Bed Bug Prevention: The Best Defense Against Bed Bug Litigation

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Bed bug lawsuits pose incredibly high risks to a hotel’s reputation and bottom line. Although suing hotels for bed bugs is not a new phenomenon, the rise of “boutique” bed bug attorneys and class-action lawsuits creates a higher threat level to hotels than ever before. Hotels face significant legal liability if they do not take proper precautions, including a requirement to expeditiously remediate the problem.  Law firms specializing in bed bug litigation can certainly create additional financial and reputational headaches. These firms can hold hotels responsible for guest damages and, in doing so, define your property as “potentially bed bug infested” forever in the court of public opinion. To protect their legal liability, financial bottom line and both public and guest reputation, hotels should invest in bed bug prevention and take swift action to prevent infestations.

Bed bug lawsuits can financially devastate hotels in ways ranging from costly settlements to legal expenses to declining guest revenue. Bed bug-related legal issues are becoming increasingly common, with plaintiff damages related to physical injuries, emotional distress, and property damage being the most common. Defending against these lawsuits can be expensive, whether from a settlement or a jury’s verdict. In addition, legal representation can be extremely costly and often in excess of insurance policy coverage limits.  This can hinder hotels from investing in facility improvements and enhancing the guest experience. Embracing prevention and taking rapid control measures are the protective steps hoteliers can take to avoid negative financial impact.

A hotel’s hard-earned brand and image are also threatened by bed bug litigation. Bed bug infestations can harm a hotel’s reputation as travelers heavily rely on online reviews and word-of-mouth when booking trips. Even the mere accusation of bed bugs can immediately tarnish a hotel’s brand and result in negative publicity that quickly goes viral. Beyond online and public chatter, negative content related to bed bug lawsuits and settlements can attract attention from major media outlets, further damaging a hotel’s standing. Bed bug infestations lead to a “domino effect” within a property, especially if a hotel must shut down rooms, leading to lost revenue and guest inconvenience.

To prevent bed bug lawsuits, hotels need to adopt proactive bed bug prevention strategies, such as regular inspections, prompt treatment of infestations and staff education. Staff should be able to identify and report bed bug activity in detailed documentation, including swift communication with their pest control provider. Preventive measures, such as installing active mattress liners like ActiveGuard®, can help reduce the risk of infestations and protect a hotel’s good name and income stream. These liners are registered with the EPA and FDA for two-year prevention of bed bug infestations in bedding. ActiveGuard should be the centerpiece of every prevention plan providing long-term control and prevention.

Click here to learn more about protecting your hotel from bed bug lawsuits.