NATIONAL REPORT—Bed bugs are becoming the bane of hotels across the country. An infestation can permanently scar a hotel brand when an outraged guest has his or her vacation destroyed by a bed bug encounter and then takes to social media or even the news with their story. Furthermore, potential guests are assessing whether a hotel has reported incidents of bed bugs; if so, they move on and reserve a room in a different facility. In either scenario, the loss of hotel revenue and reputation can be irreparable.
Bed bugs can easily hide, evading housekeeping staff inspections and pest control professionals. It takes just one impregnated female bed bug or several missed eggs to be introduced by a hotel guest or your own staff to restart the infestation cycle.
Hotel rooms have regular guest turnover and are constantly challenged with new bed bug introductions; these pests are notorious hitchhikers. Once an infestation establishes, bed bugs are incredibly difficult to control. Hotels throughout the country are protecting their guests, reputation and stakeholders’ equity by educating themselves on this blood-sucking pest. The following facts can help you better understand what you’re up against when it comes to bed bugs.
- People and their luggage are a main mode of transport for bed bugs. Transient facilities such as hotels and motels are under immense pressure from incurring new infestations.
- There is no economic or social preference for bed bugs—they indiscriminately affect people staying at a luxury resort as easily as those at a roadside motel.
- Bed bugs go through a number of stages from egg to adult (called “instars”). They must have a blood meal in order to advance to the next stage. These insects are very efficient and effective at finding their next meal.
- Adult bed bugs can go for prolonged periods of time between blood meals. Some research has suggested that bed bugs can live for an entire year without a blood meal. A few months with no report of bed bugs does not mean you’ve necessarily cleared a particular room.
- Adult females can lay up to five to seven eggs per week and 200-500 over their lifetime.
- Bed bugs are very difficult to remove once they find a new home and infestations can grow quickly. Professional pest control companies often schedule several treatment visits to eradicate an infestation and use multipronged treatment programs to get full control. Low-priced treatments are likely to get low quality results.
- Having a solid, field-proven bed bug prevention program in place can stop a bed bug incident from turning into a full-blown infestation – and save a great deal of money, preserve brand reputation and reduce legal exposure. A 2017 research report entitled “Behind the Cost of Bed Bugs: Hospitality Industry Report” indicated that hotels spend on average $6,383 per bed bug incident. This cost includes the expense for pest control remediation, the loss of room revenue during the inspection and treatment process, guest compensation and discarding of soft goods. The report continues that over a five-year period, bed bug-related costs to hoteliers could catapult to more than $160,000.
Up until recently, the additional financial impact of bed bugs on hotel brand reputation was considered an unmeasurable metric. However, a University of Kentucky study found that just one negative report of bed bugs on a travelers’ online review site can cost a 300-room hotel catering to business travelers $274,000 per month in revenue. When looking at a similarly sized hotel catering to vacation travelers, the costs approached $166,000 per month.
Consider how much you can save by implementing a prevention strategy in your hotel versus reacting to the problem with this hotel savings calculator.
Tips on how to monitor your property online: http://www.bedbugreports.com
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Learn more about Bed Bug Prevention here: http://hotelbedbugprevention.com/hotel-prevention/