Protect your extra Hotel room key!!!

In today’s fast-paced world, traveling has become a common occurrence for most people. Whether it’s for business or leisure, many individuals find themselves in hotels or motels across the globe. However, with this convenience comes a new set of challenges that need to be addressed.

One of the most crucial aspects of hotel/motel safety is protecting your room key. It may seem like a trivial matter, but leaving your extra card key unprotected can lead to disastrous consequences. Leaving your room key in your room is a common mistakes made by travelers. While it may seem like a convenient option, it can lead to disastrous consequences.

TL;DR – Avoid getting an extra room key – unless you really need it and never leave it in your room!

Why Protecting Your Hotel Room Key is Important

A hotel room key is a vital component of your safety when traveling. It is not just a piece of plastic that unlocks your room; it is your gateway to your personal belongings, your privacy, and your safety. Leaving your room key unprotected can lead to unauthorized access to your room, theft of personal belongings, and even physical harm. It can lead to unauthorized access to your room at any time. Anyone who enters your room, maid, maintenance, other staff can take your key and access your room some time later.

Unauthorized Access to Your Room

Leaving your room key unprotected is akin to leaving your front door key in plain sight. A hotel room key, in the wrong hands, can grant access to your room, your belongings, and your privacy. Unauthorized access to your room can lead to theft, property damage, and even physical harm. Protecting your room key is the first step in securing your safety and privacy.

Theft of Personal Belongings

If you leave your room key unprotected in your room, you are essentially leaving your personal belongings vulnerable to theft at any time during your stay. Thieves can easily access your room, take what they want, and leave without anyone noticing.

Physical Harm

Leaving your room key can also lead to physical harm. If an unauthorized person gains access to your room, they can harm you or your loved ones. Additionally, if you are in the room when an unauthorized person gains access, you can find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. Protecting your room key can prevent such scenarios from occurring.

First hand experience!

On a trip to Philadelphia, I got two room keys as I often do by default — the Hotel shall remain nameless to protect the guilty. A confluence of separate situations ended up with a horrible outcome…

I was returning from Europe and had bought a few gifts and brought them back with me. I had a short business stop over in Philadelphia. When I got to my room – late – I didn’t notice that there was NO safe. This was a Marriott family hotel and I expected a safe in the room. Though the room didn’t have a safe it did have a refrigerator — a very noisy refrigerator. I was not aware, that evening, that there was no safe, but was well aware of the noisy fridge. I called down to the front desk to ask if, the next day, they could possible repair, replace or just turn off the fridge. I went to bed.

I got up the next day to get ready to head to all day meetings and that is when I realized there wasn’t a room safe. I called down to ask if I was just not looking in the right place and the front desk said that some of the room didn’t have safes — but was assured that my room was secure. Not having a place to “safely” put the things, I left them — the gifts and some electronics — in my bag and zipped up my luggage, put it next to bed and left for the day.

Late in the afternoon I  returned to my room. I noticed that the fridge was quiet and was in fact working. Yay — I thought — not that I had bought anything to put in it but at least it would not disturb a quiet night’s sleep. I also noticed that my bag was on the bed — not next to it — strange! There should not have been any reason for my bag to have been moved.

I opened my bag to find that a number of the presents and some of my electronics were missing! I called down to the desk and said that someone had come into my room and took some items. “Security” came up and took my statement and asked for a list of items that were missing.

The next day I left a message for security and the manager with the list of items. I came back at lunch to see what the hotel had found out. The head of security said that they reviewed the room entry logs (from the key card system) and it showed that my room key card was used to access the room the previous day at 3:35pm. I explained that that would have been impossible since I was giving a talk blocks away at that time. I asked what time engineering had come in to replace or repair the fridge. They said that the logs showed that they came into the room at 1:52pm. There was only one other room access and that at 5:52pm (when I returned to my room).

The manager (who had now joined us) and the head of security seemed very skeptical of the my story. Given the logs, it felt very much like I was not being believed. They indicated that they were not going to pursue this — so I said that I wanted to file a police report and asked them to call the local authorities.

About 2 and ½ hours later the police, along with the manager, arrived at my room. The officer took my statement as well as the list of items that were missing. The manager said that the room entry log didn’t show anyone entering the room other than my key at 3:35pm. And I said, “other than engineering to fix the fridge”.

One of the items that was taken was a FreedomCall cellphone that I only used to make WiFi calls when traveling abroad. I went onto their website and found that the phone had been used to make about thirty call over the past day and most of the calls to a single phone number in Philadelphia. I gave this information to both the hotel management as well as the police.

The next day I was called and asked to come to the office. In the office was the manager, head of security and the police officer along with a number of the items that had been taken! I asked what had happened.

I was told that one of the numbers I gave to them was familiar to the hotel — it was the home of one of the employees. When they asked this person, he explained that when they were in my room to fix the fridge he saw my “extra” room key laying on the counter and took it. Later he returned to the room and, using my card, went in, went through my bag, grabbed some items and left. He left the room key card on the counter.

Lesson Learned

This incident serves as a warning to all travelers to be careful with their hotel room keys. If you get an extra room key card, do not leave it in the room. Alternatively, you can avoid getting extra key cards altogether. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.