When pilfered hotel towels become tracking devices
If you are in the habit of checking out of your room with a hotel towel or two stealthily tucked into your luggage, you may have to, well, throw in the towel.
It turns out that three unidentified hotels in Manhattan, Miami and Honolulu have sewn water-proof RFID chips into their towels, bathrobes and sheets to track the kleptomaniacs among their guests, The New York Times In Transit blog reports.
Apparently these hoteliers just can’t cotton to these thefts anymore.
Here’s how the supplier of the chips, Linen Technology Tracking, describes its technology:
The company has developed a proprietary patented solution that integrates passive UHF Radio Frequency Identification with high performance SMARTtags and antennas which meet the new standard for sensitivity for read performance (Gen 2). Improved asset visibility, combined with a powerful reporting and analytics capability, provides hotel management with the knowledge necessary to identify asset loss, manage inventory life cycles and maintain up to date inventory counts.
There you have it: Not only do the chips track towels and sheets on the run, but there are also reporting and analytical tools, as well.
Almost sounds like a travel management solution.
Of course, it turns out that hotels lose a lot of money on stolen linens and rising cotton prices don’t help, either.
The RFID SMARTtags also facilitate an inventory control system, enabling hotelier to track the towels not only in hotel rooms, but also in the laundry and poolside.
The Honolulu hotel using the tracking technology has managed to reduce its linen losses by more than $16,000 per month, according to In Transit.
Presumably the hotel can charge your credit card for stolen towels if they find you’ve absconded with their linens.
Either that, or the police may wrap up the investigation by knocking on your door with a towel warrant.
Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.