Perhaps the strangest lost and found item a hotel ever encountered was a 4 year old boy left behind by his parents earlier this year in a Travelodge hotel in Scotland. The story had a quick and happy ending with the parents quickly realized their mistake and returned to find the boy playing with toys in the hotel room. But the frequency of items left behind by hotel guests has been increasing continually with guests forgetting passports, valuables, currency and even an assortment of deadly weapons. While baggage companies such as Tumi have their own tracking methods for lost luggage, the forgetfulness of travelers has spawned businesses such as Boomerangit and Trackitback that promise to track the items and restore them to their rightful owner subject to their pre-registering the items. For hotels with a well oiled lost and found program, the memory lapses of guests is an excellent opportunity to build loyalty as in many cases the items are priceless to the guest and its restoration brings unbridled loyalty from the customer.
A coordinated and prompt effort that responds to guests’ requests for items involves many departments from front office to, most critically, house-keeping. Housekeeping staff are at the front lines of a lost and found policy and a thorough inspection of rooms, particularly involving the bed and drawers, not only ensures a clean room but also the retrieval of items forgotten by guests. As an effective public relations tool Lost and Found is simply peerless.