I'm not an alarmist by nature but on occasion I am hit with a realization I've not given credence before, despite overwhelming evidence and opportunity. I have traveled four days a week for the better part of eight years and yet it was today, as I checked into a mid-level new-ish hotel in NOLA and handed my identity and payment and confirmed solo-traveler status to an earnest young man behind the desk, it occurred to me to ask myself; "Is this person worthy of everything s/he now knows about me?"
The reality is, by the time I arrive at my hotel I have generally been on the road or in meetings or both all day, and I often rely on autopilot to get me into my room and into my "comfy pants". My normal intuition may not be as keenly engaged. And yet I trust these ever-present hotel employees for information about my surroundings, for direction and restaurant recommendations. I accept their welcomes and their invitations to happy hour on the concierge level without prejudice. I trust when they tell me the gym is in the basement that it's in the basement.
Do hotel workers have to sign some kind of confidentiality agreement? Do they go through background checks given all the personal information they gather about me and other guests? Like most things, the answer isn't black and white. Background checks are not only expensive for hotels and invasive for individuals, they're limited by state laws so a clear picture isn't always possible. Sadly there have been instances where things were excluded or missed and accused and criminals ended up getting a job in a hotel, with tragic outcomes.
So once again, I will add this to the list of things women generally have to think of that men do not when we travel for business; whether or not to trust a hotel employee.
And again, the answer is, it's up to us. Keep your gut engaged and believe it when it tells you to be careful. Always ask for two room keys. Engage the deadbolt. Trust the recommendations, but verify. You didn't get to be a seasoned road warrior by being a shrinking violet but neither did you ignore the little voices directing you be safe. And that's the moral here too.
Journey On, Janes.
Do you trust hotel employees? How do you navigate all the microdecisions like this you make as a woman business traveler? Let us know in the comments below, or join our private community here for more discussion!