The hotel rating platform Wellness Heaven recently asked 1,376 hoteliers which items are most frequently stolen. As a result, towels and bathrobes are among the most commonly stolen items. Closely followed by clothes hangers, pens, and cosmetics.
In addition to these “common” items, there are also a number of outliers that indicate a lively theft imagination on the part of the offenders:
As reported by a Berlin hotel, guests who stole all of the bathroom fittings—the head of a rain shower, a hydromassage shower, a toilet seat, a drainpipe, or even an entire washbasin—had to demonstrate a high level of craftsmanship.
A hotelier from Italy: “Once when I was walking through the lobby, I noticed that something was missing. Shortly afterwards, I found out that three unknown men in overalls had taken the large piano away. Of course, it never turned up again.”
A hotel owner from the Sauerland region reports how the entire stereo system in the wellness area disappeared one morning. Wellness thieves apparently dismantled the entire sound equipment overnight and loaded it into the car as a gift for guests before making off.
In a hotel in England, a guest had unceremoniously removed the numbers from the hotel room door. “We only noticed this when the next guest couldn’t find his room,” says the hotel manager.
Stuffed hunting trophies
In a hotel in France, a guest was caught trying to steal a stuffed wild boar’s head. He eventually received his trophy, which friends purchased from the hotel and gave to him as a wedding gift.
A regular guest at a hotel stole an entire dinner service. He regularly stole plates, cups, cutlery, and glasses from the hotel restaurant over a period of several months.
The management of a resort in the Maldives reports that it buys new flower arrangements several times a week to replace those that have disappeared. Perhaps the demand for flowers is simply too high here due to the many marriage proposals.
Crockery and coffee machines
If we break down the delinquents by nationality, a more differentiated picture emerges. It turns out, for example, that German hotel guests have a rather boring theft pattern: in addition to towels and bathrobes, they primarily steal cosmetics. The Austrians are much more pleasure-oriented. Crockery and coffee machines rank high on the theft scale.
Italians prefer wine glasses as hotel souvenirs, while hairdryers are high on the list for the Swiss. The French, on the other hand, are more spectacular thieves; they represent the nation that most frequently steals televisions and remote controls. Pillows and batteries are very popular with Americans. The practical use of souvenirs is important to Dutch hotel guests; their favourites include light bulbs and toilet paper.
“Greed is a good thing.”
A total of 740 hoteliers from four-star hotels and 636 from five-star hotels were surveyed in order to determine theft behaviour in relation to the wealth of the guests. The results are astonishing: “Greed is good” seems to be a reliable motto, especially among wealthy five-star guests.
For example, guests in the five-star segment are 4.9 times more likely to have high-quality TV sets stolen from their rooms than travellers in four-star hotels. Works of art are also a sought-after object of desire in luxury hotels (4.3 times more likely to be stolen). Tablet computers (six times higher) and mattresses (5.4 times higher) are also stolen more frequently in five-star hotels. Astonishingly, 11.8 percent of five-star hotel managers complain of mattress theft, while only 2.2 percent of four-star hotels are affected. A total of 91 hoteliers reported stolen mattresses.
Four-star guests, on the other hand, are content with less spectacular gifts: towels and clothes hangers tend to be more popular with them than with five-star guests, while practical utensils such as batteries and remote controls are particularly popular with four-star hotel guests (2.8 times and 4.4 times more often than five-star travellers, respectively).
The coffee machine, which is otherwise so popular with Austrian guests, is also a coveted item among pleasure-oriented five-star luxury guests and is 4.8 times more likely to be stolen.
Individual hotelier reports of toilet roll theft – which is generally popular with the Dutch – come exclusively from the four-star segment: there appears to be no need for additional hygiene in this area in luxury hotels.
Even the most expensive luxury mattresses (often worth thousands of euros) are vulnerable to theft: the risk of mattress theft is 5.4 times higher in five-star hotels. How the bulky goods are removed from the hotel unnoticed, however, remains a mystery. When asked, some hoteliers replied that this only happens in the middle of the night via elevators that lead directly to the underground garage.
Tablet computers, which are often found as “SuitePads” in the higher-priced room categories, for example, to book spa treatments from the room, are stolen six times more frequently in five-star hotels. Such tablets are usually worth around 480 euros and are thus a popular souvenir among luxury travellers.
In line with mattress theft, some luxury hotel guests also like to get their comforter to complete the sleeping experience with hotel reminiscence within their own four walls: Comforter theft is 1.9 times more likely in five-star hotels than in the lower segment.
Compared to the 2019 statistics, “mini fridges” have emerged as new items. 3.3 percent of hoteliers reported the theft of fridges in their rooms. In four-star hotels, mini-fridges are stolen 2.5 times more frequently. Compared to 2019, some properties are following an upward trend: the theft of coffee machines (from 6.9 to 11.4 percent), mattresses (from 4.2 to 6.6 percent), and tablet computers (from 12 to 18.3 percent) has increased significantly. On the other hand, telephones, cutlery, and lamps are less likely to be stolen.
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