The most frequently stolen hotel items: This is what guests prefer to steal

Study provides new insights

On vacation, not only relaxation and the purchase of souvenirs are very popular with tourists, they also like to take items home from the hotel. However, these are by no means just trivial offences.

In September and October 2019, the Wellness Heaven portal conducted a survey on the most frequently stolen items in hotels. According to the 1,157 European hoteliers surveyed, everyday things are very popular, but more unusual stolen goods were also secretly stolen. The survey was carried out across Europe with the focus countries Germany, Austria and Italy and hoteliers from four and five star hotels were questioned.

This is what gets stolen most often

Visitors most frequently take towels and bathrobes with them from vacation. According to the hoteliers, 77.5 percent of visitors take towels and 65.1 percent bathrobes with them. This is followed at some distance by clothes hangers, which around half of holidaymakers steal. Pens and cutlery are also popular, closely followed by cosmetics, which 32.8 percent of hotel customers steal. More than 20 percent of visitors still take batteries or even works of art. Blankets, pillows and crockery are also popular stolen goods, tablets, remote controls, coffee machines or entire televisions are less popular, but these items are also stolen by more than five percent of guests.

A theft scheme can be seen in a direct comparison of four and five star hotels. The evaluation of the study shows that the more exclusive the hotel, the more special and top-class the stolen items are. Accordingly, towels, clothes hangers or bathrobes are often stolen in four-star hotels, while art, tablets, televisions or coffee machines are more likely to be confiscated in the more expensive five-star hotels.

Different nations, different tastes

The theft patterns of the stolen objects differ depending on the visitor’s country of origin. The Germans show a relatively pragmatic theft behavior, according to the survey, they prefer to take towels, bathrobes and cosmetics with them. The Swiss also think more practically, so they usually take the hair dryer with them. The Dutch think similarly and are happy to swipe lightbulbs and toilet paper. It can be a little more exclusive with the Austrians, coffee machines and crockery are very popular with them. The Italians also like it exquisite, they prefer to steal wine glasses.

The craziest hotel thefts – from stuffed animals and pianos

Isolated cases are often the exception to the rule and that also applies in this case, some hotel thefts are simply bizarre. A Berlin hotel, Wellness Heaven, reported that guests unscrewed bathroom fixtures, took a toilet seat and a rain shower head, and ultimately even surreptitiously brought a drainpipe and sink out of the hotel. In the Sauerland, thieves moped the stereo system in the wellness area and in England a guest took off his room number and fled with it. Hotel guests from France and Italy shot the bird in 2019: In France, for example, a customer tried to steal a stuffed wild boar head, but was caught. And in Italy, three men actually managed to unobtrusively carry an entire piano out of the room – it was never seen again.

Editorial office

Image sources: Martin Valigursky /