We have all heard horror stories about dirty hotels, complete with filthy sheets, broken appliances and front desk staffs that didn't seem to care. As we mentioned in our 1st blog, bed bugs are steadily becoming a mainstay in these stories. For many guests, bed bugs are a cleanliness issue, with the perception being that a clean, upscale hotel would not have bed bugs. After all, THOSE types of problems are much more characteristic of smaller motels, and cheaper roadside inns. Although that perception IS starting to change, the process is slow. In the meantime, hotels with reported bed bug issues, such as those listed on the Bed Bug Registry, are fighting to save their reputation, and in some cases, their businesses. Even our President Trump's OWN Doral Hotel is being sued by a guest over bed bug bites. The decision was expected by inauguration. The Miami Herald published photos of the guest's bites:
I am here to tell you that bed bugs are not INHERENTLY the lodging industry’s problem. In understanding the biology of the pest, you come to know that bed bugs are hitchhikers, attaching themselves to clothing, linens, and hiding inside of luggage. In fact, it is the guests themselves bringing the bed bugs into the hotels! Think about the vacationing traveler. During a vacation it is very likely that the traveler will find themselves in OTHER hotbeds of bed bug activity. According to The Travel Channel, these include:
In fact, there is no shortage of places that the traveler may encounter bed bugs and introduce them to a hotel. Once introduced, the pests feed on and latch onto other unsuspecting guests and the cycle repeats until the room(s) is treated and the bed bugs are killed. Even then, once the room is returned to service, it only takes 1 bed bug from 1 guest to start the process all over again. And in most cases, the blame falls on the hotel. This is NOT FAIR. So what do the hotels do? What do concerned guests do? We suggest that guests and hotels work TOGETHER. And, as with most problems, education is the key.
- Hotels should be providing their housekeeping staff with training on bed bug identification.
- Hotels should be providing their front desk staff with training on guest interaction surrounding bed bug events. In the eyes of the guest, it is up to the front desk staff to help ease the guest’s fears and find a resolution to the problem.
- Before booking a room, guests should inquire if the hotel trains their staff to identify bed bugs. A “no” answer here would be a big red flag for a concerned guest.
- Guests themselves should become familiar with signs of bed bug activity. Know what to look for.
- Before checking in, guests should conduct their own hotel room bed bug inspections. This inspection checklist is an excellent guide, and will help each traveler perform a thorough room inspection.
- Guests should alert the hotel RIGHT AWAY if any signs of bed bugs are discovered.
- Hotels should take action RIGHT AWAY if signs of bed bugs are discovered or reported.
- Hotels need to have a pest control professional on-call for inspection and elimination purposes.
At KnowBedBugs.com we train hotel housekeeping and front desk staff on the identification of bed bugs AND in dealing with their guests should an event occur. After training, each employee is tested. Finally, the hotel is awarded a certification based on the percentage of full-time staff that has trained and passed the testing.
For their part, guests can learn how to identify bed bugs, conduct their own in-room inspections, and even book rooms with certified locations, all from our site at KnowBedBugs.com
We are trying to get out in front of the issue, and understand that it takes cooperation between the hotels and their guests. We are trying to start the conversation.
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