If you look at your room or suite that you are staying in and then ask yourself if you would like to be trapped in there with someone who was seeking to harm you. The answer should be no so that should make you recognise that you should always lock the room and start using the latch or deadbolt when in the room.
Most hotel rooms have a double locking method. The locking that I personally prefer is the dual lock of an automatic door lock associated with a keycard, of some kind, supplied by the hotel and a manual latch or level latch. With this type of locking you really have the best of both worlds. An easy modern style locking mechanism supplied and controlled by the hotel plus something mechanical and strong that you can use to add additional security. With this type of locking someone with a hotel master key cannot gain entry easily into your room if you are in and have activated both locks. This is about as good as it will get in a hotel.
Remember though the golden rule in a hotel is to assume that a number of people have access to your room. Don’t assume you are always safe and secure there. It’s a difficult mental concept to maintain as after a few days we start to slip into the subconscious feeling of belonging there. This can lead you to start dropping your defences and forgetting the simple fact that unlike your home there will be a lot of people that may or can have access to your room.
Your security is closely linked to your situational awareness and maintaining that when you feel comfortable sanctuary somewhere especially when under a number of other external pressures such as work, tiredness, travel and general stress is very difficult.
No one wants to be laying in a hotel room scared to go to sleep and the instances of trouble in major brand chains is actually extremely low especially if you consider the sheer numbers of people passing through. However as in everything we talk about it’s just a matter of risk management. Stack the odds in your favour, take a few simple precautions and you are more than likely going to remain secure and safe.
Approaching your room regularly gives you the ability, if alert, to recognise that something has changed, different or out of place and that could be the alarm bell you need. However the opposite is true in that you may relax too early feeling that you have reached the sanctuary of your room, your own personal space.
If you have a room with an old manual key then one of the things that sometimes works depending on the type of lock you have is to fully insert your own key from the inside. This way when someone tries to enter from outside using a copied or master key they may not be able to fully insert their key making it useless.
Once inside and having secured the entry into your room then make sure you take precautions when you open the door. Most hotel rooms have a spy hole in the door or some more modern rooms have a camera overlooking the door. Use these security features the hotel has provided, don’t just open the door and assume its room service or the evening turn down service.
If you have a latch or chain then use that as you open the door to double check who is outside your room. It’s very easy for a person to step right up to the spyhole so that you can’t see around or behind them. If they do this it’s easy to make it look like there is only one person at the door when there might actually be 2 or more.
Tony Willis MBA FCMI