Hilton Updates “Do Not Disturb” Policy Following Las Vegas Shooting

Filed Under: Hilton, Hotels

LoyaltyLobby notes that Hilton has updated their policy when it comes to “do not disturb” signs. As of now this only seems to be an internal memo to hotels, so it might be a while before this is implemented globally. With these changes, hotels need to update their guest directories to contain the following language in the guest privacy section:

“We understand and respect your need for privacy. The hotel reserves the right to visually inspect all guest rooms every 24 hours to ensure the well-being of our guests and confirm the condition of the room.”

Then hotels’ “unable to service” cards must contain the following language:

“We understand and respect your need for privacy. The hotel reserves the right to visually inspect all guest rooms every 24 hours to ensure the well-being of our guests and confirm the condition of the room. If service is refused for this length of time, a member of hotel management will check on the guest room.”

There’s a difference between reserving the right to inspect a room every 24 hours, and saying that a member of hotel management will check on the guest room if a “do not disturb” sign has been up for 24 hours.

Hotel employees are also encouraged to report any “suspicious behavior,” which includes the following:

  • Guests overly concerned about privacy
  • Guests refusing room cleaning for extended period of time
  • Those taking photos and notes about the hotel
  • Switching rooms number of times
  • Requesting specific rooms
  • Extended use of DND sign
  • Using cash for payment
  • Guest doesn’t leave the room for extended period
  • Guest leaves the room for extended period

I think it goes without saying that this is in response to October’s Las Vegas shooting, which left 58 people dead and 500+ injured, as a man shot at a crowd from a hotel room. The argument is that if someone had checked on the room more often, maybe they would have known about all the weapons he had in there.

As far as I know, Hilton is the first major global hotel chain to change their policies following the shooting, though we’ve seen lots of smaller hotel groups update their policies.

While I’m someone who often declines housekeeping for more than 24 hours at a time, I can still see the logic behind this policy change, and support it. However, I think their list of “suspicious behavior” is a bit much. Taking photos or cash payment are considered suspicious (not that I’d ever pay with cash)? Hmmm…

What do you make of Hilton’s new “do not disturb” policy?

  1. We stayed at a Hilton in the US two weeks ago. My girlfriend got sick and wanted to stay on the hotel room for the whole day. So I used the privacy sign for the whole day. In the evening someone showed up and asked if we need towels since we had the sign on the whole day. He cleary wasn’t someone from Housekeeping, more like someone from Security. It took him a while to get the towels my gf requested tho 😉

    So I think you will see this kind of security all over the major hotels in the next time. But personally I think they won’t do it for long since it will be a increase of work checking all the rooms daily by security staff (I doubt that housekeeping will check them)

  2. There is one more motives. I’ve just visited hilton in sicily (seaside resort). Bringing any alcohol to premise from outside is strictly prohibited. I seem multiple guest’s purses and bags being searched at from desk when entering hotel. They did confiscated all alcohols even if it was bottle of wine as a gift to back home. People brought in wine / beer ignoring signs all over the hotel. I guess this way they can look into rooms and confiscate even the unopened in gift packaged alcohol.

  3. Early November I had a 7 night stay in Taipei @ Marriott Courtyard left the DND light on pretty much 4 out of the 7 nights as I don’t need my room serviced daily… each day someone from the front desk acknowledged the DND indicator yet called to check if I needed anything.

  4. I highly value my privacy. I do not want any hotel staff entering my room and touching my things. I will book away from Hilton even though I have gold status.

  5. Can someone explain this last point:

    *Guest leaves the room for extended period

    How long time would a person have to be outside the room until he/she is reported?

  6. As someone who used to work in hotels from 2 star to 5 star, if you paid your entire room in cash, you were up to no good. If you paid just your security deposit in cash you were poor and didnt have a credit card.

    I see no problem with their suspicious behavior list.

    In smaller properties you can easily tell whos up to no good. There are tell signs just from checkin but the problem lies within this mega 1000+ room properties where the front desk agent becomes just a robot doing check ins and check outs and dont have a chance to feel people out.

  7. I am notorious about using DND, and have just used it on three consecutive stays at Hilton properties in Asia over the past 10 days. Each time the DND was respected, and a card was slipped under the door to indicate that they respected my DND and that should I want my room serviced at a later time I should contact the front desk. That is the current SOP, so the change has not yet been implemented…

  8. I dont have an issue with this assuming they’re “checking on you” during normal hours and its a quick visit not a long or intrusive process.

    When staying at a hotel for 2-3 nights on business i’ll usually leave the DND sign up the whole time. I dont need my bed made, can just use one towel and will often be in my room working during the day. I wouldnt be upset if someone wanted to check on me as long as its a quick “hi, how is your stay” and not a full on inspection of the room and my stuff.

  9. David,

    A total refusal to let in cleaners makes you look suspect, and will probably attract a forced security check or entrance for some pretext. All hotels have that policy so leaving Hilton won’t make any difference.


    I don’t see how any hotel can enforce a policy of no alcohol in your room. The idea of hotel staff searching you in the lobby is repugnant.

  10. This is a knee jerk reaction much like no bottled water allowed on planes
    The answer is.not letting 2 dozen rifles or bombs entering the hotel
    Not disturbing guests for the rest of their lives because they choose your brand is not going to be a reasonable solution
    And realistically security in most hotels can be non existent
    Do I share how many times housekeepers barge in on me naked ?
    Now they can say they are doing it for guests safety when they barge in on me?
    This is TSA mentality by the legal dept of Hilton worried about a copy cat in one of their hotels
    Sadly if someone wants to be evil they likely can despite knee jerk policies
    Guns and weapons get on planes every day through the TSA
    After billions of dollars in security the TSA still pulls me over examining my Godiva chocolates and cookies thinking they are weapons and doing their silly routines
    I am convinced as they check to see what flavors are inside the box the bad guys have probably slipped through while they focus on bottled water and the inaccuracy of their findings instead 🙁

  11. Disney has instituted this policy at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, beginning with the resorts that overlook major guest areas.

  12. Walt Disney World resort hotels are starting to implement the same policy. While I get people want to have their privacy respected, we now live in a world when people do crazy stuff and truly this is needed to help prevent mass casualty type events.

  13. Its not just the shooting. The leading cause of death for people under 50 in the US is opiate overdose. A quick google search will show you the unusually high amount of bodies discovered in hotel rooms. Not always fleabag hotels, but nicer hotels. As you can imagine, the problem (cleaning costs) of dead bodies increases exponentially with time.

    In many cases, the bodies were not discovered for a few days. Using DND to hide drug use is probably pretty common.

  14. This is stupid. Once again we are trying to put unqualified, untrained people in charge of security. No one who works at a hotel is qualified to do a threat assessment on their guests, and even if they were, how many guests will have their privacy invaded, sleep disturbed, or property stolen on the microscopic chance that a hotel security guard might stumble upon someone up to no good. When we trade privacy/liberty for security we always lose.

  15. I was in Egypt recently and refused housekeeping for several days, mainly because they use really strongly scented cleaning products and air freshener. The front desk called to ask if I needed anything. I told them I didn’t and that was that.

  16. What is the polite thing to do if they barge in while you are having coitus?

    “Sharing is caring. Please join us, won’t you?”

  17. Exactly doug!!!!!

    like this guy S above says he know what everyone is up to no he doesn’t.

    This will cost hilton revenue (like mine as won’t stay there again). And lawsuits as this certaibly will be carried out in a bias way.

    Also I expect many security minded guests to have cameras in their room now and the mean ones will file lawsuits about any intrusions including sex offender registry worthy allegations for anything near underwear, clothing or sex toys.

  18. @Doug and @Waltcomeon:

    It doesn’t read as if they’re using “untrained” personnel to conduct threat assessments or security screenings. It sounds more like if they see no activity from the room and the guest has refused all services, they may check-up on them much in the same manner other commenters have pointed out: a call from the front desk or an in-person visit to ensure everything’s okay with the stay. To me, it sounds like the Draconian verbiage is more for CYA of the hotel on the off chance they should need to actually enter – loud noises, smells, etc. coming from the room. Otherwise, I doubt hotels will just be sending employees to rooms randomly at all hours just for fun.

  19. I think it’s a stupid policy. What if you’re taking a nap and they barge in? What if you’re in your underwear? What if you’re jet lagged and sleeping? What if you have cash or wallet or valuables left in the room and you’re outside (no in-room safe) and then the cash/valuables disappear? There are a lot of uses for the DND sign.

  20. @AdamR – The problem is that 99.99999999% of extended DND requests are for valid reasons, and the hotel employees have no ability to identify the .0000001% that aren’t. I am routinely in cities for very short in/out work trips, and often want to sleep during the day. I pay good money for nice hotels, and I don’t want a “check-in” call from the front desk (or worse someone knocking on my door) in the middle of my sleep because I have a DND sign on the door. It eliminates the point of the DND request.

  21. I don’t have a problem with the policy. I don’t believe this will result in health and welfare inspections of every guest room every day but rather a warning (deterrent) to those who are contemplating something illegal that they have no expectation of privacy. I’ve stayed in hundreds of hotels world wide and I have never had hotel staff enter my room without knocking and announcing themselves, with or without the DND sign posted.

    I’m surprised to hear you can pay cash and stay at a Hilton (assuming that one has no credit card on file). Hotels require credit cards to cover costs associated with theft or trashing of the room in the event this happens.

  22. “Those taking photos and notes about the hotel”

    Lucky, watch your back! 😉

    “Requesting specific rooms”

    Are we avgeeks going to be profiled as a terrorist threat for wanting a runway view? Or ANYONE using the Hilton app to secure a specific room which is a feature they explicitly market?!

    “Using cash for payment”

    This, I can understand. Lots of human trafficking is facilitated this way.

    “Guest leaves the room for extended period”

    Huh? So, all-day sightseeing excursions are suspicious now?

    As with all security policies, the big-picture intent is understandable. But I can see too many opportunities for undertrained staff to become “behavior detection officers” and use it as a cudgel.

  23. Speaking of, hasn’t the government been unusually silent about that shooting?

    I think this policy is fine, as long as you’re able to ‘manually’ confirm you’re still normal and would in fact not like a visit during coitus at 11pm.

  24. Ben,

    Disney has recently implemented these changes too. They are removing all Do Not Disturb signs and replacing them with occupied signs. Also, their vacation club resorts are now getting daily garage service in order to allow them in inspect the rooms every day vs every three days.

  25. So, the sniper would have answered the door, leaving it open just a few inches, and no one would have seen the weapons anyway.

    This is stupid and ineffective. I am constantly changing time zones and I sleep at all different hours. I do NOT want to be disturbed in any way, shape or form, for any reason at all. I *always* keep the DND sign on my door throughout my entire visit.

    Fortunately, I rarely stay in big hotels, so I probably won’t have a problem. But I have to say, I am enormously surprised that the Las Vegas shooter was able to bring that kind of firepower into such a big strip hotel. Because major Las Vegas hotels have some of the best security in the world, easily outstripping TSA and a lot of municipal police departments. Valets are trained to look at cars drooping in the back from extraordinary weight in the trunk and eyes in the sky aren’t just for the gaming tables anymore. Bellhops, front desk personnel, housekeeping are all given at least some sort of security training.

    Cash, now that’s a super big red flag. But if someone plans to do a murder-suicide run, they probably won’t care about using a card. So, all in all, hotels – like TSA – are bothering people to no purpose when they’d be better off using more effective measures. Unfortunately, nothing is foolproof, but these stupid measures probably won’t help much, if at all.

  26. I hear ya Rebecca. We ALWAYS leave the DND out for our entire stays, sometimes 10 days, sometimes 45 days! My wife prefers to do the housekeeping and call on them when she needs refreshes of towels or linens. We do not want anyone entering our room. I often see housekeeping leave people’s room doors open, unattended, while they go off to some other task. Then they claim no responsibility for stolen items.
    Management has ALWAYS had the right to go into a room if there is reasonable cause of an issue, but it better involve the senior property manager on duty.
    Hotel security should take note of who enters the hotel and what they may be carrying. I don’t object to an occasional bag search of a very large bag, especially repeatedly from the same person.
    We were stopped at the door by security entering the Fairmont Monte Carlo with a grocery bag and water bottles and told that outside food/beverages were not permitted. There is a lot of room for more security at hotels. Heck, most do not even have card reading elevators. Some have the readers and don’t use them.

  27. What a pointless policy. Unless security actually inspects the room, or else standing in the hallway with a small crack open, talking to the guest isn’t going to expose anything.

    Also US is one of those rare backward ass places where guns are very easily acquired with no risk. In most other countries, getting guns is no easy task and good luck trying to import them from the states. This policy is just pointless to enforce, especially outside US.

  28. I value my security more than my privacy. The policy seems proportionate to the risk – businesses need to respond responsibly to the changing security risks we face. If you are obsessed with privacy then take a job that doesn’t involve travel – eliminate the risk to your privacy.

  29. Knee jerk reaction that does nothing. Look at all the airport “security protocols” after 9/11 and yet still plenty of security lapses, people getting firearms through security, making their way onto the tarmac etc. But we get to pay a higher ticket price because of higher security fees.

  30. Wow

    While I understand the situation (esp. in the US), I pay for hotel with cash all the time, because it’s simply cheaper for me (All my CCs have foreign transaction fee, so I rarely use them abroad).

  31. innocenat,

    Paying by cash is not so much the problem, but rather that if it is used as an attempt to withhold your identity then it looks suspect. The days when you can book a room without any ID is long gone, outside of some sleepy family-run roadside motels in the hick states anyway

  32. This is a problem in the USA mostly where mass shootings are becoming the norm although rarely in hotels like the one in Vegas. Wonder what venue some nut case will dream up next.

  33. Does management have the right to look through my bags? If so, my privacy is being violated; if not, what prevents any would-be gunman from simply stashing everything away?

    And even if weapons couldn’t be stashed away, what does this policy do other than provide a deadline of 24 hours from check-in for shooters?

    It’s security theater. Within reason, I don’t mind trading some comforts for better security, but this is giving up something for absolutely nothing. They might as well implement a policy for every guest to bunny-hop three times with their bags before checking in – maybe ammunition will just fall out of the pockets, just like how weapons will just be laying around the bed.

  34. I am pretty sure that with the list of suspicious behaviours you will only get reported if you you do a couple or several of them as if you pay with cash or take a few photos they wont care though if you specifically request a room, pay cash, take notes and photos and have a DND sign on your door for more than 24 hours (doing all that together) then you will get reported and checked on.

  35. “Those taking photos and notes about the hotel” – I guess those pesky bloggers will get the SSSS treatment in hotels from now on :p

  36. “Guest leaves the room for extended period”
    When I’ve stayed in hotels on hholiday, I leave at breakfast, get back in the evening around about 9. Is that TOO extended?
    Kneejerk reaction with no thought as usual.

  37. Daniel,

    Since a hotel is private property, you could be subject to search at any time. It’s unusual, for sure, but I suspect we will see it more both for cause and for general security. There is airport-style security screening in various cities around the world that are subject to a high terror risk.


    If I was staying 45 days in a town I would rent a house or villa, But more than a couple of days and it looks suspect. I’d be willing to bet security entered your room a few times during your stay – you just didn’t realize it.

  38. Daniel,
    it’s not totally private property. Its a place of accommodation under bith the civil rights act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Who says youbare subject to search at any time? By who? What type of search? Looking for what?

    Is privacy gone in a hotel? Should hilton delete its privacy policy? I am in a Hilton hotel right now and if anyone goes near any bag of mine in a “search” I will call police, sue and push for them to be a registered sex offender.

    As a founding father once said those who give up liberty for security have neither and you sir the type of person our founding fathers warned us about.

    To further my point that you are a person who doesn’t value individual freedom. It looks suspect to stay in a hotel for more than a couple of days??? I have stayed in a hotel for 20 nights straight on a biz trip. Even left hotel for 2 nights without checking out or removing all my things. Just because you wouldn’t do something doesn’t mean its not possible or not normal. AND IT CERTAINLY DOESN’T MEAN ITS A THREAT.

  39. Unless Hilton is planning to have in house SWAT teams to check rooms with a fine tooth comb while holding guests at gun point this will not stop anything.

    What would they call this unit by the way? The Hilton Room Commandos?

    Only thing happening with a security guard or nigh manager that shows up and demanding to check the room would be that an attack might kick off earlier. People that are crazy enough to do mass attacks are also more than capable of killing any hotel personnel that show up at their door.

    Would only be good for finding guests that are very sick or have OD on drugs.

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