Hoteliers should review their cold weather preparation checklists before winter arrives, as the days begin to get shorter and the temperatures start to drop. If you do not have a basic winterization checklist, there are many available. One example is this checklist from SUITELIFE Underwriting Managers, an insurance firm that caters to upscale lodging resorts. Preparing your facilities for the elements is also the perfect time to reassess your current bed bug protocol. Implementing policy updates during the off-season months is typically the most convenient, as there are fewer guests on site.
Bed bugs are top-of-mind for travelers, as illustrated by a recent viral video from a hospitality social media influencer guiding guests on how to spot bed bugs in hotel rooms. The video had more than 5 million views as of last week, which is frightening considering all the accusations of different bug-infested hotels in the comments. A social media post can shut down your hotel in a matter of minutes, in the same way as a frozen pipe can flood your lobby floor. In both cases, it is crucial to prepare your checklists, implement inspections and preventive steps to sidestep any potential disasters.
Your bed bug protocol checklist does not need to be overly complicated. Make sure your pest management professional contacts are up-to-date in case of emergencies. Your housekeeping staff should have a plan for reporting suspected bed bugs, whether they are documenting complaints digitally or on paper.
Your housekeeping staff should be searching for signs of bed bug activity while they are routinely changing linens. Check for any dark spots or splotches (in addition to the detection of any bed bugs themselves). This may be enough to prevent a negative bed bug-guest encounter. Your guest-facing staff should also be trained in de-escalation tactics. They should always have a knowledgeable but empathetic tone with the complaining guest. In addition, they should offer predetermined compensation such as free dry cleaning or free meals, if applicable. Ensure that all procedures are in place and staff well-practiced in their communication at the time of an incident.
Consider installing an active mattress liner on all box springs or mattresses to prevent infestations. This is the single best tool available for protecting your property against bed bugs. The leading active mattress liner on the market is ActiveGuard®. The liner is designed to stop infestations before they take hold by preventing female bed bugs from laying their eggs. It works continuously 24/7 for 2 years, with no maintenance required. Preventive strategies centered on the use of ActiveGuard have resulted in significant reductions of 80-90% in bed bug infestations. You can feature ActiveGuard® in more comprehensive prevention programs you have established with your pest control provider. This will provide even higher levels of protection.
Make sure you use the upcoming winter hospitality off-season to prepare your facility and your staff for the winter months. Now is the best time to create a plan regarding bed bugs if you do not already have one. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.