How Long Do Hotels Keep Security Footage? A Comprehensive Guide

Ensuring the safety and security of guests is a top priority for hotels.

One of the ways they do this is by installing security cameras throughout the property.

But have you ever wondered how long hotels keep security footage?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Hotels typically keep security footage for 30 to 90 days.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how long hotels keep security footage and why it’s important.

We’ll also discuss some of the factors that can impact how long hotels keep security footage and what guests should know about their rights to access this footage.

Why Do Hotels Keep Security Footage?

Hotels are expected to provide a safe and secure environment for their guests. One way they achieve this is by installing surveillance cameras throughout their property. But why exactly do hotels keep security footage?

Ensuring Guest Safety and Security

The primary reason hotels keep security footage is to ensure the safety and security of their guests. Surveillance cameras can help prevent crimes from occurring, and in the event of an incident, footage can be used to identify suspects and provide evidence for investigations.

Hotels have a responsibility to their guests to take reasonable measures to keep them safe. Security cameras are a key part of this, as they can deter criminal activity and provide valuable information if an incident does occur.

Preventing Crime

By keeping security footage, hotels can also help prevent crime from happening in the first place. The knowledge that they are being monitored can deter potential criminals from acting out, and footage can be used to identify and apprehend those who do commit crimes on hotel property.

Hotels are often targets for crime, as they are places where large numbers of people congregate and often have valuable possessions with them. By keeping security footage, hotels can help protect their guests and their property.

Investigating Incidents

In the event that a crime or other incident does occur on hotel property, security footage can be used to help investigate and resolve the situation. Footage can provide important information about what happened, who was involved, and how the incident unfolded.

Having access to security footage can also help hotel staff identify potential safety risks or areas where security measures may need to be improved. By reviewing footage of past incidents, hotels can learn from their experiences and take steps to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

It’s important to note that hotels are required to follow certain regulations when it comes to keeping security footage. For example, in the United States, hotels are required to comply with the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act (VPPA), which sets guidelines for the use and storage of surveillance footage. Additionally, hotels must comply with any local laws or regulations regarding surveillance cameras and the use of footage.

How Long Do Hotels Keep Security Footage?

If you’ve ever stayed in a hotel, you may have wondered how long they keep the security footage. In this guide, we’ll go over the typical retention periods and factors that can impact the length of time hotels hold onto security footage.

Typical Retention Periods

The length of time hotels keep security footage varies, but most hotels retain footage for about 30 days. This is the industry standard and is also the maximum amount of time required by law in many jurisdictions.

However, some hotels may keep footage for longer periods of time, especially if they have a history of security incidents or if they have been involved in a legal dispute.

It’s important to note that retention periods can vary depending on the type of footage. For example, footage of public areas like lobbies and hallways may be kept for a shorter period of time than footage of restricted areas like guest rooms and employee-only areas.

Factors That Can Impact Retention Periods

There are several factors that can impact how long hotels keep security footage:

  • Local laws and regulations: As mentioned, many jurisdictions have laws that require hotels to retain security footage for a certain period of time. Hotels may choose to keep footage for longer than the minimum required by law to protect themselves from legal liability.
  • Hotel policies: Hotels may have their own policies regarding security footage retention periods. These policies may be influenced by factors such as the hotel’s risk management strategy and past security incidents.
  • Storage capacity: The amount of storage space a hotel has for security footage can impact how long they can keep footage. If a hotel has limited storage space, they may need to delete footage sooner to make room for new footage.
  • Cost: Storing security footage can be expensive, especially if a hotel has a large property with many cameras. Some hotels may choose to delete footage sooner to save on storage costs.

Can Guests Access Security Footage?

It is not common for hotels to grant access to security footage to their guests. The reason for this is that security footage is typically used for internal purposes, such as investigating incidents or accidents that occur on hotel property. However, there are certain situations where guests may be able to access the footage.

Guest Rights to Access Footage

Guests have the right to request access to security footage if they believe they have been the victim of a crime or if they have been injured on hotel property. In these situations, the hotel may be required by law to provide the footage to the guest or to law enforcement officials.

It is important to note that guests do not have an automatic right to access security footage. Hotels may have policies in place that limit or prohibit guest access to the footage. Additionally, hotels may require a court order or subpoena before releasing the footage to a guest.

How to Request Access

If a guest wants to request access to security footage, they should contact the hotel’s security department or management team. The guest will likely need to provide a reason for their request and may be required to fill out a formal request form.

The hotel may also require the guest to provide identification and sign a waiver before releasing the footage. This is to protect the privacy of other guests who may be captured in the footage.

Exceptions to Access Rights

There are certain situations where hotels may be prohibited from releasing security footage to guests. For example, if the footage contains information that could compromise an ongoing investigation or legal proceeding, the hotel may be required to withhold the footage.

Hotels may also be prohibited from releasing footage if it contains sensitive or confidential information, such as financial transactions or personal conversations.

If a guest is unable to access security footage through the hotel, they may be able to obtain it through legal channels, such as a subpoena or court order.

What Happens to Security Footage After the Retention Period?

Security footage is an important tool for hotels to ensure the safety and security of their guests and employees. However, it is not practical to keep footage for an indefinite period of time. Most hotels have a retention period of 30-90 days, after which the footage is typically deleted or overwritten. But what happens to the footage after the retention period? Let’s take a closer look.

Deletion and Overwriting

Once the retention period is over, most hotels will delete or overwrite the footage. This is to prevent the storage system from becoming overcrowded and to ensure that the footage is not used for unintended purposes. Overwriting means that the new footage will replace the old footage in a continuous loop, allowing for the use of the same storage space without additional cost. However, it is important to note that once footage is deleted or overwritten, it is gone forever and cannot be retrieved.

Storage and Archival

Some hotels may choose to store and archive footage beyond the retention period. This is typically done for legal or regulatory purposes, or if the footage contains evidence of a crime. Archived footage is stored in a separate location and is typically more expensive to maintain. The retention period for archived footage can range from several months to several years.

It is important to note that archived footage is not always readily accessible. Retrieving archived footage can be a time-consuming process that requires a request to the hotel’s security team or an outside vendor. Additionally, archived footage may not be admissible in court if it does not meet certain criteria, such as being properly labeled and stored.


In conclusion, hotels typically keep security footage for 30 to 90 days.

This is done to ensure guest safety and security, prevent crime, and investigate incidents.

While guests have the right to access this footage under certain circumstances, there are some exceptions to these rights.

After the retention period, security footage may be deleted and overwritten or stored for archival purposes.

By understanding how long hotels keep security footage and the rights of guests to access it, travelers can rest assured that their safety and security is being taken seriously.

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