Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lost and Found -- A Primer for Guests

Or, another way we could title this is the "headache of dealing with lost and found."

This is a re-writeof an article I wrote about four years ago on this blog.  It still gets a lot of hits on the Internet, and since many of our current blog readers have likely never gone that far back into our blog's archives, I thought it would be good to post it again.


If you have ever worked in a hotel, especially in housekeeping or the front desk, you will already know what I am about to write about -- the headache that is "Lost and Found".

Why is it a headache? Let me count the ways.

1. HONESTY ~~ Many people assume that the hotel staff members are dishonest. This is probably the biggest issue for those of us who are dedicated to serving our guests well -- and it is simply not true. I cannot tell you how many times that an employee has brought me or the front desk items of very high value (cash, wallets, purses, cameras, jewelery, etc.) that they have found, and could have easily pocketed with not a word. They simply would not think of doing that.

2. LOOK FIRST ~~ Many people assume as soon as they can't find something that they must have left it at the hotel, before they really thoroughly research things for themselves. I cannot tell you how many times we have turned the hotel upside down looking for something for someone, only to learn later that they found their item in a side pocket of a suitcase, or they never brought it at all, or a colleague or roommate picked it up for them. The issue for the hotel is all the time we spend dealing with these issues, and sometimes people never even call us back to let us know that they did find their item.  If you report something as "lost" to us, and later find it, please call us back and let us know so we can make that notation in our files.

3. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY ~~ Many people assume that we are somehow responsible for anything they decide to claim is missing. People! Be responsible for your own stuff! Keep track of your things, and don't assume that just because you are careless, that somehow makes a hotel responsible. It does not.  We are ready to assist you, but please understand that is a courtesy on our part, not a right on yours.  Be kind to the people you talk with, and keep track of who you talk to and when.  It helps.

4. WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THAT STUFF ~~ Storage is precious in hotels, and leaving behind your stuff means we have to find a place to keep it safe for you. PLEASE, keep track of your stuff, pack carefully, check all the places you have been to be sure you are leaving nothing behind. We (all hotel managers) will adore you for your responsibility. BTW, we donate all unclaimed items to a local charity after 30 days for 'normal' items and 90 days if we perceive it has a high value.

Now, when I say many people, I know I am painting this picture with a broad brush, and we do get some really nice stories regarding lost and found occasionally. So, here is one of those NICE STORIES, that came from our Assistant Director of Sales and Marketing at the time, Mike Kernander:

Last night at the Salem Chamber of Commerce event at Fresh Taste of Asia, Kristie and I met Karen Pelletier from the House of the Seven Gables. In the course of our visit, Karen told us she was staying here with her brother and her sister on December 8. However, she left behind something in her room. It was a gift-wrapped brick from the building her father worked at in Pennsylvania. The building was being torn down brick by brick. Karen's brother gave her the brick, and her sister gave her two pictures of the building. She discovered that she left the brick behind in the room they were staying. Karen thought the brick was lost and thought there was no way we would keep something like that. She never even thought to call to check.

As she was telling us this story last night, I wrote down in my PDA what she had lost. this afternoon, I asked James, from housekeeping, about the lost and found and we went to the bin in Housekeeping. James recognized the item and gave it to me. We had both the brick and the pictures. 
I brought the brick to the House of the Seven Gables and Karen met me in the lobby. She had an idea that I had come to deliver the brick and had a wide smile as she came out to meet me. She thought it was lost forever.
Karen told me that we made her brother’s day by recovering the brick and her sister’s day by recovering the photos. I think we helped make her day by finding them and bringing them to her. It made my day to be able to deliver it to her.

Smiles all around!
A happy ending to a vexing problem.



  1. Nice posting.. Thank you for sharing.. I like it so much.. This blog is easy to be understood and the topic is very daily happening..

  2. Good blog.. We have to change the assumption, "The hotel staff members are dishonest.."

    I thought that it depends on the personality of each person..