Tell Pests the Pool Is Closed

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

Summertime and the living is easy by the pool - unless guests are forced to swat pests while they tan. As warm weather brings mosquitoes, flies and stinging pests out in numbers, hoteliers need to prepare themselves to fight back and make sure their guests' relaxing poolside experiences aren't ruined by buzzing insects.

Take a Bite Out of Mosquitoes - Not Out of Hotel Guests

Known for their itchy bites, mosquitoes are one of the most familiar summer pests and probably the pest that receives the most attention. Ever since 1999, when West Nile virus first appeared in North America, transmitters of this virus have been kept under close watch - and for good reason. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 3,000 documented human cases of West Nile in the United States in 2005, more than 100 of which resulted in death.

Even though there are other methods of transmitting the virus, scientists believe that mosquitoes that feed on infected birds and then bite humans are the most common agents. Most people who contract West Nile never show any symptoms, but severe cases can result in flu-like symptoms, meningitis or encephalitis.

Mosquitoes will frequent a hotel pool for two reasons - breeding grounds are found close by and it's a buffet (of hotel guests). Mosquitoes can breed in any size of standing water, even as small as a thimble. While a swimming pool usually will not become host to mosquitoes because the water does not remain stagnant for long, any water that collects around the deck could become a breeding spot.

The best way to stop mosquitoes from becoming a problem is to prevent them from breeding. Hotel staffs should sweep away all water around the pool every evening and monitor flowerpots and gutters for standing water. After a female mosquito lays her eggs, it only takes a few days for them to hatch.

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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.