Next time you think about filching a hotel towel, raising the volume of your free HBO to teeth-rattling levels at 3 a.m., verbally abusing the front desk clerk for some perceived misdeed, or generally making yourself a nuisance at your hotel, you might want to think again. A new members-only database being marketed to hotels, booking agencies, and B&B's in the United Kingdom will collect the names of rude and rowdy guests and make them available to other hoteliers--who may then decide not to rent a room to Mr. or Ms. Nasty. Guestscan ("Protecting You From Unwelcome Guests"), which launched on September 15, states its case pretty clearly on its website why British innkeepers have cause to be worried. Look at some of these figures:
* Three million Britons damaged property when visiting UK hotels.
* UK guests checked out with bathrobes worth more than $7.5 million.
* 336,000 beds have been broken. [Editors Note: Those darn honeymooners!]
* Over 300,000 TV sets ruined.
In its FAQ, Guestscan encourages owners "to inform the miscreants that they will be reported" and added to the database. Think of it as a sort of Tripadvisor in reverse. But what about lazy, clumsy, forgetful people like me who continually misplace the guest room's TV remote control, press 0 to request a wake-up call rather than dialing the proper extension, and stay longer than the recommended time limit in the hotel Jacuzzi? Should we be concerned? Do we fall under the definition of "miscreants"? Guestscan director Neil Campbell clarified their position in an email to me: "We have repeated that we, and our members, know that accidents happen and those people that have an accident will not appear on our site, we will not record trivial incidents. Anyone appearing on our database will be informed either by the accommodation owner, when appropriate, or by us."
I kind of like this idea. I know a lot of hotel general managers, and the stories they tell about thieving, destructive, and noisy guests makes me glad that they have some advance protection against the roving hordes of British miscreants. But then, I'm a polite guest who generally behaves himself and doesn't make outrageous demands. I do, however, fear for the future of my Do Not Disturb sign collection.
Smart Traveler Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure.