Weird Hotel “Tricks”

Earlier this week I attended a fascinating exhibition…

It was full of CNC machines, water-jet cutters, lathes, robots and …well pretty much everything that can help in the making of awesome titanium products.

The show was in Auckland (New Zealand of course) and was called EMEX 2016 (I think it stands for Engineering, Machinery and Electronics Exhibition).

I put together and short video of my experience and highlight some of the stuff that was there:


Oh, and here’s something weird for you…

The hotel I stayed in when I was up in Auckland had this sign in the bathroom:

Here's the sign that was in my hotel bathroom (you'll find similar signs in other hotels)

Here’s the sign that was in my hotel bathroom (you’ll find similar signs in other hotels)


I’m sure you’ve seen a sign similar to this before (most hotels seem to have them now).

I like this sign because of the “psychological stuff” going on. The sign appeals to your ethics and in doing your bit to help our planet …which, possibly, you are.

But the real purpose behind the sign is to help save the hotel money. I mean, the hotel could say, “Hey, it’s cheaper if we don’t wash your towels every day… want to help us save some money?”

Yet both you and I know it just doesn’t come across as well (especially when you discover the mini-bar prices! :-P).

So, yeah, it’s kind of a win:win…

…the hotel lowers it’s running costs (and, possibly, the costs to stay there is cheaper)

you get to feel good about “saving the environment”

The only real downside is that the sign is not accurate. I’m sure there is a creative way of getting people to use less towels …without having to play the “save our environment” card.

What do you think? ūüôā

  • TLOS says:

    Experience with several hotels — EU, US, ME, wherever — show that towels get changed even if you leave them on the rail.

    • Srinivas says:

      This is pretty much true of any hotel I’ve stayed in as well.

      Here’s my theory of why it happens:
      Suppose you didn’t want to reuse a towel and still left it on the rail (could happen) and head out. You come back and see there’s no fresh towels. You call up the manager, who then chews out the housekeeping staff.
      What do you think the housekeeping guys will do?
      Next time onwards they’ll change the towels whether the towels were in the sink, shower, rail, bed, floor – wherever they find them.
      What do the housekeeping staff value more? Their jobs or the environment?

    • Dave says:

      Completely agree.

      I have totally given up on those signs as they have no connection to what actually happens. Occasionally I do point out the problem to management.

      On the other hand, there was a hotel in Malaysia which I stayed in for about 6 weeks. The maids were trained to remove used soap and towels every day, and always did even when they did not have replacements. After the first incident of this I took to hiding any unused items in case they didn’t leave anything. I suspect other guests did the same, which is probably why the maids didn’t have enough to go around.

  • Grant Wray says:

    I think that having to hanging from the towel rail all day until you’ve seen the maid is a pretty poor way of communicating that you don’t need a fresh towel.

  • Maurizia says:

    Experienced me too in many hotels, and I fully share your view!

  • Phil says:

    I frequently use hotels, especially during the warmer months. Some of them have signs saying that you must request fresh sheets. I always request new sheets because if I’m paying a wad of cash that’s 1/2 of my mortgage payment, I’m getting sheets everyday damn it! I always tip the housekeeping staff though

  • Fernando says:

    I read somewhere that to be awarded a 3 star rating of more, the hotel has to have environmental preserving practices (among other stuff). So despite changing our not your towels whether they are on the rack or on the floor, they must have that sign in every room to keep their stars.

    • Surely not. That would be an insane way for “the star people” to give hotels stars. They could put the signs up …but still change all the towels every day anyway.

      Actually, that seems to make sense with the comments above. Others saying that the towels are getting changed regardless. Maybe it’s not a “money saving” thing …but a “star getting” thing. ūüėģ

  • mechman says:

    I first saw signs like this (as well as signs in restaurants saying you have to ask for water) growing up in a drought stricken town in the western US.

    That case made perfect sense to me, considering remaining water levels were measured in single digit days at certain points.

    Living in the Northeastern US now – I’m sometimes amazed/appalled at the water waste that goes on.

  • Kirill says:

    Congrats, Magnus, your vlog becomes better and better! Can you tell me what track plays on a background of the video you made?

    • Thank you Kirill. This feedback really does help me – thank you!

      I get my music from (this way I know I can use it without the video getting removed or such).
      The track is called “Adrenaline Full” – but that’s all the information I know about it from the AudioBlocks site.

  • Robert Ferguson says:


    As far as I can see, you have two choices, fresh towels or not so fresh towels. You can either let a sign on the wall dictate your choice, or you can exercise your freedom to choose. Whichever you choose will be okay. Life goes on. Have a nice millennium. Don’t worry, be happy.

  • Andrew says:

    Experienced this on a business trip to Seattle last year.
    Don’t mind the concept in all honesty.
    Personally I don’t stink so bad that I need to have my sheets and towels changed every day.
    The good thing about the place in Seattle was they gave you a $5 credit for every day you chose not to wash your sheets, so I didn’t feel like it was such a swindle.

  • James says:

    I recently stayed at a hotel in Yokohama, Japan where, instead of a sign that said to leave towel up if you didn’t want it replaced, they had a form where you can check off the items that you did not want replaced, including various types of towels (hand towels, bath towels, etc.). And you had to print your name on the form along with your room number, which essentially was the same as if you had signed the form since it was in your own unique handwriting, except that your name was clearly legible. If you checked off at least 3 items, they left a free bottle of water, which was a nice gesture. This method pretty much eliminated guesswork by the hotel staff regarding your intentions for the replacement of towels and other toiletry items.

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