After the Las Vegas concert gunman assembled an arsenal in his hotel room over several days, security experts are asking how long hotels should wait before checking on guests who post “do not disturb” signs for long periods.
When a “Do Not Disturb” sign hangs outside a hotel room for a while, staff will usually call or knock to make sure everything’s OK. After the Las Vegas massacre, hotel operators may be asking themselves: How long should we wait before contacting guests who want to be left alone? The gunman who killed 58 people and left nearly 500 injured at an Oct. 1 concert may have been able to prepare for the attack because housekeeping staff didn’t enter the room for some time, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Casino owner Steve Wynn told Fox News that the shooter “didn’t let anyone in the room for two or three days … That would have triggered a whole bunch of alarms here.”
It’s unclear whether a check by hotel staff could have prevented the massacre. Guests with Do Not Disturb signs can tell hotel workers that everything is fine, prompting staff to leave them be, says Kevin Murphy of the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. There is no industrywide standard for how long hotels wait before trying to make contact with guests, said Dick Hudak of Florida-based Resort Security Consulting. He said 12 hours is “too soon” but agreed that policies can vary based on the owner, the hotel and the guest. Typically, hotels require that rooms with a Do Not Disturb request should be entered for routine cleaning after three days. Illegal activity can happen in any hotel. But it’s far more common to worry about a guest’s health than to worry he’s stockpiling weapons, according to Central Florida’s Murphy. “When’s the last time you heard someone had 23 assault rifles in their hotel room,” he said.