Hotels Change Policy on 'Do Not Disturb' Signs

Every night before bed, I place the "Do Not Disturb" sign on my hotel room door. The time I wake up, shower and get dressed changes from day-to-day, depending on my schedule, the time I went to sleep and the purposes of my travel. In some cases, I may leave the privacy hangtag on the door for the duration of my entire stay.

Several hotel chains have announced policies that will change the meaning of the "Do Not Disturb" sign, or do away with it altogether. Journalists have reasoned that the policy change is likely a response to the horrible attack in Las Vegas this past October, where a gunman opened fire on concertgoers from a hotel room window.

'Do Not Disturb' sign hanging from a hotel room door.
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'Do Not Disturb' sign hanging from a hotel room door.

The Walt Disney World hotels and resorts were the first to make a change, replacing the "Do Not Disturb" signs with ones that read "Room Occupied." The company's information packet warns guests that staff “reserve the right to enter your room for any purposes including, but not limited to, performing maintenance and repairs or checking on the safety and security of guests and property." Despite the policy change, staff must still first knock and announce themselves before entering.

Hilton has also announced changes to its policy, instructing hotels to update the privacy signs with the following language:

“We understand and respect your need for privacy. The hotel reserves the right to visually inspect all guest rooms every 24 hours to ensure the well-being of our guests and confirm the condition of the room. If service is refused for this length of time, a member of hotel management will check on the guest room.”

Nigel Glennie, Hilton's vice president for corporate communications, said, “The clock starts when a team member first notices the ‘do not disturb,’” and “they will alert a manager if it’s still up after 24 hours.”

According to USA Today, the staff at Wynn Resorts (which has properties in Las Vegas) may now enter a guest room if the "Do Not Disturb" sign has been in place for 12 consecutive hours.

Rosanna Maietta, spokeswoman for the American Hotel & Lodging Association, called the new measures a\n example of the industry's commitment to safety and security. “Because hotels own the rooms, they have the right to enter for reasons of security, safety of guests, maintenance or sanitation purposes,” she said.

Some travelers will be frustrated by the invasion of privacy. For me, I'm most concerned with being woken up by a knock at the door, or the awkward situation where the door opens before I've had a chance to get out of bed and into my wheelchair. If clothing is not close at hand or I am not ready to start my day, I'll probably just hide under the covers until they leave.


Do you agree or disagree with the "Do Not Disturb" policy changes?
Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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