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Why Hotel ‘Do Not Disturb’ Signs Are Disappearing

Your right to sleeping in may come second to some bigger issues.

Travelers who crave privacy in their hotel room can’t count on doorhangers to keep staff out anymore. First Disney tweaked the words on its doorhangers, swapping out “Do Not Disturb” and replacing it with “Room Occupied.” This subtle adjustment was intended to remind guests of a new corporate policy, dictating that staffers must inspect rooms every 24 hours without exception. (If the sign lingers longer, staff will simply knock, and announce themselves, before entering.)

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It’s easy to assume that both policy changes were driven by the mass shooting in Las Vegas in October 2017, when gunman Stephen Paddock hung a “Do Not Disturb” sign on his room door for several days, thus concealing the ammunition he had smuggled on property.

Certainly, Hilton’s new policy explicitly references this incident (Disney demurs). But according to lawyer Stephen Barth, who teaches at Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, DND doorhangers have been under review by the industry for some time.

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