Entrance to Hotel Ibis, Reading, England
To some people, travelling overseas form part and parcel of office work. Whether a person is a frequent or a first time traveller, he or she is exposed to risks whenever they go for an overseas trip. From time to time, we used to come across reports saying that we should avoid staying in those hotels that are frequented by Westerners. Well, if we have no choice, then we need to do some form of risk assessment and mitigation on our part. We should think of what can go wrong during our stay in the hotel.
Risk assessment and mitigation
In beefing up security, hotels in certain cities (Istanbul, Manila, Algiers, just to name a few) install metal detector arch or are using hand-held type metal detector to screen hotel guests as well as visitors.
As a safety precaution during your hotel check-in, request for a room that is located not higher than the sixth floor, if possible. It is easier to escape during an emergency, e.g. fire. Travellers should be security aware that rooms on lower floors provide easy access for burglars or intruders. During check-in, place your luggage in front of you.
After check-in, carry your own luggage to your room. Women travellers who arrive late at night may want to request a bellboy or porter to carry the luggage direct to the room, with you accompanying him. When you first enter your hotel room, check the room thoroughly (in the bathroom, connecting door, behind the curtain, in the closet, etc.) to ensure that the room is really empty and safe before closing the door.
To mitigate risks while staying at the hotel, the following do’s and don’ts are useful:
· check the location of fire exit and staircase, etc. It is useful when you need to move out or evacuate quickly during an emergency, e.g. fire, bomb threat, terrorist attack, earthquake, etc. Remember that the lift is out of service during an emergency.
· for an extra protection of you and your valuables, consider using a rubber wedge or doorstopper that you usually use at home.
· always have a torch light with extra batteries – to be used when electricity supply is cut off. Some hotels provide a torch light, usually placed in the closet.
· verify callers before opening the door.
· display “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door.
· check with the hotel if tap water can be used for drinking. In certain countries, you cannot drink the tap water, even after boiling it for it may upset your stomach. Boil the supplied mineral water to make drinks.
· place your belongings at one or two places only. It is easier to pack them again should you need to move out quickly, e.g. in case of emergency.
· to avoid hotel theft, keep all belongings under locked when going out from the room.
· if you have scheduled your meeting in the same hotel where you are staying, it is to your advantage to check the location of the room first at your earliest convenience.