Why hotel ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs are in the spotlight

Guest Contributor

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Do Not Disturb Sign

Are you one of those people who hangs the ‘do not disturb’ sign as soon as you come in your hotel room? Well, for those of you who are into that habit, hotels might lose the sign soon.

It was Disney Hotels that changed the message in their signs first. The iconic brand recently changed the message in their doors from “Do Not Disturb” to a more subtle “Room Occupied”. It’s part of their new policy that requires a hotel employee to enter every room at least once every 24 hours.

The first hotel to implement this new rule was Disney World and it plans on making this policy active across all its properties.

Another group to embrace this change is Hilton Hotels & Resorts. As per Hilton’s new policy, whenever housekeeping staff are barred from entering the room, they must slip a card under the door. An “Unable to Service” notice card informs guests that – if they close their doors for 24 hours or more, management will arrive to inspect their rooms.

This policy change roots back to the mass shooting in Las Vegas back in October 2017. The gunman, Stephen Paddock hung a DND sign on his door for several days, concealing the contraband he smuggled into the hotel.

Other ill activities include trading of illegal products, the operation of meth labs, and then there’s also prostitution and human trafficking, among other unpleasant acts. These can be prevented with this new policy in place.

Hotels now, more than ever, are more conscious of illegal activities happening on their grounds.

So, do travellers really have the right to close their doors as long as they’d want to?

Well, not really. According to the law, those flimsy signs are legally meaningless.

Guests can bar government authorities from entering the room, just like they would in their homes, but that rule doesn’t extend to hotel staff. Part of the waiver to rent a hotel room allows hotel staff and employees to enter a room when they please. This allows them to check on the welfare of guests and perform maintenance on its property.

With this new policy slowly spreading, does this mean that the DND sign will disappear completely? Probably not.

The low-key sign also helps hotels by saving them money. The DND sign actually reduces the cost of housekeeping when guests prefer not to have them daily.

Let’s just see what the future holds for the DND sign. Think about this article the next time you’ll hang it on your doorknob.

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