire engine ladders can usually reach the fifth floor.

In the room

Ensure that your room has working locks on all doors and windows and has a spy hole and key-chain on the main door. If any of these are defective, you should notify reception and ask for them to be fixed, or for an alternative room.

Familiarize yourself with the hotel and take note of safety procedures and all the fire escapes and emergency routes. You should also take the opportunity to locate the hotel within the city by identifying the local landmarks that are close to the hotel.

Do not open your door, especially late at night, until you have confirmed the visitor’s identity. Be wary of callers who claim to be hotel employees; phone reception to confirm their identity. Do not host meetings with unfamiliar people in your room, instead use the hotel’s common areas such as the lobby.

In countries where there is a serious cyber security concern, you may consider leaving any electronic equipment at your local office, with your hosts, or otherwise keeping them on your person. Do not leave work documents on display in your room either.

Grab bag

If you are traveling to regions that are storm-prone or where there is a concern associated with other environmental hazards, organize some basic supplies in a waterproof container or bag. These emergency supplies should include: whistle, small flash-light, spare cell phone and charger, bottled water, small amount of non-perishable food, local currency and credit card, medications, and vital travel documents. In these areas – or where local infrastructure is otherwise unpredictable - the hotel should have access to emergency power generators which are in good working condition, with adequate access to a fuel supply.

Leaving the room

When leaving your room, display the ‘do not disturb’ sign. Leave the light on so that you can easily check that the room is secure upon returning. Use the elevators instead of stairwells which are often not covered by CCTV and may be used by criminals. Be confident when leaving the hotel. Ensure that you have a working cell phone with a local sim card where applicable, and with local information and emergency details. Know where you are going and avoid regularly repeating the same route between your hotel and place of work or visit.
Posted: 9/13/2019 9:00:00 AM