How Social Media is Helping Bed Bugs Win

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NATIONAL REPORT—A recent study conducted by the University of Kentucky found that bed bug reporting on online review sites and social media have a “…big impact on purchasing decisions.” It’s no surprise that both leisure and business travelers would avoid a bed bug infested hotel. Victims of bed bug infestations exploit the internet’s vast readership to describe their bed bug experience resulting in physical distress, sleeplessness, nervousness, anxiety and an extreme disruption in their life. And while on a planned summer vacation with the kids and family…no vacationer would run the risk if they could otherwise avoid it.

When general manager’s review their financial statements and note that occupancy rates are down while operating costs are up, it can be a puzzling scenario. Upon digging deeper, these same GM’s often realize that bed bug infestations are to blame. When an infestation hits, rooms have to be put out of service for treatment including both the affected room and surrounding rooms as well. Add that loss of rental income to bed bug treatment costs and the result can be a significant blow to a hotel’s bottom line.

But, there is more … social media. Many hotel GMs cringe at the mere mention of online review sites like TripAdvisor, Travelocity and Bed Bug Registry. They are coming to realize the enormous impact they have on a traveler’s decision to consider staying at a reported property. General managers across the country are already feeling the financial bite from bed bug internet reporting. According to the same University of Kentucky study above, a single online review that mentions bed bugs lowers hotel room value by $38 for business travelers and $23 for leisure travelers.

What exactly is the state of the current hotel-related bed bug problem? Recent studies have found that about 74% of pest management professionals reported problems with bed bugs in hotel rooms; a truly staggering figure. This rise in bed bugs is coupled with a changing public perception, with 43% of people now expressing the attitude that bed bugs are a concern. A single occurrence of bed bugs can massively impact a hotel’s business and brand reputation. Exposure to legal action continues to rise jeopardizing hotel shareholder equity. Recently, a Virginia woman sought $5 million in a bed bug lawsuit over bed bugs. A federal judge ruled in her favor and a jury will hear her case.

So, how can a hotelier prevent their property from becoming the latest TripAdvisor bed bug-related casualty? Well, there are a number of things that one can do to win this battle. Let’s take a closer look.

Education is key. Research has proven that two-thirds of travelers surveyed by the University of Kentucky last year couldn’t identify a bed bug. Hoteliers are encouraged to train their staff to be able to recognize a bed bug in its different life stages as well as signs of bed bugs in and around beds.

Forward-thinking in bed bug prevention has savvy hoteliers investigating the root of the problem. Savvy hoteliers are designing hotel rooms to be more bed bug resistant.  Many are adopting preventative measures for their mattresses and/or box springs such as an active mattress liner that kill bed bugs. ActiveGuard Mattress Liners go on like a fitted sheet and can save time, money and energy preventing bed bug infestations from establishing. Sophisticated hoteliers recognize that bed bugs may be difficult to detect at an early stage, and are skilled hitchhikers that easily gain access to the bed. Having an active liner in place that starts working within 10 minutes of contact can assist in saving a room from developing a full-blown bed bug infestation.

While recent reports may show that bed bugs are winning, the war is not over. Embracing technology, educating staff and taking a preventative approach to this blood-sucking pest can ensure victory for hoteliers everywhere.

About Allergy Technologies

ActiveGuard Mattress Liners kill bed bugs. Easily installed on mattresses or box springs, these liners offer two-year continual prevention and control against any adult bed bugs, nymphs or eggs. ActiveGuard has no cautionary signal words or use restrictions on its label. Only four sizes—single/twin, double/full, queen and king—fit almost every available mattress or box spring, and accommodate up to extra-large in length and 17-in. in depth. Underlying is ActiveGuard’s formulation; a unique and proprietary delivery system that offers sustained bioavailability of permethrin for two years. Newest research supports that after a short exposure to ActiveGuard of only 10 minutes, bed bugs regardless of their level of resistance, begin to show significant reductions in feeding (biting) and a dramatic inability to lay eggs. This results in discontinuation of population growth thereby halting progression of an incident to an infestation. If you are seeking a pro-active preventative approach, ActiveGuard should be considered as the centerpiece of your long-term solution to keep bedding from being infested. ActiveGuard Mattress Liners are covered under U.S. Patents 5,916,580, 6,214,365, 6,440,438 and pending patents.

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