Hotel Amenities or Enemies? - Guest Attractions May Attract Unwanted Guests

By Frank Meek International Technical & Training Director, Orkin, LLC | May 21, 2010

Beyond checking the availability of a room during their travel window, guests may also check the availability of amenities before they book with you. Business travelers want the comforts of home, and vacationers want all the extras home doesn't offer. To cater to the varying wishes of guests, hotels and resorts continue to add to the list of convenient, value-added services and amenities offered, from fitness centers to business centers, food service to laundry service. Guests expect to have everything they could want or need within the confines of the hotel. These amenities add up to guest satisfaction but may also be the perfect invitation for pests.

With an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy, a pest management provider can identify areas that offer what pests are looking for – food, water and shelter with good, proper ambient temperatures – and implement preventive practices that help keep pests out. The focus of an IPM program is a proactive, preventive approach that relies on targeted chemical treatments only as a last resort. IPM's limited use of chemical treatments also makes it a more sustainable solution to pest management, which scores another amenity point with guests. A strong IPM strategy and partnership with your pest management provider will help you maintain the amenities that garner four-star reviews and keep your hotel a hot spot for your guests – not pests.

Following are common hotel amenities that rate highly with pests and tips on how to stop them before they get comfortable.

Swimming Pool

The swimming pool, a haven of relaxation for guests, can also be attractive to flies, mosquitoes and stinging insects seeking a moist environment and readily available food and water sources. To keep these pests from making a splash, keep the pool area clear of puddles and other standing water by using a squeegee on the deck after rain showers. Empty or dispose of containers that have gathered rainwater or other residual moisture which can attract mosquitoes.

Trailing vines and flowering bushes in the landscaping around the pool deck not only attract pests with the sweet smell of nectar, their foliage can also provide convenient harborage. Vines and greenery can also become "bridges"by which insects can crawl over treated areas to gain entry into your establishment. Work with your landscape manager and pest management provider to develop landscape plans that deny pests the cover and entry points they seek. Install sodium vapor bulbs or yellow bulbs in outdoor lights to fend off mosquitoes surrounding the pool and clubhouse. Unlike mercury vapor or incandescent lights, these bulbs do not provide as much attraction for mosquitoes and other flying insects.

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.