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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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.