Theiving hotel guests busted with new linen microchip tracking device

Ruth Doherty

Next time you fancy slipping that hotel bathrobe or towel into your suitcase, you'd better think twice!

A US company has invented a washable microchip to track frequently 'souvenired' items like robes, towels and bed linens, costing the hotel industry millions each year.

The radio-frequency identification chips, designed by Linen Technology Tracking, are already being used by three hotels in New York, Miami and Honolulu and according to the company have already successfully helped to bust light-fingered 'souvenir' thieves.

The Honolulu hotel, which introduced the technology last year, has reduced theft of its pool towels from 4000 a month to just 750 - a saving of more than $15,200 a month.

Linen Technology Tracking Executive Vice President William Serbin told CNN: 'After being in the industry for many years, I understand the challenges hotels face in monitoring linen.

'Any given month, they can lose 5 to 20 per cent of towels, sheets and robes. That gets expensive with the rising cost of cotton.'

Mr Serbin said the inspiration for the device came from toll road technology and the key challenge was making the chip waterproof. The device is able to last for more than 300 wash cycles.

He added that the device also helps hotels manage stock rooms and supplies more effectively.

According to, an Accor Hotels' Novotel survey reveals women are consistently more likely to pilfer than men.

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