What types of commercial properties are most susceptible to bed bug infestations? The list features many locations that people visit on a regular basis including doctor’s offices, schools, and office buildings. Topping the list, however, of at-risk commercial properties are hotels, according to research compiled by the National Pest Management Association.
Because of the constant coming and going of guests and employees hotels are particularly susceptible to bed bug infestations. And even with occupancy rates being lower due to the pandemic, bed bugs are still an issue for hoteliers since they can survive up to four months without eating.
Economic Impact of Bed Bugs in Hotels
The economic impact of bed bugs in a hotel can be significant. A University of Kentucky revealed that on average a single report of a bed bug lowers the value of a room by $38 for business travelers and $23 for leisure travelers, respectively. The study also showed that the monetary value for travelers’ concerns about bed bugs make it one of the most important considerations when selecting or grading a hotel.
Additional research reported in Hotel Business magazine revealed the cost to hotels from a single bed bug infestation is north of $6,000 per incident. This includes the cost for pest control services, the loss of room revenue during the inspection and treatment process, guest compensation and discarding of soft goods.
This should make hotel general managers, housekeeping and maintenance directors sit up and take notice as they work to welcome back leisure and highly sought business travelers who traditionally are willing to pay a premium price.
Guest Reaction to Bed Bugs
When asked what they would do if they read an online review of a property that mentioned bed bugs, participants in the University of Kentucky study responded they would book a room elsewhere.
What happens if a guest finds evidence of bed bugs in their room after checking in? The three most frequent guest actions include:
- Switching rooms and asking for additional compensation (room upgrade, discounted rate, food, and beverage credit, etc.).
- Leaving the hotel for another property.
- Posting to social media about their experience.
While the first two actions represent a direct loss of revenue to the property, the third action represents a significant threat to the property’s brand which also carries a financial penalty. The swift current of social media, especially when it includes video – makes a negative post – whether accurate or not – a real concern for hoteliers.
How to Protect Your Hotel Against Bed Bugs
Protecting your property from bed bugs is best accomplished through a preventive strategy. Rottler Pest Solutions deploys both human and canine inspectors to search for and identify bed bug hiding locations.
Canines shine brightly in detecting light and moderate bed bug infestations and can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time allowing inspectors to maximize their schedules. A canine team – dog and handler – can cover 200 room hotels in a far more efficient manner than a human inspector alone.
Bed bug detection canine teams are particularly useful in the following circumstances:
- When bed bugs are suspected but no live bugs or viable eggs are found through visual inspection.
- For property-wide comprehensive inspections to locate all infested rooms.
- In non-sleeping room locations such as offices, meeting rooms, restaurants, employee break and locker rooms, and other unconventional areas.
- As an additional method to confirm that bed bugs are eliminated.
Education is Key. Educating hotel staff is key to uncovering an infestation before your guests do. Addressing a bed bug incident soon after it is discovered will keep your costs down and your hotel’s reputation protected.
- Commit to A Prevention Program. Stop being reactive and be proactive by putting preventive measures in place, including monitoring and regular inspections. A preventive approach keeps treatment costs down; protects your reputation, provides a history of action on your part (important in reducing the risk of a bed bug lawsuit) and helps maintain a bed bug-free property.
- Create An Action Plan. Preparing your staff to handle a bed bug complaint could be one of the most important steps you take when it comes to bed bugs. If handled correctly, a bed bug incident can be a non-event; handled incorrectly it could lead to a major hit to your brand and your bottom line.
- Cost Savings. Removing a bed bug infestation can be costly and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Bed bug treatments often include not only the infested room but those adjoining rooms on either side and above and below. A preventive approach that includes staff education, monitoring and inspections can lower that cost in the long run.
The Rottler Commercial Advantage
If your business is looking for a pest management partner that goes the extra mile to design and deliver comprehensive bed bug prevention and management programs, call 314-426-6100 or email Rottler Pest Solutions.