The End of Do Not Disturb Signs?

Everyone who’s traveled even a little bit is familiar with this practice at hotels –  if you don’t want to be bothered you place a “Do not Disturb” sign on the outside door handle. But that sign may soon become extinct. After the Las Vegas shooter killed 58l by sneaking thousands of rounds of ammunition and more than 20 firearms into his room, he hung a Do Not Disturb sign on his door – and his room was unchecked for several days. That’s one of the main reasons that Walt Disney World recently changed their policy earlier this year. Now, a hotel employee is required to enter every room at least once every 24 hours. Many Disney hotels have changed the room sign to a “Room Occupied” sign.

Room Occupied

Other hotels are making similar changes:

  • The Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas will now check on guests if they have their Do Not Disturb sign up for two consecutive days.
  • Hilton has instituted a policy where a team member alerts a security or duty manager if a sign has been in place on a guestroom door for more than 24 consecutive hours.
  • Wynn Resorts will have employees investigate if a sign is in place for at least 12 hours.

A spokesperson for the American Hotel and Lodgings Association says “One of the lodging industry’s top priorities is the safety and security of its guest and employees. Most hotels now have Do Not Disturb policies in place, ranging from 24 to 72-hour time frames in which hotel staff will enter a room. Because hotels own the rooms, they have the right to enter for reasons of security, safety maintenance or sanitation purposes.”

Safety Trumps Privacy?

Online comments about changes to the Disney policy has varied. Some people have said “no problem; I have nothing to hide” while others are completely outraged and have said they would boycott Disney parks.

The issue is one that balances guest privacy with a duty of care and security that hotels owe their customers and employees. This safety issue should be considered by other businesses and organizations. Where does the duty of care begin and end in a workplace and other publicly places?

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