The Health Inspector's Visit

By Frank Meek International Technical & Training Director, Orkin, LLC | May 19, 2010

While "walking" guests to another establishment may be a common practice during a busy season, hoteliers should ensure that they're walking guests due to overbooking - not because a regulator or inspector has forced a room closure as the result of a pest infestation.

Though pest control is by no means the only area that regulatory inspectors will review, it is an important one. Inspectors will review pest control for the same reasons that hoteliers employ proactive pest management programs - pests can threaten public health, signify greater problems like poor sanitation and cause structural damage. Not to mention that a serious pest problem can lead to claims, additional expense or even a lawsuit from angry customers or negative media coverage.

It should come as no surprise, then, that in a recent poll Orkin conducted among hotel professionals, the respondents ranked pest control as their third most important housekeeping concern behind linen and bathroom cleanliness.

So where does pest control fit into an inspection? Inspectors will be reviewing the entire establishment to make sure pests aren't a problem, but will pay particular attention to foodservice areas.

Foodservice Inspection

Inspectors are concerned with all foodservice operations because they play such a vital role in the health and safety of guests. Richard Raymond, the undersecretary of the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, estimates that nearly 14 people die from foodborne illness every day in the United States. Hoteliers do not want the food served at their restaurants to be the cause.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.