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This video of a hotel housekeeper going through a guest’s belongings is all over the internet.  Some people think “no big deal” while others are incensed.  I recognize the chain (and like it) and realize that this is the action of one individual and not an entire industry.  With that said, the housekeeper was wrong.  Please don’t use the “everybody does it” argument.  No, everybody doesn’t do it.


What the housekeeper did wrong

  • She tried to access the laptop multiple times.  Once is curiosity, more than once is a targeted attack.  As a computer person I take this as a very serious issue.
  • She tried to access every electronic device.  Once is curiosity, every device is electronic snooping.
  • She opened up the luggage, even though it was standing in an out of the way place.  There was no need for her to access the luggage.
  • She spent more time snooping than cleaning.
  • She closed the door.  Almost all hotels have a policy where the door stays open when the housekeeper is inside.  This protects the housekeeper from assault and the guest from theft.

How you can protect yourself

  • Do not lock your valuables in the safe.  Many safes are not safe.
  • Lock your valuables inside your luggage.  This won’t prevent targeted theft, but it will prevent casual theft and access.
  • If you have a wheelie bag, put it in the closet (out of sight, out of mind)
  • If you have a soft bag, put it in the dresser drawer (a less obvious place to look).
  • Put the rest of your stuff into a dresser drawer.  I like to use one drawer for “stuff”, one for clothes, and one for the luggage.  This keeps all of my stuff in a central location so I don’t lose it.
  • Only staying a few days? Put the “Do not disturb” sign on your room and make your own bed.  Housekeeping will love you for it (one less thing to do).
  • If you are staying longer at the hotel then only allow access a few days a week.  Most hotels have a policy that requires room cleaning every 3-4 days.  Find out about those days and then come back to the hotel room at lunch time to check your room.
  • If you see housekeeping, get to know them.  Talk to them and let them know when you will and won’t need their services.  Most people are professionals and want to do a good job.  A personal connection usually means better service too.
  • Tip the maids on the days that you use their services.