On his show “Hotel Impossible” Anthony Melchiorri helps floundering inn owners deal with near bankruptcy, mismanagement, family issues and bedbug infestations. After more than 20 years in the hotel business, he’s seen it all. From dysfunctional to disgusting to downright dangerous.
During a recent interview, I asked him for some safety tips for women traveling alone. Here are a few he shared with me.
• “If you hear the clerk announce your room number, don’t go back there. That means they are not training their staff on safety and it is not a major concern for them.”
I have been pleased to note that in just about 100 percent of cases, the clerk will write my room number on the key envelope and slide it over to me. It this does not happen, ask for another room and ask the clerk to write it down for you rather than saying it out loud.
• “Check your room to see if there is a peephole, safety latch or deadbolt.”
Engage the safety latch or deadbolt whenever you are in the room. I travel with a small doorstop that I keep in my suitcase and slide under my door whenever I’m in my room for extra protection. These are available online for just a few dollars. These steps also prevents housekeeping staff from barging in on you.
If you have a peephole, always use it if someone comes to your room. If someone comes to your hotel room and is not in uniform, ask to see their hotel I.D.
• “Check out other items in the hotel to see if the management makes safety a priority. For example, look at the fire extinguisher. If the latch is locked, it won’t be accessible to guests during a fire.”
While we don’t like to think about it, fires do occur. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are an average of 3,700 structure fires per year at hotel or motel properties.
Can you locate fire extinguishers? You can check to see if they are regularly inspected by looking at the paper tag hanging from it, which records its last TIM, which means Testing, Inspection and Maintenance. If it’s been more than a year, the hotel is not taking fire safety seriously.
• “Check online reviews and pay attention to anything that mentions safety.”
Yes, some online reviews are fake, but according to Anthony, 90 percent are real. To determine if there are any concerns about safety in a hotel, go to your favorite review site – mine is Trip Advisor – and type in the words safe and safety on the review pages to see if anything comes up.
I feel fortunate in that I’ve never felt unsafe in a hotel room. And with these tips, I plan to keep it that way.