I. Introduction Loss Prevention Surveys

Key Lanyards & Attachments

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Key Lanyards & Attachments – To help prevent the loss or theft of keys, they should be

attached to employees by a thin lanyard, wrist bracelet or similar means of attachment. A

small hole should be punched near the non-sensitive end of the key cards and a metal

grommet or ring inserted in the hole to prevent tearing.

Department Key Control (Metal)

Various departments maintain metal keys which access their individual back of the house

areas. To help protect hotel assets, key control procedures similar to electronic locks must

be implemented.

Each department will have keys specific to their area. These keys should be individual and

uniquely identifiable. To prevent potential removal of keys, tamper resistant rings should

be used. These keys should be inventoried on a regular basis. The key rings should be

signed in and signed out each day. While not in use, the key rings should be stored in a

locked key cabinet within a secured office. Two separate keys should be required to gain

access to the key cabinet.

Depending upon the size and complexity of the hotel, management may choose to have

keys controlled at a departmental level or on a hotel-wide level by security. Regardless of

which method is chosen, all keys must be accounted for daily.

Liquor Storage Keys – Due to the cost of inventory and the potential for misuse, access

to the liquor storage room should be tightly controlled. There should be a limit of two

keys, when possible. One key should be secured by the General Manager or their designee.

The second key should be controlled by the Food and Beverage Director. If an electronic

lock is used, keys may be programmed to work on the first and second shifts only.

Metal Key Audits - the Security Director or a member of hotel management should "spot

check" storage of department keys on a random basis to ensure all keys have been

returned and properly stored.

Guest Security


Duplication of Metal Keys - Any request for the duplication of keys should be submitted

in writing to the General Manager who should thoroughly review the request before

granting approval. Approval should be in writing. If the key was broken, the broken parts

should be given to the General Manager for comparison with the master. If the key was

lost, the circumstances under which it was lost (how, where, and when) should be discussed

to determine the need for re-keying the locks. If there is any doubt as to whether the key

could be recovered or used to access the hotel, the affected locks should be re-keyed.

Guest Security


Safe Deposit Boxes & Keys

Most jurisdictions have enacted laws known as “Innkeeper's Liability” laws which limit a

hotel’s responsibility for lost or stolen property. Jurisdictions may have statutory

requirements covering the availability of safe deposit boxes. A notice should be posted

regarding their availability. The notice should be posted in the guestroom, the front desk

and in other locations in accordance with state law. The liability of the hotel may be limited

through compliance with these laws.

Safe deposit boxes should be available at no extra charge to registered guests, and their use

should be encouraged. The hotel should have boxes of varying sizes in order to store

valuables that are slightly oversized. Boxes reserved for guest use and for storage of inhouse

banks should have two locks that can be opened only by using an office control key

and an access key simultaneously. All safe deposit box keys should be inventoried at least

quarterly. There should be only one access key for each of the safe deposit boxes

designated for guest use. Duplicate guest use keys can create added liability for the hotel.

All duplicate keys for the safe deposit boxes should be destroyed in the presence of a

witness. The key bows should be retained as evidence of their destruction.

A safe deposit record and agreement form, which complies with your jurisdiction, should

be available. This form normally contains a paragraph outlining the law and limits of

liability. The form should also contain a notice specifying that there is only one guest key

and the amount they will be charged in the event the key is lost. The guest should be

required to complete the form with their name, permanent address and signature in the

presence of a hotel employee. An employee should also sign and date the form. The form is

not to leave the custody of the hotel and should not be taken from the desk by the guest. A

separate receipt should be given to the guest for the items stored when the jurisdiction

requires this practice. A sample safe deposit record is provided in the appendix.

In the event a guest key is lost, they should be reminded of the fee associated with opening

the safe deposit box. A locksmith should be contacted and a time scheduled for opening

the box. The forced opening of any safe deposit box should only be conducted with the

approval of and in the presence of the guest and the general manager or their designee.

Beginning with the first deposit, a record should be kept each time the guest accesses the

safe deposit box, listing the time of entry and the signatures of both the guest and the

witnessing employee. The employee should check to ensure the guest signature matches

the authorizing guest signature. Any doubt concerning the similarity of the signature to

previous signatures should be resolved by valid identification or by the manager on duty.

Only the guest named on the record should have access to the safe deposit box.

When a hotel guest requests a safe deposit box, an employee should select a vacant safe

deposit box and record the key number on the deposit form. The guest should deposit their

items in the safe deposit box in a private area. The employee should secure the safe deposit

in the guest's presence. Hotel employees should never handle an unlocked box outside of

the guest's view. The guest should retain their key. The employee should return the hotel

control key to its proper place.

Guest Security


The assignment of a safe deposit box should be noted either on the guest's folio or by

placing the safe deposit record with the folio. A guest who no longer needs the safe deposit

box should complete and sign the surrender declaration on the card. This indicates that the

guest has removed all articles from the box. The employee then signs the card as a witness

and the guest surrenders the safe deposit key. The box should be surrendered before the

guest checks out. Normally, the safe deposit record should be filed and retained for a

minimum of two years. However, the safe deposit record of a guest who has filed a security

complaint should be retained for the period of time specified by the jurisdiction's statute of

limitations required for civil suits.

The safe deposit boxes should be located where a front office employee can monitor

access. When not in use, the safe deposit control key should be kept locked and not left in a

key slot. The guest service shift leader should be responsible for seeing that the key is kept

secure at all times.

If a guest requests the use of a safe deposit box and all boxes are in use, special

arrangements should be made to have the guest's valuables stored in the General Manager's

safe. The same paperwork procedure applies with one additional requirement. The

valuables should be inventoried by the guest and a member of management, and both

parties should sign this inventory sheet. This will help prevent a claim for "lost"

merchandise that was not actually stored.

In-Room Safes

In-room safes are being introduced and used in certain properties for the protection of guest

valuables. However, in-room safes are not substitutes for safe deposit boxes or a hotel safe

under direct control of hotel management. In each guestroom, a “posting” should be made to

make it clear to the guest that safe deposit boxes or a safe is available in the offices for the

storage of valuables.

When selecting in-room safes, only those safes which offer an interrogation feature should

be installed.

Guest Security


Lost & Found

Every item found by an employee on the hotel's premises should be turned over for

safekeeping to a designated person, usually the executive housekeeper or security manager.

This individual should designate a lost and found storage area, typically a secure closet

within their office or a limited access storage room. Access to these areas should be

limited to this individual or their designee. Items should be logged and secured in the lost

and found storage area by the end of each business day. Each item should be recorded in

the lost and found log as follows:

  • Describe the article, including serial number and/or brand name, as well as other

  • identifying characteristics. If the item is a container such as a pocketbook or suitcase

  • and is unlocked, the contents should also be inventoried.

  • State where the article was found, using the nearest room number as a reference. If

  • the item was found outside the hotel, give the approximate distance and direction

  • from a specific facility landmark.

  • List when the item was found, including the time and date.

  • Identify the person who found it.

  • List the unique item identifier code.

  • Record the date and method of disposition for any item that is not claimed.

  • The lost and found log should be kept in the housekeeping department and all calls about

  • lost items should be referred to the executive housekeeper or their designee. Some hotels

  • may choose to have the lost and found items collected and controlled by the security

  • department. A sample lost & found log is included in the appendix.

All items found should be sealed in bags to prevent damage. The bags should be labeled so

they can be found easily in the storage area. A two digit month and three digit item

identifier code may be used to identify items.

To ensure guest privacy, the hotel should not attempt to contact guests or return lost items.

Rather, hotels should only respond to inquiries about lost items. When inquiries are

received about an item, the person should be asked for their room number, date of stay and

a specific description of the item. Details from the log should not be provided to the caller.

The caller should not be informed that the hotel has the item until it has been retrieved from

the lost and found storage area and verified. Items should not be left unsecured.

If the owner has arranged to pick up an item, the individual should sign the logbook to

acknowledge that the item has been returned. Items should be mailed only when the owner

requests it and should be sent to the address given by the owner. All mailed items should be

returned at the guest’s expense. The name and address of the person to whom the item was

mailed should be recorded in the log.

Guest Security


Any valuable item, such as a credit card or jewelry, should be turned over to the General

Manager or their designee who records their acceptance of the item on the lost and found

log. After packaging and identifying the item, it should be secured in the safe or other

equally secure location.

Items should be held for a period of at least 90 days. Valuable items may be held up to 180

days at the hotel’s discretion. If no inquiry is received within this time, the property should

be returned to the employee who discovered it. To ensure the effectiveness of the lost and

found program, it is important that the employees know that valuable items will be returned

to them if not retrieved by guests.

Guests often leave various items as a tip. This may include food items, alcohol, or money.

If there is any doubt as to whether an item is meant as a tip or was forgotten by the guest,

the employee should be instructed to contact their supervisor.

Food Items

Nonperishable food items and food within its original, sealed containers may be returned to

the employee who discovered them at the end of the following business day. Perishables

and food or drinks in open containers should be disposed of immediately. Employees

should be educated as to the hazards inherent with open containers and potential tampering.


Alcoholic beverages sealed in their original container should be secured for a period of

seven days. At which time the item may be destroyed in the presence of a witness.

Alcohol should not be introduced into the hotel’s liquor inventory. In the event that a hotel

decides to return alcoholic beverages to the employee who discovered it, the hotel should

ensure that the employee is of legal drinking age. A package removal pass should be

issued and the alcohol returned to the employee at the end of their shift. The alcohol

should not be permitted to be consumed during working hours or on hotel property.


In the event that drugs or other contraband are discovered, the room should be sealed and

the local authorities contacted. Employees should take special care not to touch or

otherwise handle the substance.


In the event that a handgun is discovered by an employee, the room should be sealed and

the local authorities contacted. The handgun should be submitted to the local authorities as

a lost and found item. A copy of the receipt should be maintained on file with the lost and

found log. If a guest inquires about the item, they should be referred to the local authorities

and provided with a copy of the receipt. At no time should the hotel return a weapon to the

employee who discovered it.
Guest Security


Conventions, Meetings, Exhibits & Shows

Conventions, meetings, exhibits, and shows are desirable types of business. However,

their presence can increase the potential for security incidents. The presence of these

gatherings can increase the potential for theft. Certain groups have valuable equipment

and merchandise, and may carry excessive amounts of cash. Additionally, the potential

for vandalism increases. Controversial organizations may increase the potential for

protest meetings, demonstrations and the presence of undesirable media. The hotel should

consider notifying local law enforcement when major events or controversial groups

schedule activities.

The security department, in conjunction with the sales and the food and beverage

departments, should develop a policy for events that may require special security

considerations. Security should be able to participate in meetings between the hotel

representatives and the convention manager in order to plan intelligently for the proposed

event. The security department should be notified by the sales department prior to signing

any contract for these types of events. Law enforcement officials may also have some

recent intelligence information that can help hotel security evaluate the precautions and

programs needed to handle the visit of controversial organizations or persons. If the hotel

determines that additional security is necessary, this should be written into the contract at

the group’s expense.

When negotiating with meeting planners, the hotel representative should state clearly that

the hotel can assume no responsibility or liability for the loss of the exhibitor's

merchandise. The hotel should only use a contract which has been reviewed and approved

by the hotel’s legal representatives. Hotel representatives should not sign any contracts

presented to them by meeting planners unless prior approval has been obtained. If the

group desires additional security beyond that which the hotel can provide, consideration

should be given to utilizing a local contract security force at the group’s expense. In the

event that a group provides its own security, the group security manager should meet with

the security director or the general manager prior to the scheduled event to outline policies

and procedures.

Groups frequently have expensive items on display. The meeting planner and the hotel

management should agree that all items of value are to be the responsibility of the group.

The meeting planner should be informed that the hotel is a public place, that they are

responsible for securing the meeting space during breaks, and that the hotel is not

responsible for loss due to theft or vandalism. If possible, the hotel should equip their

meeting and banquet space with electronic locks. If electronic locks are not provided, the

hotel should re-key the mechanical lock for each group, at the group’s expense. A

minimum of two keys for the lock should be produced. One key should be sealed in an

envelope with the date and signatures of two managers written across the seal. This should

be placed in a safety deposit box for emergency access. The remaining key(s) should be

given to the group. Any use of the hotel’s key should be documented in the MOD and/or

security log.

Guest Security


Often, a hotel is restricted in the amount of storage it can offer. Taking this into account,

the meeting planner should be informed that the hotel is limited in the amount of materials

that can be stored long term. In the agreement, the hotel should establish a beginning

arrival date for the group’s packages. These materials should be logged as they are

received and secured in a limited access area. Special arrangements should be made for

high value items.

At times, a meeting may be of a restricted nature and may require an invitation or special

identification for admission. Consideration should be given to ensure that these materials

are not easily reproducible. If the hotel is providing the invitations or identifications,

these should be tightly controlled.

Guest Security


Baggage & Bell Staff

Whenever the hotel takes temporary custody of luggage for a guest, care should be taken

to ensure that it is returned in the same condition as it is received. The hotel should

maintain a supply of approved, two-piece baggage claim slips complete with waiver and

limit of liability statement. The slips should not include the name or brand of the hotel.

To help prevent fraud, the tags should be stored in a locked cabinet or storage room.

The hotel should take care in selecting the appropriate location for the bell stand and closet.

Preferably, the closet should be visible from the front desk. The bell closet should be a

single purpose storage area designated for the storage of guest luggage. Access should be

restricted to a single entrance if possible, and the doors should be equipped with selfclosing,

self-latching hardware. If possible, an electronic lock should be installed on the

door. For added protection, the hotel should consider installing a CCTV camera in the bell

closet. A high security cage or cabinet should be installed in the bell closet for storage of

high value items, such as briefcases, laptops, and other valuable items. This cage should

remain locked at all times.

When checking guest baggage, the attendant should inquire of the guest how many bags

they wish to check. The appropriate number of luggage claim checks should be retrieved

from their secure location. Tags should not be left unattended or in an unsecured location.

The guest should be asked to sign the top half of each tag. The claim checks should be

removed and given to the guest. The tags should be attached to the bags in the presence of

the guest and the bags should be immediately placed in the bell stand closet.

When the guest returns, the attendant should request their claim check and retrieve the

baggage from the bell closet. At no time should guests or any other unauthorized personnel

be permitted to enter the checkroom. The attendant should retain and destroy all claim

checks. This eliminates the possibility of someone acquiring it in an attempt to defraud the


In the event that a guest has lost their claim check, positive identification must be made

prior to the guest being given their baggage. The hotel should maintain a log for lost

baggage claim checks. The attendant should ask the guest to describe the baggage in detail

and inquire about any luggage tags or other unique identifiers on the baggage. An entry

should be made on the log, including the number and description of bags being stored. The

guest should be asked to sign the log, and this signature should be compared to the

signature on the baggage tag. If the signature doesn’t match, the guest should be asked to

present photo ID. If it is an additional member of the party retrieving the bag, the guest’s

name should be compared with the registration file. If the person is not registered to the

guest’s room, the guest should be informed for security reasons that the bag cannot be

returned and that the person who checked the bag must return to retrieve it.

If unused luggage tags are lost or misplaced, the numbers of those tags should be entered

into the log to prevent a third party from attempting to defraud the hotel.

Guest Security


At times, a bag may remain in storage for a long period of time. The hotel should

investigate to see if the guest is still registered. If the guest has checked out and has not left

instructions for long term storage, then the bag should be moved to lost and found. Guests

wishing to store their bags for a long period of time should be provided with a written copy

of the hotel’s policy for long term storage. A pick-up date for the baggage should be

established. In the event that the bag is not claimed by that date and additional provisions

have not been made, the bag should be placed in the hotel’s lost and found and disposed of

in accordance with that policy.

If the hotel loses a guest bag, a loss and incident report should be completed. A report

should be filed with the hotel’s insurance carrier, and the guest should be provided with

their name and contact number.

In the event that a hotel chooses to store large items or packages for a guest, care should be

taken to ensure that they are secured and handled in a fashion similar to normal baggage.

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