Towel thieves beware: Hotels are deploying washable electronic tags


Living on a freelancer’s salary means this one’s a bit theoretical for me – but if I somehow had access to the fanciest hotel towels I may well be tempted to upgrade my at-home collection.

This may however no longer be an option, as hotels are starting to incorporate RFID-chips (radio frequency identification) into their fancy linens. Until now this technology has been used for things such as tagging books to prevent theft, animals to track movements and timber to prevent illegal logging – but it seems a new purpose has now been found.

Granted, when considering the cost of replacing all those fluffy towels the hotels might be justified in taking this arguably stern approach. So far three hotels in New York, Miami and Honolulu have bought into the technology and tagged their towels, linens and bathrobes. The Honolulu hotels said it used to lose 4,000 towels a month before this initiative, and this has fallen to just 750.

Total savings: $16,000 every month. Now those are some pricy towels.