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Rant: "Hold On!" Rarely Works With Housekeeping

Where: Various Hotels
January 15, 2013 at 4:22 PM | by | ()

Watcha gonna do when they come for you...at the break of dawn?

Let's just call this "Tell Us Why You're Mad Tuesday" rant, m'kay?

This is dedicated to all the hotel housekeepers who bust in our rooms after just one knock. They never hear our panicked "Hold On!" as we race to the door. It's always too late. Yes, sometimes we realize we've forgotten to put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on, but honestly, isn't that more of a back-up than an out-and-out mechanism to waylay intrusions?

We usually don't expect a knock on the door at 9 a.m. when most of these disturbances seem to occur. Isn't check-out at 11 a.m., lady? And what's with the universal one-knock rule? One tap and you're opening the door, not giving us a second to get ourselves decent. And it seems we're always indecent (when the room invasion occurs).

Even with these signs, they'll still come a knockin'!

Nope. We've had people out-and-out ignore the signs, perhaps because they think we're lying about being in the room? They think we're paranoid types who don't want our minibars refreshed (or counted) and they simply must get in and take a look? Even with precautions we've been caught with the our knickers in a twist (literally) at many a resort.

So, what's the deal? Is there someone who works in the hospitality biz who can shed some light on this? Is there a one-knock rule? What's the protocol here?

We can't be the only ones that have been barged in on? Because if we are, that will make us feel freakish--and we don't need any more help with that.

Tell us why you're mad! Room barge-ins? Cold food orders? Go ham in the comments below!


Archived Comments:

stop the insanity!

always make sure you do the bolt from the inside when you're in your room. that way if you are walking around naked and housekeeping tries to bust in, they'll be stopped.

How things work... (or should work, really):

I'll start from the top:

(1) Check-out is usually between 11am-12pm. Depending on the size of the hotel, housekeeping is either 24/7 (usually in hotel/resorts w 1000+ rooms) or starts between 8am-9am in smaller hotels. Because there are always guests who depart earlier than check-out time, housekeepers come in early AM, start with these rooms, and then move on down their list of due-outs. (Note: hotels know that there's 0% probability every guest will stay in their room up to check-out time, and rely on the early-outs to ensure more rooms are available earlier for arriving guests).

Here's what you need to know: ANY ROOM DUE-OUT WITHOUT A DND ON THE DOOR IS FAIR GAME... whether it's 9:30am or check-out time. Use the DND signs if you don't want to be disturbed. They're there for guests to enjoy their privacy when desired, so help hotel staff out and use them when you need them. Don't be surprised next time you receive a knock in the morning if you forgot the DND. Housekeepers, in general, are simply trying to work as efficiently as possible and have no intention of disturbing guests.

(2) One-knock rule? Definitely not acceptable practice. Most hotel companies have a mandatory two-knock, three-announcement rule. (Knock twice w/ "Housekeeping" and upon entering the room again announce yourself in case the guest did not hear you from outside the room... never assume the guest heard you and always make your presence known so as not to scare or disturb them).

(3) Regarding DND: "breaking a DND" (hotel staff ignoring the DND sign and proceeding into the room anyway) is a huge industry-wide NO-NO! The ONLY exceptions to this are: [a] when a guest is due out, and stays in their room beyond check-out time without having been granted a late-out, they are no longer entitled to privacy (as they should be gone already), and the DND may be broken or [b] if a long-stay guest has refused service for multiple consecutive days of stay, depending on various state laws, we are required to perform "welfare checks" to ensure the well-being and safety of our guests. Have you ever had your DND on for a few days, and subsequently received a call from a Housekeeping manager asking about your stay? What may seem like an innocent inquiry regarding your visit is really a welfare check to get the guest on the phone and communicating with the hotel that all is OK.

(4) Lastly, if you're in your hotel room, you should always double-lock your door. This will prevent anyone from coming in, and housekeeping staff keys do not have the authority to override the double-lock / deadbolt.