Those fluffy, white hotel towels may be a nice souvenir from your luxury hotel stay, but resist the temptation to tuck one inside your bag.
Hotels, which report losing up to 20 percent of their linens every month, are cracking down on linen theft with the help of an electronic tracking device sewn into towels, sheets and robes that can tell users when and where the items are being stolen.
The devise is barely perceptible to those who aren't looking for it, and sneakier still, Linen Tracking Technology, the company behind the microchip trackers, won’t reveal which hotels they're working with.
The company did say about 2,000 hotels now have their devices in their towels.
“Our properties like to remain anonymous. They benefit from the gained efficiency and don’t want to alarm guests that they have this technology,” William Serbin, executive vice president of Miami-based Linen Tracking Technology told the Daily Mail.
While the company has been around for several years, more hotels in U.S. and overseas have been adopting the Linentracker chip, with some reporting a huge decrease in linen theft. Mr. C Hotel in Beverly Hotels says the device reduced their rate of missing items from between 20 to 30 percent each month down to just 3 percent.
The M&M candy-sized chip, which can be attached to linens, towels or robes --and alerts managers where they are at all times--can last through up to 300 wash cycles.
The company initially created the chip to allow hotels to keep better track of linens shipped to offsite cleaners where the majority of theft of misplacement occurs—between 10 to 20 percent monthly, Serbin estimates. Two percent of hotel linen theft can be directly attributed to guests.
“Our solution not only provides total inventory information, but provides additional data like dwell time, wash count and laundry reconciliation which assists properties become more efficient,” the executive vice president said.
But when one of the micro-chipped linens passes through a signal at the hotel’s entrance or exit, hoteliers are alerted that a towel has left the property. The chip does not currently report back the exact coordinates of the towel but Serbin says hotels can make note of which guest stayed where --to allow for better linen accounting.