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Frank Meek

Hotel guests weren't the only ones enjoying the unusually mild temperatures this past winter. The warm weather allowed pests to thrive throughout the season, and with such a low pest mortality rate over the last few months, summer is sure to bring even more pest infestations than usual. To keep pests out this spring, take advantage of your hotel's sanitation program as a pest prevention tool. Read on...

Peter Goldmann

Despite the constant barrage of news about corporate theft and fraud, there are still far too many situations in which hospitality companies unknowingly pay criminally-minded individuals or phony companies posing as legitimate vendors. How is it possible that "legitimate" companies have a private mailbox at the local UPS Store, a private residence, or even a prison address? Or that invoices a month apart with consecutive numbers both get paid? Or "invoices from a "vendor" whose address happens to match that of a company employee get paid? Read on...

Frank Meek

Whether it's lounging by the pool, enjoying dinner at a nice restaurant or just relaxing with a good book, your guests' favorite vacation activities can quickly be disrupted with the sound of an annoying "buzz..." Besides serving as a nuisance, flies also pose serious health risks to your guests and staff. Since flies feed on feces and other decaying matter, they can carry up to a half billion bacteria on the outside of their bodies, including E. coli, Salmonella and Staphylococcus. In fact, flies are the No. 1 transmitters of disease in the world. Read on...

Peter Goldmann

The news headlines are chock full of accounts of massive volumes of confidential corporate information being stolen, including customer credit card data, medical records, Social Security numbers, corporate trade secrets, trademarked and copyrighted intellectual property and more. The results of these attacks, though hard to accurately measure in dollars and cents, are nonetheless devastating for both the victimized company and the customers, employees and contractors whose personal identifying data is stolen. In the largest theft of confidential information ever, the apparel retailer, TJX Inc., had its databases attacked by outside hackers to the tune of over 45 million retail transaction records, involving countless numbers of credit and debit card files. Read on...

Frank Meek

As gasoline continues to sell at high prices, humans aren't the only ones seeking alternate ways to travel. While pests may not stick out their thumb and ask for a ride, they can "hitchhike" into hotels in shipments and people's belongings. Pests flock to hotels for numerous reasons, including food, water and shelter. Some hitchhiking pests such as bed bugs come inside in people's belongings, while crawling pests often hide in supply boxes and shipments. Let's take a closer look at each of these pests, including how you can identify them and prevent them from earning a free night's stay. Read on...

Peter Goldmann

"Ethics" means doing the right thing every day - even when no one is watching. So you think you're ethical? If you own the company, do you run personal expenses through the company? If you're an executive, do you turn in padded expense reports? If you do, these thefts will inevitably become common knowledge among all of your employees. And employees take their cues about what's acceptable behavior, and what's not, from those above them. Read on...

Frank Meek

As a hotelier, you are constantly trying to differentiate your hotel brand. Whether it's upgrading mattresses in guestrooms or extending check out past noon, hotels are always seeking new ways to stand out from the competition. Many hotels entice tourists and business travelers by offering on-site fine dining at four- or five-star restaurants; however, this strategy attracts unwanted "visitors" as well - pests. Just like humans, pests need food and water sources to survive, and what better place to find a nice meal than in a hotel kitchen. Read on...

Frank Meek

Thorough and efficient pest management in your hotel is not a one-man show. In order to be successful in your efforts, you must have the cooperation of your staff as well as a pest management professional you can trust. But how do you select the best service provider, and once you do, how do you know who handles each responsibility? Read on...

Richard Dahm

While swine flu is a significant health threat, if we are armed with the knowledge about what it is, how it is transmitted, and what is being done to combat the threat nationally and globally, we can be better prepared to deal with this crisis. Additionally, there are concrete steps we can take to ensure our personal safety and health, and the continued vitality of our business operations in the event of an influenza pandemic. Read on for a thorough explanation of the swine flu and how the travel industry can prepare themselves for the worse case scenario. Read on...

Frank Meek

Stored product pests may be at the top of your kitchen pest "Most Wanted" list. Pests such as weevils, moths and beetles are dangerous to the quality and safety of food prepared in hotel kitchens. Some species can secrete chemicals that alter the flavor of food products, while others can cause allergic reactions and irritate the human digestive tract if ingested - all posing risks to your guests and your establishment's reputation. Read on to learn about the types of stored-product pests that can creep into your hotel kitchen and how you and your kitchen staff can effectively prevent and manage stored-product pest infestations. Read on...

Victor P. Haley

The hospitality industry has yet to recover from the events of 9/11. Since that tragic day, the revenues of the major hotel operating companies have declined sharply. Only now is the industry seeing a return to profitability and increasing ADR and occupancy. However, a lingering issue continues to haunt the industry - the fear that a terrorist attack could target a hotel and the realization that the prevention of such an attack is a daunting task. Hotels can no longer do business as they once did. They must confront the new reality of terrorism and take measures to protect their guests from harm and themselves from liability. In confronting the very real threat of a terrorist attack, hotels also face a range of complicated related issues. What is a hotel's liability to its guests if an attack occurs on the hotel premises? How proactive must hotel management be in anticipating and thwarting an attack? How do the additional security measures taken by hotel management get funded? Read on...

Frank Meek

As budgets tighten, your hotel may not have the time or money to invest in expensive third-party training programs. Unfortunately, pests won't let a slow economy stop them as they seek food, water and shelter in your establishment. That's why it's imperative that your housekeeping employees know how to identify pest "hot spots" in your hotel and the steps they can take to prevent infestations. This article will highlight several pest management practices that you can train your staff on internally. Read on...

Frank Meek

A pest sighting in your hotel is never a good thing. One guest could tell another guest, who tells another, and the next thing you know, the incident hits the Internet waves for all to read - ultimately damaging your hotel's reputation and business. But the good news is you can stop this nightmare before it starts. Simple exterior maintenance practices are one the easiest ways to prevent pests' entry into your establishment, and the best part is they are cost-effective too. Read on for several exterior maintenance practices that you can put in place immediately to keep pests outside where they belong. Read on...

Frank Meek

There's no doubt that birds can't be tolerated by hotels, but controlling them can be challenging, especially when your establishment is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Many hoteliers turn to an approach called Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which takes a close look at pest biology and behavior as well as the specific problems they pose to a property. By stressing proactive prevention, IPM focuses on the reasons why pests infest properties in the first place so that hoteliers can select the most effective treatment method possible. Read on...

Frank Meek

Foul odors can be as much of a "pest" as insects or rodents. When an odor is present, it can send all the wrong signals to your guests. What causes these invisible problems? How can we change them? To control odors, we must first understand what causes them. Odors are typically caused by the presence of the bacteria produced during decomposition. As an organic material starts to break down, bacteria grow. These bacteria produce gas, such as sulfur and nitrogen, and acids that are detectable in the form of odors. The larger the amount of organic material present, the stronger the odor can become. The odor also lingers until the organic material has completed the decomposition process. Read on...

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Coming up in July 2018...

Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.