It may be OK for guests to take those little bars of soap and bottles of shampoo. But hotels have to draw the line on most other items, everything from robes to remote controls to lamps and clocks and bed linen, as they try to cut down on losses in an era of ever-rising insurance costs.

Loss prevention has always been a problem for the hotel industry. But since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and recent natural disasters, hotels have been forced to pay more for insurance. Couple that with losses from less travel in the wake of Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina, and hotels have had no choice but to become even more diligent in curbing losses from theft.

"It's an enormous issue for hotels," said Chris Rogers, a risk control expert for insurance broker giant Aon Corp's Entertainment Practices Group.

Along with energy and labor costs, hotels have seen big spikes in the cost of insurance in recent years, said Robert Mandelbaum, director of research for Atlanta-based PKF Consulting's Hospitality Research.

Insurance premiums, which protect hotels from liability and loss, have been the fastest growing expense for hotels in the United States, having doubled since 1999, said Mandelbaum.

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