New Washable RFID Chips Track Hotel Towels and Bathrobes

Even the ones that accidentally end up in your bag

Radio frequency identification (RFID) tech has been employed in some pretty noble causes, like tracking timber to curb illegal logging and tagging animals for study and to better manage their habitats. And now that RFID has criminal-types like poachers and illegal loggers looking over their shoulders, it’s now being deployed against a far more prevalent kind of criminal: you. Three hotels in Honolulu, Miami, and NYC have employed a new kind of washable RFID tag to keep you from stealing their towels, linens, and plush terrycloth bathrobes. It almost takes the fun out of travel.

Linen Technology Tracking saw a problem and devised a novel technological solution. Their washable RFIDs don’t just reduce theft, they say, but also help them keep track of their linens in real time so they know when they need to order more.

But let’s face it, the main issue here is theft. The Honolulu hotel (the hotels have asked to remain anonymous, just to keep you guessing) says it was taking a bath to the tune of 4,000 pool towels per month, a number that it has reduced to just 750 (a savings of $16,000 per month). And that’s just at the pool.

As far as we know the rolls of toilet paper on the unattended maid service cart are still fair game.