Last updated: 04:00 PM ET, Wed September 23 2015

What Do American Hotel Guests Leave Behind?

Hotel & Resort | Ryan Rudnansky | September 23, 2015

What Do American Hotel Guests Leave Behind?

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

What do travelers leave behind along their journey?

One study aimed to find out.

G6 Hospitality released the Motel 6 “Top Six Items Left Behind” survey on Tuesday, which asked more than 1,000 American hotel guests—from millennials to Baby Boomers, from Democrats to Republicans—which items they have forgotten during their travels.

According to the study (see infographic below), conducted by Kelton Global, clothing (42 percent of respondents), toiletries (42 percent), electronic devices/chargers (40 percent), jewelry/watches (15 percent) and hair styling tools (13 percent) were among the top items left.

Rounding out the top six?

Underwear. Apparently 13 percent of Americans forget their underwear when they pack their bags (talk about a mind lapse).

A select few (3 percent) have also left behind false teeth or hearing aids.

So, while there have been some studies highlighting how guests steal/borrow from hotel rooms, at least guests are giving back, too. According to the study, about 29 percent of Americans are more likely to leave something behind than take a new item with them.

Of course, there’s always the chance guests come scurrying back for their belongings. More than one-third (35 percent) of Americans have returned to a hotel to retrieve what they forgot.

Millennials appear rather scattered in this regard. They are less likely than non-millennials to look twice before leaving their room (74 percent vs. 84 percent), and they have already forgotten more items on average than older Americans (four, compared to three), despite having less time to do so. In turn, they are more likely to return for their belongings than non-millennials (38 percent vs. 33 percent). In short, millennials are all over the place, literally and figuratively. 

In terms of how far American hotel guests would travel to retrieve a forgotten item, they would travel backward more than 30 miles for a device charger, more than 95 miles for an electronic device and more than 110 miles for their money and/or wallet, according to those surveyed.

Across all parties, Americans would be willing to spend up to $90 to replace a forgotten item, with Democrats willing to spend more ($84) than Republicans ($59). Republicans are more likely to double-check their hotel room before leaving (86 percent vs. 78 percent). They are also more likely to travel further to reclaim their money and/or wallet (119 miles vs. 93 miles), ID or passport (118 miles vs. 85 miles), and childhood keepsake (86 percent vs. 50 percent).

Taking a rather sinister turn, the study also unveiled that more than one quarter (26 percent) of married Americans admitted the family member they’d most like to leave behind before embarking on their vacation is their in-law. One in 10 Americans would rather leave their own parent behind.

Infographic courtesy of G6 Hospitality



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