The Death of the “Do Not Disturb” Door Hanger

By Deane Barker on May 19, 2010

So, I’m at the Gilbane conference, and I’m staying down the street at The Intercontinental.  It’s a nice hotel (made even nicer because I got it for $182/night on Hotwire…)

Yesterday, I didn’t have to be at a workshop until 1 p.m.,so I was working in my room for the morning.  I didn’t want housekeeping to come in, so I went looking for a “Do Not Disturb” hanger for the door.  I couldn’t find one.

Someone from housekeeping was down the hall, so I went down and asked her for a door hanger.  They didn’t have them, I was told.  They’ve been replaced with a button on the inside of the room that let’s you pick “Do Not Disturb” or “Make Up Room.”  This button powers a little light system next to the door which displays a green or red light so housekeeping knows if you want service.

So, I hit the “Do Not Disturb” button, and a little red light came on outside my door.  I thought this was somewhat cool, though perhaps a little unnecessary.  I thought that a door hanger would have worked just fine.

This morning, I forgot to turn off the light.  I came back from my conference, and my room had not been serviced.  I kicked myself a little, and before I left for dinner, I pressed the button that said “Make Up Room.”  I confirmed the light outside my room changed to green so my room would get cleaned in the morning, and I left.

When I returned from dinner an hour later, my room was clean.  Then I realized – it’s not just a  little notification light for the morning cleaning staff.  When I pressed “Make Up Room” as I left for dinner, housekeeping was notified in real-time, and they sent someone up (at 6:00 p.m., no less) to clean my room while I was out.

Score one for technology.  Screw the door hanger.



  1. Wow, and this is geekier than the iPod because it doesn’t make up your room. wink

    seriously though, when I was a kid and used to toy around hotel gadgets (locking random objects in the safe for valuables), I was just as fascinated that the DND sign turns off the doorbell. I wouldn’t know if they are notified to clean your room or if they just regularly survey each floor. You could be right — after all, they can disable your room key from the front desk…

  2. I was thinking the same thing when I went to Chicago last week. I went to my room and noticed the door hanger was about half as long as usual. But then I saw something unusual next to the lock on the door handle. It had a switch you could turn to “Do Not Disturb.”

    The problem was that, for some reason, Housekeeping didn’t quite get the hint. Each morning we were around for a while before leaving, and they’d knock on the door. One morning it was like 6am (the day we were checking out). It would have been nice had they actually paid attention to whatever it is that the “Do Not Disturb” thing actually does. I guess I still don’t know its’ purpose.

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