How to Get Over a Pest Infestation at Your Hotel

By Frank Meek International Technical & Training Director, Orkin, LLC | December 05, 2010

Holiday season is officially upon us, and your lobbies soon will be swarming with guests visiting family and friends or ringing in the New Year. Amidst the tinsel and holly, your hotel can make a crucial impression on these out-of-towners. A good impression is imperative – not only will these guests spend the next few days sharing stories around the holiday table, but they will take these impressions back home with them. Every nuance will be brought up later at a family reunion and then blogged, tweeted or texted. Their experience will travel and no doubt make an impression on others. In fact, nearly 40 percent of consumers make travel decisions based on the opinions of friends, colleagues or relatives.

So, if a guest’s lasting memories of your hotel are bouts with bed bugs or run-ins with rodents, it’s easy to imagine negative buzz quickly spiraling out of control – not to mention concerns about health risks and costly damage to property stemming from pest infestations. Moreover, because pests can breed and multiply quickly, a pest emergency can rapidly turn into a crisis situation that could be detrimental to your hotel’s reputation and credibility.

Fortunately, if you take the right steps, these pest incursions can be remedied and even prevented. Below are three simple steps to take if a pest is spotted at your hotel, as well as some preventive measures to help avoid a pest situation all together and ensure guests return home happy.

Step One: Confine and Assess the Situation

When you encounter a pest situation, the first step is to confine the issue. If you spot an infestation in one part of the hotel, if possible, restrict access to that area to keep the problem from spreading. If there are employees or guests in the space, move occupants to a new area until the pests are removed and the area is thoroughly cleaned.

Once you’ve identified the problem, attempt to determine how widespread it has become by looking for signs of pest presence in surrounding areas. Then, assess if there are any measures you can put into place immediately to stop the infestation from spreading – whether that means cleaning up a spill that is attracting ants in the kitchen, or moving a dumpster away from the establishment and closing the lid tightly to keep rodents away. Remember, although you should try to contain the problem immediately, do not attempt to treat the pest issue by yourself. The best course of action is always to call a licensed pest management provider who understands pest biology and behavior and can determine the correct treatment for the problem at hand that will not interrupt your guests’ stay.

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.