Hotels Are Changing “Do Not Disturb” Policies

Filed Under: Hotels

We’re all familiar with “Do Not Disturb” signs at hotels. They’re your way of indicating that you don’t want housekeeping (or anybody, for that matter) to enter your room, or even knock on the door.

Disney has announced that, in the coming weeks, they will be replacing “Do Not Disturb” signs with “Room Occupied” signs at all of their hotels at the Disneyland Resort in California and the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. A hotel employee will be required to enter every room at least once every 24 hours, and may do so “for any purposes,” according to Disney.

The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Walt Disney World

Although Disney hasn’t given specific reasons, they say this change has to do with ensuring the safety and security of guests.

Guest room at Coronado Springs Resort, Walt Disney World

A likely consideration in the removal of the Do Not Disturb signs is, well, disturbing: in the Las Vegas massacre this past October, the shooter left the sign up on his Mandalay Bay hotel room door, and thus nobody entered for days, giving him the chance to store an arsenal of weapons there.

Hilton has also revised its policy so that staff may check on a guest if the Do Not Disturb sign has been up for more than 24 hours.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. Frankly I can’t see this becoming a widespread practice. There are certainly high-visibility places like Disney and Las Vegas where a policy like this might make some sense.

In other locales, like a Holiday Inn Express near Newark Airport, a housekeeper knocking on a door with a “Do Not Disturb” sign in the middle of the day would probably just be waking a jetlagged traveler trying to reboot her circadian rhythms. “Sorry!” I could imagine the housekeeper saying. “Just trying to make sure you’re not a psychopath!”

Starwood even has the “Make a Green Choice” program, where participating properties award you points or food/beverage credits for each night you decline housekeeping services – seemingly promoting the opposite behavior of leaving guests alone.

Solitude…only not really?

Bottom Line

Putting the Do Not Disturb sign on the door is generally a helpful (albeit not foolproof) way to indicate that I want to be left alone. Now it seems like, at least in some places, it won’t be quite as effective going forward.

  1. nice. so instead of fixing the actual problem of guns, they’re invading the privacy of law abiding citizens. gtfo.

  2. Eroding privacy does not solve the issue of allowing weapons of mass destruction in the first place.

  3. I was reccently at the IBIS Hotel in Muang Thong Thani and they had the same policy. A month earlier at a different IBIS hotel in Bangkok that wasn’t true. It would seem to be the new norm coming to a hotel near you….

  4. @anon @john I totally agree with you, the US government should take *direct* actions to ensure the Las Vages shooting never happen again, instead of taking indirect steps that have little effect on the issue as a whole. As a participant in Model United Nations, I think the best step is to enforce stricter gun laws making sure they don’t go into the wrong hands instead of disturbing random hotel guests. After all, people who shouldn’t have their hands on their guns don’t have to stay in a hotel to commit crimes.

  5. To be honest, I think this policy won’t be implemented well, seeing as I’m sure some people would avoid hotels that don’t inconvenience innocent people. Seriously, in Taiwan gun control laws are very effective, a mass shooting is never heard of.

  6. There’s the safety issue, and also hotels are a top suicide destination. Even if you have DNS on, most hotels will currently enter your room after 4 or so days to make sure you haven’t killed yourself :).

  7. I was a mystery guest auditor for five star hotel brands. This included, at times, testing a hotel’s response to a safety or security issue. It is good practice for a hotel to do a door knock or ring the room if there has been no guest contact for more than 24 hours. This doesn’t mean housekeeping is going to come barging into the room when you are in the shower. More likely, if you have been in your room locked away (no room service, no signings, no key card swipes), you will get a call; followed by a door knock if no answer; followed by an entry if no answer after that. This is in the interest of safety more than anything else (i.e., someone who slipped in the shower or otherwise injured themselves, suicide, overdose, etc..).

    One last point, many premium five star hotels have this as an existing policy. Fewer, however, implement it consistently and effectively.

    If I am travelling, jet lagged and plan on sleeping for extended periods during the day time, I always take the extra step to notify housekeeping that I am hibernating and do not want room servicing that day.

  8. “Putting the Do Not Disturb sign on the door is generally a helpful (albeit not foolproof) way to indicate that I want to be left alone.”

    I am not sure that was ever the case. Whether or not I want new towels is a separate issue from the need for a hotel to perform room checks.

    You have never been able to “camp out” in a hotel room for days at a time and have nobody enter just because you put a DND sign on the door. All that really achieves is that, if hotel staff need to enter, they will knock first.

  9. So instead of actually investigating the crime in Las Vegas, we’re left with total silence from the FBI, witnesses who’ve been issued gag orders (no, really) and a convenient excuse to encroach on basic human privacy – yet again.

    Seeing people dance on the graves of the poor victims, calling for the abolishment of the Second Amendment, is perverse. You want to ban trucks, too? We’ve seen an awful lot of trucks of peace in Europe (and NYC) lately.

  10. You anti-gun liberal cowards need to shut the hell up and find a different platform. “Model UN”? OK, so you’re a child. Be quiet.

  11. @molon @morley guess what, as a MUN leader, I strongly believe in change and improvement. We call upon the younger generation to help brainstorm solutions for urgent issues. The MUN community is very well established and there are easily hundreds of thousands of people who can rebut your argument. We need to do something that stubborn people like you can’t. Wait until one day your family member dies in a mass shooting and your regret what you said. You don’t care about the victims of the Las Vegas massacure? Well, I feel sorry for a person that has a black heart, who care about wealth and greed over the wellbeing of others. You won’t last long in this world. The younger generation is much more powerful and influential than you think. One day, when you go to hell, we will be the ones that help each other. We are humans. The reason we survived and the Neanderthals didn’t is because of a distinct human quality: cooperation and love.

  12. Looks like there are some people in this world who are genetically damaged, those who care about themselves more then the general good, those who have no grief when other people die, those who exclude people using walls instead of including them and sharing.

  13. @Ethan . Well known sign to police that any car with lbumper stickers making loud statements is a head case and potential problem on a pullover. Same with blog comments.. wow. What a comment. What are earth are you talking about?

  14. @mike Ethan has a point. Gun control is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with so countless lives can be saved.

  15. Potato
    That could’ve Saved the Tiger’s money by knocking on his door BUT he’s Tiger !!!!

  16. I actually wouldn’t be surprised to see this spread as a policy, though whether/if it is enforced is another question. I think the primary reason for this change is legal liability. There has already been a massive lawsuit filed against Mandalay Bay in part arguing that the hotel did not do enough to prevent the tragedy, and could have if it had different policies in place. I’m sure other hotels are worried about potential liability should a bad thing happen at their hotel related to a guest.

    I’m assuming that lawsuit will be settled, but if it goes to trial and this is an issue for the jury, I have no doubt that we’ll see the Green Choice programs go away and see all major brands implement similar policies.

    Unless staying for more than 2 nights, I usually always leave the do not disturb sign up for the entire stay. I travel with a lot of sensitive work stuff, and having had a past bad experience involving hotel staff going through my personal things before, am always paranoid about it.

    Of note, in November I stayed at the Crowne Plaza downtown Seattle and left the do not disturb sign up for the entirety of my 2 night/3 day stay. Each day around 5pm, someone would hang a bag from the door with new towels and toiletries and a note about how they value my privacy and will not disturb me if that is what I want, but that they thought I might appreciate towels and toiletries being refreshed. No knock, just hung on door. That was perfect for me.

  17. I work for a global hotel heavyweight. Whilst each hotel is still free to choose their own guest welfare policy the directive of safety/security checks being completed every 24 hours has been updated as best practice.

  18. As a Brit visiting Japan for a few days I stick to UK time and therefore counter to local housekeeping regimes. Each day they left a bag of fresh linen and all consumables outside my door. Totally crazy really, but after two days I received a message under the door that by law they had to enter the room in the 3rd day.

    Strangely they did not remove the untouched accumulated linen and consumables.

    24 hrs seems too short a check period.

  19. Ethan’s Bio: “Author: Ethan
    What’s up guys! I’m Ethan, a student from Taipei, Taiwan”.

    How cute. Well, little boy, any time you want to come over here and run your mouth off about guns to our faces, lets see how that works out for you.

    “The younger generation is much more powerful and influential than you think. ”

    Not when they’re irrelevant little Chinese-vassals they’re not.

  20. Mandalay Bay had and has a 48 hour welfare check on any room that has a do not disturb sign up for 48 hours. Also housekeeping entered the shooters room at least once and at least 10 staff members interacted with him.

    I’m so tired of fake security to make people think they are doing something. SeaWorld and Universal in Orlando sends all guests thru metal detectors. Disney world randomly chooses a few people to go the metal detectors. Disney has the worst security in Orlando. Also at Disney there is no division between the secure and non secure areas. Finally, the exit to the magic kingdom is a disaster waiting to happen. On busy nights there are thousands of people waiting for the monorail, boats and bus transportation. This insecure area is a 5 minute walk from the contemporary resort parking lot. I wish Disney would implement real security.

  21. At least Ethan knows his geography(and that Taiwan isn’t the same as China), at least he don’t support a irresponsible billionaire that sexually to assaulted many women as president, at least he has a human heart that’s not only selfish and lifeless.
    Shame on you!

  22. “Hey, were you born a cocksucking little fucknob”

    @Melon Well, looks like you’re a super mature and friendly person! 🙂
    I’m sorry but I’m not interested in you, I’m not homosexual…. you might want to find somebody else.

  23. @anon – some of us do not believe that bollards on our streets are a viable response to terrorism. Maybe you like to give up your freedom to appease some crazies and still feel good about your society, but I certainly do not believe that restricting peaceful citizens’ lives by blocking off roads or adding gates or walls is dealing with the problem. And BTW it is not a problem with guns, it is a problem of not dealing with mentally ill people with firearms.

  24. Ethan – It is sad what some idiots have replied to you, but your moral preening does not make you any smarter or more caring. In fact it dimishes your arguments. Please stop pretending that you are the only moral one. The issue is not about firearms but about dealing with mental illness and state sponsored terrorism.

  25. @Ethan

    The following comes to mind:
    If you’re not a communist at the age of 20, you haven’t got a heart.
    If you’re still a communist at the age of 30, you haven’t got a brain.

    The quote has existed in many forms over several hundred years; the basis is the sometimes misguided fervor of youth and the wisdom that comes from experience.

    You Sir are very much in the first phase, and seem to have a particularly bad case of it.

  26. This has been a best practice at Indian hotels for years. Most hotels have a DND list, where anyone on the list for 2 consecutive 8 hour shifts gets a call from the Duty Manager / GRE. In case the call can not be connected, the room is visited along with security.
    TBH most hotels in India do it as they dont want to find a corpse rotting in the room. Theyd rather tackle it while its fresh

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