Hotel guests typically have lofty requirements, expecting conditions at the property to always be perfect. This “high bar of quality” is equally shared and strived for by most hotels. Examples of this heightened hotel standard is clearly exemplified when it comes to safety, which includes food, cleanliness, hazards, criminal activity, fire, air and water quality and vermin. But is the hotelier prepared during litigation to answer the poignant question: “What have you done to prevent bed bugs in your facility?” Many hotels have learned that avoidance and/or inaction in addressing bed bug-related incidents can result in an exponentially negative impact on their business. Many mistakenly thought that bed bug prevention is not possible and that infestations were the unfortunate cost of doing business in hospitality.
Bed bug prevention does exist, and it best succeeds when the right tools and strategies are utilized collaboratively by both the hotel staff and the pest control professionals servicing your property. The ultimate goal of prevention is providing a strategy to prevent bed bug encounters with your guests. Dr. Susan Jones, a former professor of entomology at The Ohio State University, conducted detailed studies with active mattresses and/or box spring liners sold under the name ActiveGuard® Mattress Liners by Allergy Technologies in articles published in both “Insects” in the “Journal of Medical Entomology.” These liners are impregnated with an insecticide called permethrin, a common active ingredient found in many clothes purchased at your local department store and used extensively by the military in the field to prevent a variety of insects from biting. Dr. Jones’ work illustrated that these liners stop bed bugs from feeding. Most relevant to real-world situations, ActiveGuard stops pregnant bed bugs from laying their eggs, preventing the establishment of infestations before they establish and the otherwise spread of havoc throughout a hotel. These active liners will kill bed bugs generally within hours to days—combining these features, the product provides unprecedented levels of protection for two years from installation.
When active mattress liners are used in conjunction with a consistent monitoring program (including through documentation of any reported event) your hotel will achieve real-world success. Consider one example of a large major branded convention-style hotel in the southern United States that utilized a prevention program after years of failed reactive bed bug treatments. This facility was comprised of 1,600 rooms and approximately 3,000 beds. Like many other convention hotels, this property had a year-over-year persistent bed bug problem. The typical reported incident rate was two per week; that’s over 100 bed bug incidents a year, which cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars in treatment and damages due to this insidious pest.
After installing the ActiveGuard branded mattress liners to the box springs on all 3,000 beds, the hotel saw a 100% reduction in infestations and a 92.5% reduction in reported incident frequency. None of the bed bug reports during the two-year period represented a live bed bug on a bed. The hotel saw an overall reduction in over 180+ treatments over two years. The hotel also faced immeasurable savings by the preservation of their brand reputation and avoiding unwanted bed bug-related negative criticisms on social media.
Successful bed bug prevention is possible…it’s all dependent on choosing the right tools and strategies!