Pest Management Starts with Hotel Layout, Design and Upkeep

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

Space utilization. Energy efficiency. Security. What's the most important issue when designing a new hotel or upgrading an older one? Surprisingly, pest management should be high on your checklist. With the huge amount of food and supplies entering a hotel on a daily basis, the hospitality environment provides a gourmet buffet for pests and aids in their dispersal and proliferation. Failure to stop pest infestation can result in lost profits, regulatory action, and negative news coverage that can damage a hotel's reputation virtually overnight.

There are many ways to "harden" your hospitality plant and reduce the dependency on pesticides. Today's strategy incorporates the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) into facility design and maintenance. IPM is an ongoing, preventive control system that employs the use of more than one control measure. These environmentally-friendly techniques make your facility more hospitable to guests, less hospitable to pests - and can potentially reduce operation and liability costs.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) starts with the physical design and layout of a facility. Whether designing a new facility or upgrading an existing one:

  • A common layout problem is placing dumpsters too close to the building, especially if your hotel is located near a pest haven, like an interstate. Highway embankments, with litter from passing cars, are a natural, undisturbed habitat for rodents. Rats and mice are constantly on the lookout for new food sources and entry points. After the highway, their next foray will be your dumpsters. From there, it's an easy trip inside. Refuse containers should be isolated as far away from the building and kitchen areas as possible. Ask your refuse company if dumpsters can be relocated. Keep dumpsters clean -- work out a cleaning schedule that coincides with the emptying of the dumpster.

  • Routinely clean trash and debris from around the building to prevent it becoming a staging area for pest invasion into the building. Don't store anything against the building.

  • A secure receiving area is another key to preventing the spread of pests. Incoming product flow should be designed to minimize exposure to food areas and guest areas. Receiving should be in a designated area, separate from and not inside or adjacent to the laundry, food prep or cooking areas. Cardboard glue is a food source for roaches and other insects. Pests are frequently introduced into food service areas through shipments in cardboard boxes, so break these containers down and remove them on the day of delivery. Your receiving area should be set up so that all shipments can be inspected and unpacked, then routed to the proper area. This way, any pests inadvertently introduced can be contained and dealt with quickly.

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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.