A do not disturb sign or door hanger is a tool designed to communicate privacy expectations. These signs are used to deter visitors from entering or knocking on a door for as long as the sign is in place.
While do not disturb door hangers are usually used by hotels to allow their guests utmost privacy, their use is not restricted to just the hospitality industry. Do not disturb door hang tags and signs can also be used in offices, schools, hospitals, and other such places when privacy is required to carry out a task, conduct a meeting, and so on. Even homeowners can use these signs when they do not wish to entertain visitors.
Do not disturb signs are a step ahead of locking doors. Where locking a door prevents people from entering unless allowed to, do not disturb signs convey that a room occupant wishes to be left alone and does not want anyone to knock on the door.
Given that do not disturb hangers are a way to express the expectation of privacy, which any guest is entitled to, these are legitimate signage devices that do a good job of deterring unwanted visitors in most cases. However, their use and the conditions surrounding such usage may depend on the hotel policies. The enforceability of these devices can vary across circumstances, establishments, and jurisdictions. Read our interesting blog here that throws more light on the legality of do not disturb hangers.
While hotel staff respect their guests’ do not disturb requests in most cases, whether and when they may ignore the request largely depends on the hotel policies. A do not disturb sign on a door may not always prevent hotel management and staff from entering a room because of a safety issue, a routine activity, an emergency, and other such circumstances.