When travelling, it is best to assume that anyone can be a hostile. When you pull up to the hotel, ensure all of your luggage is removed from the taxi or bus. Stay with your luggage until it is brought into the hotel lobby. Even in the lobby, always keep an eye out for your luggage. Remember that thieves are always looking for distractions and a busy lobby may be the perfect opportunity to snatch your items (or stuff something) in your bag.
If the hotel is still using the old style metal keys (not electronic cards), pay particular attention about how they treat departing customers. Are they immediately recovering the keys and storing them behind the counter or leaving them on the counter for later processing? Unattended keys can easily be copied and the thief can easily overhear the room number during checkout. This is not really an issue in most North American of major European cities but is a problem in certain Asian, Middle East and African hotels.
Understand that the key to safety is minimizing the information a thief can get about you. When checking in, ask the agent not to openly announce your room number but rather to just write it on the checking card.
Reiterate to the front desk that they should never give out your name or room number. If anyone asks for you, they should call you before giving any of your info out.
The minute you check in, take 2 business cards. Keep one by the phone and the other in your wallet. The one next to the phone may be handy during an emergency if you call emergency services (for the address). The one in your wallet may be used when attempting to come back to your hotel via taxi (if the driver doesn’t know your hotel by name, if there are multiple hotels with the same name or if they don’t speak English). In some countries, I have called the hotel and asked the front desk agent to explain to the cab driver I want to be taken to the hotel.
If you are a single woman travelling, you may want to check using Mr and Mrs as a safety measure.
Remember never to register your title (MBA, CFA, etc) or your company name. The name of the game is anonymity. You don’t want to be kidnapped because you work for a foreign company that may pay ransom.
… to be continued