Business Traveller and Hotel accomodation
Selecting a Secure Hotel
Many corporations have hotels abroad that are owned by local businessmen and staffed by local workers but managed by first class U.S. hoteliers. You usually can expect levels of safety and security that are consistent with western standards.
- Ask the corporate travel agent for a list of recommended hotels.
- Check with your Embassy for a list of hotels utilized by officials visiting the area.
Make your own reservations when practical and consistent with company policies. The fewer people that become involved in your travel and lodging arrangements, the better.
- If traveling abroad, especially in politically sensitive areas, consider making reservations using your employer’s street address, without identifying the company, and using your personal credit card. Again, the less known about your travel itinerary, and whom you represent, the better.
- If arriving after 6:00 P.M., ensure that reservations are guaranteed.
- Request information about parking arrangements if anticipating renting an automobile.
- Be aware that credit card information has been compromised in the past. Always audit monthly credit card statements to ensure that unauthorized use has not been made of your account.
- It is advisable to join frequent travelers’ programs available with many lodging companies. These programs enable upgrades to executive or concierge floors where available. Be sure to advise the person taking reservations that you are a member and request an upgrade.
Arriving at or Departing From the Hotel
The most vulnerable part of your journey is traveling between the point of debarkation/embarkation and the hotel. Do not linger or wander unnecessarily in the parking lot, indoor garage or public space around the hotel – be alert for suspicious persons and behavior. Watch for distractions that are intentionally staged to setup a pickpocket, luggage theft or purse snatch.
- Stay with your luggage until it is brought into the lobby, or placed into the taxi or limo.
- Consider using the bellman. Luggage in the “care, custody and control” of the hotel causes the hotel to be liable for your property. Protect claim checks; they are your evidence!
- Keep in mind though that there are limits of liability created by states and countries to protect hoteliers. Personal travel documents, lap tops, jewelry, and other valuables and sensitive documents in excess of $l,000 in value should be hand carried and personally protected.
- If you arrive by auto, park as close to a hotel access point as possible, and park in a lighted area. Remove all property from the car interior and place it in the trunk. Avoid leaving valuables or personal documents in the glove compartment. Prior to leaving the security of the vehicle, note any suspicious persons or behavior.
- If using valet service, leave only the ignition key, and take trunk, house, or office keys with you. Often, valets are not employees of the hotel and work for contract firms.
- Parking garages are difficult to secure. Avoid dimly lit garages that are not patrolled and do not have security telephones or intercoms.
- Female travelers should consider asking for an escort to their vehicles whether parked in the lot or garage.
In some countries, your passport may be temporarily held by the hotel for review by the police or other authorities, obtain its return at the earliest possible time.
- Be aware of persons in the hotel lobby who may have unusual interest in your arrival.
- If carrying your luggage, keep it within view or touch. One recommendation is to position luggage against your leg during registration but place a briefcase or a purse on the desk or counter in front of you.
- Ground floor rooms, which open to a pool area or beach with sliding glass doors and window access, are considered vulnerable. Depending upon the situation, area, and security coverage, exercise a higher level of security if assigned a first floor room.
- It is suggested that female travelers request rooms that are away from the elevator landing and stairwells. This is to avoid being caught by surprise by persons exiting the elevator with you or hiding in the stairwell.
- Always accept bellman assistance upon check-in. Allow the bellman to open the room, turn lights on, and check the room to ensure that it is vacant and ready for your stay. Before dismissing the bellman, always inspect the door lock, locks on sliding glass doors, optical viewer, privacy latch or chain, guest room safes, dead bolt lock on interconnecting suite door, and telephone. If a discrepancy is found, request a room change.
- Ask where the nearest fire stairwell is located. Make a mental note which direction you must turn and approximately how many steps there are to the closest fire stairwell. In the event of a fire, there is frequently dense smoke and no lighting.
- Also observe where the nearest house telephone is located in case of an emergency. Determine if the telephone is configured in such a manner that anyone can dial a guest room directly, or whether the phone is connected to the switchboard. Most security-conscious hotels require a caller to identify whom they are attempting to telephone rather than providing a room number.
- Note how hotel staff are uniformed and identified. Many “pretext” crimes occur by persons misrepresenting themselves as hotel employees on house telephones to gain access to guest rooms. Avoid permitting a person into the guest room unless you have confirmed that the person is authorized to enter. This can be verified by using the optical viewer and by calling the front desk.