Think Twice Before Swiping That Hotel Towel

Ever taken home a hotel towel by “accident”? Thanks to RFID tracking technology, you might want to reconsider doing it again.

A hotel in Manhattan, Honolulu and Miami are keeping track of all linens -- including towels, robes and bed sheets -- by using a washable, sewn-in RFID tag patented by aptly named Linen Technology Tracking.

William Serbin, Linen Technology Tracking president, said the economy is one of the main catalysts for the tracking system.  With cotton prices on the rise, the cost of a towel has almost doubled, forcing hotels to keep a more watchful eye on the linens.

Beyond keeping track of sticky-fingered guests, the chips can also monitor the linen supply in real time, telling the hotel when more stock needs to be ordered.

And apparently the technology has rapidly paid off. Since instituting the tracking chips last summer, the hotel in Honolulu has saved more than $16,000 per month as thefts of pool towels dropped from 4,000 to 750 a month.

Want to know exactly what three hotels are using the RFID chips? You’re out of luck -- Serbin says the properties want to remain nameless. So watch out.

Posted by Brent Dirks on Apr 20, 2011

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