It’s critical that managers train personnel about the importance of honoring do-not-disturb signs, but there’s a limit to how long employees should respect a guest’s privacy before entering the room. Here are a few considerations:
Guest illness or death. Sometimes a guest may become incapacitated because of a stroke or a slip and fall accident. If a hotel honors a do-not-disturb sign for several days before accessing the guestroom, they might discover a deceased guest or an accident scene.
Security of the guestroom. When a hotel establishes a policy of absolute privacy for the duration of any guest’s occupancy, the potential for illegal or harmful activities to occur dramatically increases. Hotel managers must balance a guest’s request for privacy with the overall safety and welfare of other guests and employees and compliance with federal, state, and local laws.
Sanitation purposes. Some municipalities have ordinances that require innkeepers to access occupied guestrooms once a day to maintain a sanitary environment and prevent pest and rodent infestation. Even if your city or town does not implement such a law, it doesn’t mean your hotel cannot emplace such a policy.
William D. Frye is coauthor of AH&LEI’s textbook Managing Housekeeping Operations.
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