Below is a Sample from  our travel safety books,

Open My Eyes and Business Travel Safety

Chapter 7   HOTEL SAFETY


After one of the longest days of your life, traveling from the U.S. to wherever your trip takes you, most people walk into their hotel room, throw their bags down on the floor and pass out.  But before you do that there are a few basic steps you should take in order to keep yourself safe and secure during that well deserved rest.


If you are traveling with a number of other people, everyone in the group should exchange basic personal information with everyone in the party.  In the appendix at the back of this book and under the crisis management tab on our website I have included a sample of specific items that need to be included in your emergency plan and that information needs to be carried by each person in your traveling group.  If something happened to you would everyone else know who to call or what to do?  Do you have any medical issues like high blood pressure, diabetes or heart trouble?  These are not issues that should be kept hidden from your traveling companions.  If you carry insulin or nitroglycerin in your jacket pocket, don't be embarrassed.  Hopefully it never happens but if for some reason you go down you want to make sure that your traveling companions know where it is and what to do.


Hotels house people who are away from home, generally carrying large amounts of money and the rooms have minimal security.  How many keys do you think have been issued that will open your door?  There are only a limited number of key cuts or electronic bar codes that are programmed into those plastic keys, not to mention all the master keys issued to employees and the numerous ways to simply bypass the door key all together.  Even here in the U.S., hotel rooms have a number of hidden dangers but depending on what part of the world you are in, your hotel may very well be one of the most dangerous places you'll visit.  These threats come not only from other humans but from disasters such as a major fire.  Consider for a moment what a hotel really is, a single building holding thousands of sleeping people who are confined in a multi-story building with few escape routes.  This view is not meant to instill fear when staying in hotels but simply to make you aware of the hidden dangers that most people never consider.  There are; however, a few very simple steps that you can take which can greatly reduce or even eliminate the risk of something bad happening to you at your hotel.


In addition to the rare but devastating major fire event, every day people are robbed, attacked and sexually assaulted in major hotels in every large city of the world.  These facts don't get widely publicized by hotel chains or travel agents because it would be detrimental to their business which is tied so closely to tourism and commerce.  In this chapter I'll discuss the dangers hotels pose along with some very simple things you can do in order to greatly improve the odds that you won't become a victim and will be able to survive any disaster that may arise.


Let's start by taking a look at how you should choose your accommodations and, just like selecting your airline seat, make a safety related room choice.  Around the world lodging is usually broken down into two forms, Hotels and Motels.  (Lodges, hostels and other types of lodging will generally fall into one of these categories.)  Hotels are categorized by a lack of outside access.  To reach a hotel room one must enter the building first and walk down a hallway to reach his or her room.  Motels on the other hand provide outside access directly to the room.  You are able to  drive up to or walk up to your room in a Motel without having to go inside the building and past the front desk clerk.  Some lodging has a combination of both types of room access.


By far, the Hotel is the safer choice from a security standpoint.  People who are looking for someone to rob or sexually assault would prefer not to walk past the front desk where they can be seen and possibly recognized.  When you have a choice, choose a Hotel.  When you stay at a location that has both types of access, ask for a room that only has access into a corridor, not direct access from the outside.


The biggest safety threat in Hotels comes from fires.  These events are few and far between; however, when fires do happen in multi-story hotels they can result in a huge loss of life due simply to the fact that you may have thousands of people staying in a single building with very limited escape routes.  The second most serious security issue is from being attacked, robbed or sexually assaulted, which can happen at either of these accommodations.  This happens must more frequently than you think.  In this chapter I will discuss a number of very simple practices that you can employ to help keep yourself safe from both of these risks.


One of the first things I do when checking into a hotel, if they don't give it to me, is to ask if they have a room available between the 2nd and 6th floors.  This may seem odd to you the first time you do it but just about everyone working at the check-in desk will know exactly why you are asking.


The first floor is not preferred from a security standpoint.  Bad people looking for a victim will attempt to find one on the first floor if possible.  They don't want to be trapped several floors up after committing their crime requiring them to either take the stairs or elevator to escape.  Gaining entry into the ground floor without walking past the front desk is as easy as waiting for a guest to open the door for them at the end of the hall and letting them in.  Many times the guest will even hold the door open for the criminals as they walk into the hotel.  Many of us are probably guilty of it, walking out the door at the end of the hall, which requires a key to open from the outside, only to find someone walking in carrying luggage.  So being the wonderfully nice people that we are we hold the door open for them.  Please let this be the last time you do that!  Require anyone who is trying to get inside any entrance other than the front door to use their room key to open the door to ensure the key they have actually works.  Some of the criminals are very professional and will have an old key they picked up in the parking lot.  They stand near the door with an empty bag and wait for someone to exit the building before they walk right in while you hold the door open for them.


Why do you think you would not want to be above the 6th floor?  It's a basic mechanical issue.  The ladders on fire trucks won't reach above the 6th floor, so if you were so unlucky to have a fire below you in a hotel, there is no way to escape but to walk down the stairs through the smoke and flames (yes, it has happened.)


So what do you do when you check in and the clerk tells you that they are completely full and don't have a room between the 2nd and 6th floor?  You stay there, but you also pay a little more attention to things like the location of the stairwells and any fire alarms.  If the alarm sounds, you need to pay attention, get up and get out.


This 2nd to 6th floor issue is why most new hotels are being built with only 3 to 6 stories.  There have been so many lawsuits over loss of life during fires in those huge sky rise hotels that large hotel chains have found it cheaper to purchase multiple pieces of property and build a number of hotels within the same location.  That's also why you see hotel chains like Hilton or Marriott building hotels under different brand names such as a Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites all right next to each other.  The same is true with brands such as Marriott with Residence Inn and Spring Hill Suites, etc.  They want to accommodate the same number of guest, from a financial standpoint, but don't want the liability issue with the mega-story building; however, where land is at a premium, as in downtown Chicago or New York City, you'll still see the mega hotels being built.


The next issue I'll discuss is checking into your hotel.  Often victims of crimes in hotels are chosen right at the front desk.  Believe it or not, it doesn't take a law degree to get hired to work the front counter at a hotel or work as a doorman.  Often these people will be paid to provide information about who is staying in what rooms, women staying by themselves being the primary target due to their size and inability to fight back and wealthy business men being the second.


As you consider security-related issues at your hotel, start by not broadcasting your intention right there in the lobby for everyone to hear.  How many times have you traveled with other people and stood in the lobby announcing to everyone within ear shot that you are about to leave all of your money and valuables unattended in your room for the next two hours?  It usually goes something like this, "OK guys, let's go upstairs, drop our bags and meet back down here in 15 minutes so that we can go get dinner."  Anyone listening now knows that in 15 minutes they have at least an hour to break into your room and take everything of value that you've brought with you!  That type of information needs to be either discussed in the taxi before you arrive at the hotel or held private until you have left the lobby and are in the elevator heading up to your room or in the hallway where nobody else will hear it.

Business Travel Safety is available for purchase on Amazon.  Click on the picture of the book to be taken to the correct page on Amazon Books

This study guide is used during the IHS Travel Safety and Security Seminars.  It's a bullet-type guide that follows along with the main speaking points.  This guide also includes an excellent example of a working Emergency Plan.

Contact IHS Training  directly if you would like to order study guides


Business Travel Safety provides travel safety and security information specifically written for Corporate Executives, Business Travelers and people taking a vacation abroad.  It covers everything from what to pack, how to conduct your pre-travel research to kidnapping prevention and basic hostage survival.  If you are not able to attend one of IHS Training's Travel Safety and Security seminars, Business Travel Safety is a MUST HAVE for you or your employees before you leave home!

To purchase a copy of OPEN MY EYES click the picture of the book to be taken to the correct Amazon book page.

Open My Eyes provides travel safety and security information specifically written for church mission teams.  It covers everything from what to pack, how to conduct your pre-travel research to kidnapping prevention and basic hostage survival.  If you are not able to attend one of IHS Training's Travel Safety and Security seminars, OPEN MY EYES is a MUST HAVE before you leave home!

Seminar Study Guide and Emergency Plan

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