The high traffic nature of your business means you are a prime target for bed bug infestations. The unfortunate truth is that there is really no way to stop bed bugs from getting in, regardless of cleanliness. It is never safe to assume your hotel is safe from bed bugs just because your hotel rooms are clean. The common misconception that bed bugs are attracted to dirt and grime is simply false. Instead, there are three main things bed bugs are attracted to: warmth, blood, and carbon dioxide. So, while cleanliness is certainly a good start to catching in potential bed bug infestations, it is not a foolproof way of prevention.
With travelers coming from all over, and a high rate of turnover, there are numerous opportunities for bed bugs to find their way into one of your rooms every day. In addition, with more people traveling than ever before, bed bug prevention and control in hotels has become even more necessary. It doesn’t matter if you’re a 5 star or 1 star establishment, bed bugs can find their way into a room.
In the hotel and hospitality industry, your best form of protection is to be proactive with frequent inspections.
First and foremost, assembling a bed bug response team is vital to your hotel’s crisis management. This is a group of employees that will be committed to preventing bed bugs, while also handling any problems related to these insects.
The structure of your bed bug team should be a well-defined, top-down approach, with the building’s manager assuming all executive responsibilities when handling infestation cases. Specific duties may include patron compensation, coordinating the room’s scheduled treatment, and face-to-face guest communication.
Training your Staff to Notice the Signs
It’s important to train hotel staff in bed bug detection. You should discuss the potential of training your employees with your pest control partner. Not only will this give your employees the tools to identify bed bug signs, but they will also know the correct process to follow if signs are found. Along with proper training, a monthly bed bug inspection plan should be developed and followed. This is how to prevent bed bugs in hotels, by developing and adhering to your bed bug inspection plan, and promptly addressing any of the warning signs.
In coordination with your hotel’s action crew, a policy regarding proper and thorough documentation is also essential to maintaining your company’s image in relation to bed bug management. A logbook detailing your staff’s processes and timeline of events is critical to reputation management in more than a few ways. First, you’re able to use this record as a means of demonstrating to current guests of the proper measures your team has implemented in combating bed bugs. This may not initially appease the customer, but it can aid in assuring the affected person that your hotel is capable of mitigating a pest emergency.
Additionally, this record log can help defend your staff should a lawsuit arise. Lawyers specializing in bed bug litigation could account for thousands in damage to clients, so it’s important to remove some liability by showing your hotel’s commitment to minimizing bed bugs.
How to Handle Complaints
You should also have a policy in place for how your staff handles bed bug complaints. Your bed bug action plan will prepare your housekeeping, reception, and management teams in the event that a guest makes a complaint. This will include compensating the guest, how to deal with their belongings and how to document the complaint. The next step is to immediately schedule an inspection from your pest management company and take the room out of service. Your pest management company will offer recommendations on the best method of inspection and extermination, should an issue be found.
In the event of a bed bug incident, the manager appointed to the task force’s head will need to evaluate the severity to determine whether or not external communication is required. If so, the manager should choose the most appropriate medium for doing so based on how the customers interact with the hotel. This could take the form of an email blast or a targeted social media post, but your customers should be informed.
In each instance, be sure to include a number or email address that directs communication to your hotel’s manager. He or she will manage all questions and draft appropriate responses to any concerned individuals, ensuring that all messages are consistent with your hotel’s tone and approach to bed bugs.
Bed bugs happen. The most you can do is prepare and educate your staff to be proactive in handling issues. Take a look at our sample bed bug action plan for hotels. You can also contact our bed bug experts to customize an action plan for your specific hotel or for more information on our GuestGuard program.