Bed bugs are parasitic insects that like to live in warm places – particularly bedding, as their name suggests – and feed on human blood. Their bites often go unnoticed at the time, but they can cause skin rashes, allergic reactions, and even psychological conditions.
Bed bugs pose a particular threat to hotels because of a combination of well-heated rooms, many people occupying close proximity, shared laundry facilities and a high footfall of visitors can provide the perfect opportunity for bed bugs to enter and move around a hotel. Bed bugs are enthusiastic travelers, attaching themselves not only to furniture, bedding, and luggage but also to clothing, purses, and shoes. This makes hotels particularly vulnerable.
Once they’re in, bed bugs can spread easily from room to room and within a housing block. They can’t fly or even jump, but they can crawl quickly and will use any openings to get around.
However, just because bed bugs are a familiar problem for hotels does not mean you should be unconcerned about an infestation. In this post, we explain some of the ways bed bugs can damage your business as a hotel – and why you should act quickly and regularly to stamp them out.
Let’s look at the top 5 ways bed bugs can harm your hotel business:
1. Guests may simply walk out
Seasoned travelers, in particular, may conscientiously check a room for signs of bed bugs before unpacking – I would certainly advise them to do so! If a guest catches sight of a bed bug – or their eggs, fecal spots, or blood spots where they have been crushed – they won’t be your guests for long.
2. Reputational damage
Because bed bugs can be so tiny and bite their victims at night, it’s actually more likely that your guests won’t realize they’ve been affected until they get home. You may already have their money, but they will have their revenge when they tell their friends, their family – and the entire population of TripAdvisor – to avoid your establishment in fear of bed bugs. People can get very emotional when it comes to bed bugs – not surprisingly, given how difficult they are to get out of your home once an infestation has taken hold.
3. Compensation claims
Once bed bugs have been brought home from a hotel, getting rid of them may result in a person getting rid of their personal possessions (see below). Add to that the physical and psychological consequences of bed bug bites. Thorough, effective pest control is not cheap – but it can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Bed bugs can get into not only bedding, mattresses, clothing and furniture but also curtains. If your hotel is infested, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time and money to launder and dry all of these effectively. You may also end up having to throw a lot of items out (Check first with a pest control professional to see if it can be treated. If you do choose to throw out furniture, do so responsibly to make sure no-one else picks it up and brings bed bugs into their home. Destroy the furniture if possible by ripping it or clearly marking it ‘BED BUGS’, and have it picked it up as soon as possible by trash collectors.) You can imagine how much it’s going to cost your business to replace all of these items.
5. Periods of closure
To get rid of a bed bug infestation you need to call a pest control professional to treat the whole building at once – the bed bugs are likely to be more widely spread than you think, and in any case treating one room at a time can simply cause the bugs to move around from one room to another. This process is also likely to take longer than you expect. Multiple applications of treatment may be necessary to ensure that the eggs, as well as the bugs, are all dead, and getting rid of the infestation completely could take weeks or even months – while you continue to lose revenue on empty hotel room(s).
Bed bugs in your hotel will be incredibly unpleasant for your guests and potentially ruinous for your business – and getting rid of an infestation is also likely to be costly and time-consuming. Prevent these problems by having your hotel checked for bed bugs by a canine scent detection team several times a year, and quickly treating any small outbreaks of bed bugs before they turn into an infestation. Don’t let these unwanted pests cost you business. Contact Pronto Pest Management today and schedule an inspection!