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Who Steals from Hotel Rooms and What?

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by Mihaela Schwartz (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and an avid traveler.
Published March 24th 2013
There is no surprise that people lift various small sized objects like towels, soap and other cosmetic products from hotel rooms. But, how frequent is this habit? What are the hotel room lifters' favorites? These are the issues Last Minute's travel experts tried to analyze by means of a survey they conducted among 500 hotels from all over the world.

hotel room

The results are self explanatory: 95% of hotels that participated in the survey confirmed that they have been dealing with this phenomenon on a regular basis, estimating that 1 out of 10 customer proves to be a thief. The hoteliers evaluate the cost of these losses to almost 5.500 per year, and with 5 stars hotels, this estimate is even 4 times higher, reaching an annual average of 20.000.

What do people steal from hotel rooms?

Indeed, the survey confirmed the suspicion that towels are the most frequently stolen objects, accounting for 87% of the thefts. The second favorite items are toiletries (soap, shampoo, etc.) preferred by 60% of the hotels' visitors who want to leave with a small souvenir. Pencils and pens (55%) seem to be useful, too, followed by crockery and cutlery (52%), footwear (39%), bathroom robes (34%), remote controls (28%), and hangers (17%). So far, the preference seems to go towards small sized objects that one can easily slip in a bag or suitcase. However, pillows, duvets and mattresses account for 23% of the thefts, TV sets for 16%, works of art for 6% (just like the lamps), and potted plants for 3%.

hotel room

Who steals from hotel rooms?

Another interesting point the survey made is that hotel rooms' lifters have various profiles. The specialists who processed the results describe the following types of personalities:

The DIY-ers, who love to handle a hammer and a saw in order to steal sanitation items, furniture pieces and even the carpets.
The pragmatists, who focus on useful stuff like remote control batteries, bulbs, toilet brushes, hair dryers, etc.
The heavy-lifters, who have the skills and the muscles to make disappear without a trace large sized items like fire extinguishers, coffee machines, safes, chairs, bedside cabinets, irons and ironing boards, mini-bars, and even a large palm tree located in the hotel's lobby.
The artists, who focus on the object's aesthetic value and prefer paintings, sculptures and china objects.
The movers more rare, but who exist nonetheless; they simply empty the hotel room.

Have you ever taken a 'souvenir' from a hotel? If so, please leave a comment.
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I always take the shampoo and conditioners because once they are used they are not going to leave them for the next person are they? so i wouldn't class it as theft since they are complimentary items but I do know of someone stealing a pillow just because she liked it.
by Staci (score: 0|9) 2029 days ago
I also take Shampoo & Conditioner if there is any left. Hotels do not refill them (against OH&S) & throw them away if opened. I've already paid for them, so they are mine. It is not theft to take what one has paid for. Pens are usually cheap - less than 30cents in the quantities purchased and they run out very quickly. Pens are an "expected loss" and are part of by the Marketing budget!
by fluffynut (score: 2|859) 1983 days ago
I haven't stayed at a hotel in years but I think if I did, the only thing I would take is a bar of soap. I wouldn't feel comfortable taking anything else.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12050) 1935 days ago

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