Bed bugs continue to cost hotels dearly
by Tommy Underhill
March 5, 2019
Dr. Michael Potter, entomologist at the University of Kentucky and long-time researcher on bed bugs, teamed with the Department of Agricultural Economics in a study to understand consumer preferences when choosing a hotel and the economic costs of bed bugs in the hospitality industry. Almost 2,100 respondents participated in the study and represented all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
According to the study, just one negative report of bed bugs on a travelers’ online review site can cost a 300-room hotel $274,000 per month in revenue from business travelers, and $166,000 per month for a similarly-sized hotel catering to vacationing guests. These costs include the expense for pest control remediation, the loss of room revenue during the inspection and treatment process, guest compensation, and discarding of soft goods and FF&E.
Hotels and motels with a proactive detection and treatment plan can go a long way to reducing exposure from bed bugs.
- Train your housekeeping staff to look for obvious signs of bed bugs whenever they enter a room. This type of daily inspection should add no more than minutes to each room’s schedule.
- When housekeeping finds evidence of bed bugs— live bed bugs, cast skins, or fresh fecal spots on bedding— have them notify management immediately, if possible before any soiled linens are removed or the floors are vacuumed or mopped.
- Keep a roll of clear tape on housekeeping carts. Have housekeepers trap a bug on the tape for professional identification.
- Management should close the room and contact a professional pest management professional as soon as possible to treat the room.
- Properties with on-site GreenTech Heat equipment and certified staff should begin treatment as soon as possible. A discreet bed bug heat treatment with an ePro electric heater can be completed in as few as 8 hours.
Concerns about bed bugs place this as one of the most important considerations travelers face when selecting or grading a hotel. A single mention of bed bugs is destructive to revenues while additional mentions of the insect pests to a lesser extent.
Hotels and motels live or die by their reputation. As a hospitality professional, make bed bugs a priority to preserve your good brand.