|By Donna De Marco, The Washington Times|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
July 23, 2004 - Vacationers tend to relax the rules they follow at home when staying at a hotel.
Most Americans who have stayed in a hotel for leisure do things that they don't normally do at home: such as eating in bed, using too many towels and leaving the TV on all day, according to a survey by Orbitz, an online travel company.
"People vacationing in a hotel want to escape from everyday responsibilities whether they are staying in a five-star hotel or a motor inn," said John Samuel, Orbitz executive vice president for consumer travel.
And hotel officials expect guests to act differently.
"People like to be pampered," said Joel Brous, general manager of the 112-room Flamingo Motel in Ocean City. "They don't have to take out the trash or make the bed. They like that."
In a vacation state of mind, many hotel guests don't even realize they are doing things differently.
"We use all of the towels," said Luis Gaud of Atlantic City, N.J. "Why? I have no idea."
He isn't alone. About a quarter of American adults use more towels than necessary, according to the survey.
Mr. Gaud, who was traveling this week with his family to Ocean City, Annapolis, Washington and Baltimore, concedes he turns on the television as soon as he enters the room and keeps it and the lights on when he leaves.
"I just left the hotel room and I don't remember turning [the television] off," he said with a laugh.
Daisy Oliver, of Owings Mills, Md., said she leaves the lights and television on so she doesn't come back to a dark room. But when it's time to check out of the hotel, she makes sure everything is off.
"I revert back to my ways because I'm going home," she said.
She also says she is a "fanatic for housekeeping." Each day, she gathers all the used towels and puts them in a pile for the housekeeper. Her husband leaves them scattered around the room.
"Same as he does at home," she said.
But for some, old habits die hard.
"We find ourselves actually cleaning and making the bed until the middle of the week," said Barbara Postma, of Burlington, Vt. "At home I'm so schedule-oriented, so it takes me a few days to adjust."
Crystal Swaney of Lexington, N.C., doesn't pick up after herself while staying in a hotel.
"I usually leave trash everywhere," she said. "I'm paying high prices, so they are going to clean it up."
Ms. Swaney, staying at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore this week, said she particularly likes the hotel's brand of hand and body lotions by Bath & Body Works and has asked for more every day.
More than 60 percent of American adults take the hotel toiletries, according to the Orbitz survey.
The survey, conducted in April, covers a sample of 2,745 U.S. adults, of whom 2,494 have stayed in a hotel for a leisure trip.
Many hotels have seen it all -- the good and the bad.
Guests at the Hatteras Marlin Motel in Hatteras Village, N.C., have taken blankets, bedspreads and even sofas outside the rooms to bask in the sun. They leave the windows open with the air conditioner on, keep the refrigerator door open or leave the television on when they aren't there.
"Sometimes it surprises me," said Ame Gray, assistant manager at the Hatteras Marlin Motel. "People think this place is on another planet and they can do anything they want."
Plenty of guests eat in bed, too, leaving the remnants of pizza on the sheets.
"I'm sure they do not put pizza on their bed at home," Ms. Gray said.
About 19 percent of American adults say they eat in bed while in a hotel.
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