Hotel “Do Not Disturb” Signs Are Disappearing For A Disturbing Reason

If you don’t want to be bothered by staff while in your hotel room, you can no longer count on a door hanger to keep them at bay.

A new attitude towards privacy in hotels has arisen in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting in October 2017, when a gunman concealed his weapons and ammunition in a hotel room by leaving the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door for several days. The rise of mobile meth labs and human traficking hubs has also put pressure on hotels to take greater responsibility for what happens behind the closed doors of their guest rooms.

Many hotels are shifting their policies regarding guest privacy in hotel rooms. Disney now requires that staff inspect every hotel room at least once every 24 hours, and Hilton has enacted a similar policy where housekeeping staff will slip an “Unable to Service” card beneath locked doors, reminding the occupants that management will unlock the door for inspection if entry is unable to be made within 24 hours.


However, this really isn’t anything new. The old “Do Not Disturb” signs had no actual legal clout, and most hotels have long required guests to sign a waiver allowing hotel staff to enter as they please for a number of reasons, including to clean the room or make necessary repairs. These days, you’re more likely to find a “Room Occupied” sign waiting for you in a hotel room.

Interestingly, you can still prevent government agents from entering your hotel room per the fourth amendment. But the maid? Not so much.