60% of Britons who steal from hotels ‘do not consider it stealing’

More than 60% of Britons that steal from hotels do so because they do not consider it stealing, or they believe hotels expect them to take things, according to a survey.

The poll of 1,000 people by flight booking company Just The Flight, aimed to uncover attitudes towards stealing from hotels and claims it could provide guidance for hoteliers wishing to reduce expenses caused by “light-fingered guests”.

In a statement, the website said: “As millions of Britons return from their holidays this summer, many will bring back more than just a tan, with 43% of people admitting to stealing from hotels. But what makes some people decide to pack a hotel towel or two in their suitcase?”

The survey found guests that stole most frequently did so because they “didn’t consider it stealing” – 3 in 5 people believed it was expected of them by hotels. A further 12% stole because they did not believe the hotel offered value for money, while 15% admitted they took items because they did not think they would be caught.

Among the reasons given by guests who did not steal, 35% said there was nothing they wanted, and 7% were afraid of getting caught. While 16% said they didn’t steal because it set a bad example to children, those living in households with children were just as likely as those without children to take things from hotels.

In demographic terms, while men were only slightly more likely than women to steal things from hotels (45% and 43% respectively), the survey found younger travellers were significantly more likely to treat themselves to a hotel souvenir. Only 37% of people aged 55 and over took from hotels, compared with 45% for 35-54 year-olds, and 47% for 18-34 year-olds.

Commenting on the results of the study, Mark Byart, director of internet for Just The flight, said: “The survey shows Britons aren’t always sure about what they can and can’t take. Some hotels are happy for you to take mementos home, but others run on very tight margins and would rather not see extra toiletries going missing. Some hotels already have price lists for in-room items such as dressing gowns and towels – being upfront with guests can only improve their hotel experience.”

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