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The following is an analysis about the outcome and options of visitors that attended a sales convention and lost some of their valuables at the hotels in which they were booked. The analysis is based on the case of the Smiths, booked in Pleasure Inn but lost some of their items in the room; and Reardon who intended to book at Hotel Hilton but first rushed to meet the Smiths and lost his Mustang and other belongings in the car. The objective of the paper is to address all the possible issues that took place, the possible options and outcomes of the question.
Hotels and lodgings are part of the ever-expanding tourism and business-oriented destinations. Visitors travelling for pleasure or business-related activities usually apply for hotel reservations in order to have a place to stay as they go about their businesses. Many factors influence a client’s decision to stay at a particular hotel, and these include comfort, and security (Smith & Bolton, 1998). However, according to statistics, burglary and theft are two major crimes committed against the hotel visitors (Ho, Zhao & Brown, 2009).
First, of all, Mr. and Mrs. Smith are guests of the Pleasure Inn Hotel. The couple had already booked in at the hotel and had a room reserved for them. This is also evident from the fact that they are already using the hotel facilities such as the swimming pool, and handing over a ring at the registration desk for safekeeping.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith checked in at Pleasure Inn by use of a limo from the Sleezy Limo Service. This shows that there is an established relationship between Sleezy Limo Service and the Pleasure Inn. The relationship is legal because the guests of Pleasure Inn are owed a duty of care by the Sleezy Limo Service. Furthermore, Pleasure Inn pays Sleezy Limo a flat monthly rate for the services to the former’s customers. Guests that book at Pleasure Inn are usually picked from the Airport by Sleezy’s limousines. It is for this reason that Mr. Smith prefers to be hosted at Pleasure Inn than Holiday Hilton, where the sales convention was taking place. Mr. and Mrs. Smith enjoy the limousine services that are added to guests of Pleasure Inn.
The Smiths realize that they have lost two of their bags containing valuables such as Mrs. Smith’s fur coat, and some cash. In the assumption that the Smiths are not guests at the Pleasure Inn, the situation will be slightly different. First, the hotel does not take responsibility in helping the couple to recover their valuables. Worth noting is that in this case where the Smiths are guests, the hotel is not totally viable for the loss, because the lost items were not placed at the hotel safe as advised. However, the hotel is entitled to assist its guests to look for the lost items and convict the thief. But in the assumption that the Smith’s are not guests, the hotel does not owe the couple a responsibility to recover or compensate their lost items. The couple can use the help of security or law enforcement officers to assist in tracking the thief. Nevertheless, this will depend on the locations that the couple was in since they realized that some of their items were missing. The hotel neither owes the couple a duty of care nor a standard of care as they are not guests.
All in all, the Smith’s have realized that they have lost a necklace, Rolex watch, special pieces, personal jewelry, and a purse containing $500. All these are lost after the couple has already checked in at the hotel and taken their belongings to the room. It seems that someone broke into the couple’s room while they were relaxing at the hotel’s swimming pool. This incident results to the question as to whether the hotel is responsible for the lost items. Generally, the hotel expects the guests to safeguard their belongings by keeping them at the safe in the hotel. However, the couple did not do this because they wanted to use the items right away in the evening. Nevertheless, the hotel is charged with the responsibility of ensuring safety in the guests’ rooms whether the valuable items were placed in a safe or not (Dickersonl, 2001).
On the basis of the Consumer Rights Law, the Smiths have a right to demand responsibility from the hotel over the lost items. The consumer’s rights-in this case the hotel guests-begin the moment one has been guaranteed a room. The couple’s privacy rights have been violated as someone sneaked into their room and stole the items while they were at the hotel’s swimming pool. It is difficult to believe that a thief from the outside traced the couple to the room and stole the items. The hotel should have a security surveillance system that can detect a person being in the compound illegally. In this case, the hotel has the responsibility of grilling its staff for the purpose of uncovering the thief or the person collaborating with the thief to still from its guests. Therefore, as per this consumer right, the hotel is responsible for the lost items.
However, the hotel’s liability for theft victims is limited if it takes necessary steps to protect the guests form theft (Chu & Choi, 2000). The level of liability is mostly determined by the law in order to protect the hotel from liability excesses. A hotel needs to have a safe for cash, jewels, or other valuables for its residents. In some cases, the law requires that the hotel informs the residents about the availability of the safes. This is based on the information theory which argues that consumers find value in information that is easy to access (Hoffman & Bateson, 2010). However, in this case, it is somehow suspicious that the Smiths were not verbally informed of the safes, even as Mrs. Smith was handing over her ring at the registration desk. Moreover, the notice that advises on the ability of the safe is less than appropriately visible because Mrs. Smith sees it much later on the door as they search for the lost items. To some degree, the hotel acted out of negligence by not properly enlightening the Smith’s on the safety procedures. Worth noting is that even if the hotel is liable for the lost items, the liability is limited to a certain amount such that valuables exceeding this amount may not be reimbursed. Another option for the Smith’s to recover their lost valuables is to make a claim on the travel insurance.
Just across the road from Pleasure Inn is Holiday Hilton, where Mr. Reardon intended to stay as he meets the Smiths and buy some jewelry pieces. However, realizing that he is late for his meeting with Smith, Reardon proceeds to meet him without making reservations at the hotel. Reardon believes that room vacancies will still be available when he comes back from the meeting. However, he lives his new Mustang for parking at the Holiday Hilton garage, by a boy who claims to be sitting in for the valet. On this basis, Mr. Reardon is not a guest is not a guest of the Holiday Inn. Reardon had not yet paid for the room or services, and he deals with a call boy who is not even verified to be part of the Holiday Hilton Staff.
In this case, Holiday Hilton is not responsible for the lost care and belongings of Mr. Reardon. Reardon gives the Mustang’s keys to a call boy who was supposedly sitting in for the valet. However, he does not even stop to check where the car is parked or when the valet will return and acknowledge receipt of his car. This can be considered negligence on the Reardon’s part. He should at least have ensured that he has dealt with a recognized hotel staff before leaving his car and the keys to a stranger. The theft occurred at the Hotel Hilton’s grounds but the hotel does not owe a duty of care to non-residents. Without the evidence that the valet received his Mustang and that he had not yet booked a room in the hotel, it is difficult for Reardon to prove that his car was stolen at the hotel. The relationship between the hotel and Reardon had not yet been defined.
On the other hand, it can also be considered the valet’s fault that he was not in his designated position to receive the visitors driving in to the hotel. If the valet was present, Reardon would not have fallen victim of the call boy’s charms and leave the Mustang in a hurry. Reardon may be able to recover the damages for his lost Mustang and belongings by making a claim to the car insurance. The hotel should be able to assist in verifying that the car was lost at their grounds.
In conclusion, theft and burglary are major crimes committed against guests in hotels. Guests pay a lot of money to be taken care of, and served at these hotels. Although the above cases reveal some levels of negligence on the guests’ sides, the hotels also have a question to answer in regards to their level of security. The hotels should reinforce their security surveillance to ensure that suspicious or illegal activities in the vicinity of the hotels are detected and reported. The guests also have a role to play in ensuring that their belongings are safely kept and handed to the appropriate authority in order to accord responsibility to a single party. All in all, hotels owe a duty of care to their guests.
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