Mean, Green Pest Control

By Frank Meek International Technical & Training Director, Orkin, LLC | October 28, 2008

With hybrid cars, energy-saving appliances and recycled products on the rise, the environmentally friendly movement has never been more popular. What many people don't know is that the pest control industry, for several years, has been making its own move toward "greener" alternatives to traditional techniques.

But what does this mean for your hotel? It means better pest control results with less risk. Newer techniques and technologies are much more tailored to the biology and behavior of each target pest than treatments in the past. Consequently, they are more effective, virtually unnoticeable to your guests and much less likely to pose health risks. The days of spraying baseboards with pesticides and often malodorous treatments are over.

To maximize the effectiveness of today's environmentally friendly pest control tools and techniques, they must be part of a broader Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. IPM programs recognize that pest management is not about regular treatments to create a chemical "barrier" to infestation. Rather, IPM is an ongoing process of sanitation, housekeeping, facility maintenance and constant monitoring for pest presence - prior to the application of any pest control treatment.

Before discussing these techniques, it is important to emphasize that accurate pest identification is vital to your success. By properly identifying the specific pest in question, your pest management professional can understand that pest's behaviors, as well as the control methods that will best prevent and eliminate an infestation. After all, knowledge is power.

Work with your pest management professional to add one or more of the following "green" pest control techniques to your IPM program:

Airflow - Perhaps the simplest tool in your pest control arsenal is air. Moving air can pose an obstacle to certain flying insects, so you can use it strategically for pest control. For example, with staff and guests coming and going constantly, exterior doors open and close around the clock. Every time one of these doors opens, it presents an opportunity to pests, especially flying insects, to enter. If air flows out of your hotel when the doors open, it will literally push flying insects away. Work with your HVAC professional to make sure your system creates positive air pressure. Also, consider placing fans in areas prone to fly or mosquito problems, including breakfast bars, outdoor dining areas or poolside wet bars. Even a gentle breeze will help deter flying insects.

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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.