Keep Your Hotel a Summer Hot Spot for Clientele, Not Cockroaches

By Frank Meek International Technical & Training Director, Orkin, LLC | July 31, 2011

With peak travel season fast approaching, both guests and pests will be flocking to your hotel in search of the same amenities: a comfortable room, fine dining and liquid refreshment. The warmer weather is particularly attractive to cockroaches, some of which are seasonally active and "check in" to hotels and other indoor spaces during the spring and summer. As the hardy cockroach develops tolerances to pest control efforts, it is more critical than ever for you and your staff to work as a team with your pest management professional to help keep your facility from becoming a "Roach Motel."

Profile of an Unwanted Guest

Cockroaches have been scurrying around uninvited for nearly 400 million years. Their innate ability to survive under any condition has made them one of the most enduring species – and pests – on earth. There are approximately 4,000 species of cockroaches worldwide, about 70 of which live in the United States.

The most commonly encountered species is the German cockroach (Blattella germanica). It is small, about one-half inch long and light brown in color with two dark-brown stripes behind the head. The German roach can easily hitch a ride into a five-star resort on nearly anything, including guest luggage, pant legs and deliveries. The German cockroach also poses a major infestation risk due to its prolific abilities – while all cockroaches reproduce rapidly, the German roach can produce up to 48 offspring every 20 to 25 days, more than any other species.

The American cockroach (Periplaneta americana) is another common pest you don't want lounging around your hotel. As one of the largest indoor cockroaches, the American cockroach can grow up to one and a half inches in length and fly short distances. It is reddish-brown to brown in color, with a light yellow "ring" around the top of its head. Most commonly found in food preparation areas, the American roach is considered to be one of the fastest running insects and can dart quickly out of sight.

For hotel guests, any species of cockroach is undesirable. Smelly and nocturnal, cockroaches live in large groups, emit unpleasant odors and seek dark, moist places to hide and breed. Unfortunately, hotels provide ideal living conditions for roaches with their abundant sources of food, water and warmth, and often attract these unwanted guests. One cockroach sighting may signal hundreds more in hiding; because cockroaches are nocturnal, the few you see during the day were likely forced out by overcrowding and could indicate severe infestation.

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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.