HOTEL HOUSEKEEPING: ON THE FRONT LINES IN THE WAR AGAINST BED BUGS
There have been bed bugs for thousands of years, and at least as long as people have been sleeping. However, the use of DDT nearly wiped out the now-common pest in the 40s, 50s and 60s. But DDT use was banned here in the United States in 1972, and the resurgence of bed bugs began. Within the last 10 years in specific, bed bugs have made a dramatic comeback. According to a 2015 Bugs Without Borders Survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky, homes are still overwhelmingly the #1 place where pest control professionals battle the bugs. In second place, nearly 3/4 (74%) of pest control professionals have also battled infestations in hotels, motels and resorts. This explains the rise of consumer concern around bed bugs (a good thing) as well the the proliferation of websites like the Bed Bug Registry (not a good thing!) Hotels, motels and resorts are on the front lines of this battle, and need to be proactive. Having a well trained housekeeping staff is the best place to start!
Every hotel, motel & resort owner knows that quality housekeeping is vital to day-to-day operations AND to building a quality reputation. One bad online review can dissuade future potential guests, hurting the property’s bottom line. Don’t think 1 review can hurt? We recently asked random travelers on the Rehoboth Beach, DE boardwalk about their travel experiences, and what factors play a role in choosing a hotel. Their answers, here in video, prove what 1 bad review can do:
When asked what factors played a role in their decision making, “CLEANLINESS” was at the top of the list. Also of note, most stated that if bed bugs were reported, especially recently, they would stay away from that hotel altogether…Ouch!
On average, housekeepers spend the most amount of time in any given guest room, bested only by the guests themselves. They can easily spend 20 minutes in each unit to clean the rooms between check-ins, not to mention the daily housekeeping duties, the laundry and the turn-down services they perform while the guests are still enjoying their stay! This presents a perfect opportunity for housekeeping to look for signs of a bed bug infestation.
What do bed bugs look like? With proper training, housekeeping could detect bed bug activity BEFORE the next guest arrives. The importance of this kind if training can not be overstated. Proper and thorough training for the housekeeping staff is vital. At the least, your housekeeping staff should be able to identify:
- Bed Bugs in all stages of life
- Bed Bug Eggs
- Empty Bed Bug Casings
- Bed Bug Fecal Matter
- Blood marks on the sheets
This information is available on many sites. We have our own detection link here.
Knowing the signs of bed bugs is only the first step, however. Housekeeping should also know how to deal with an infestation once signs of activity are noted. For instance: How do they handle the linens? Whom do they notify? IS there a protocol for bed bug treatment in such instances? Again, proper and thorough training should cover these areas. (It should be noted, we do not expect any housekeeping employee to exterminate the issue themselves! That should be left to a pest control professional)
At KnowBedBugs, we not only thoroughly train the housekeeping staff on detection, our training program also conducts post-training testing of each employee. KnowBedBugs training covers all facets of the bed bug epidemic, including:
- Bed Bug Biology
- Guest Interaction
KnowBedBugs can help. If you own or manage a hotel or resort property, contact us to get started.
At KnowBedBugs.com we train hotel housekeeping and front desk staff on the identification of bed bugs AND in dealing with their guests should an event occur. After training, each employee is tested. Finally, the hotel is awarded a certification based on the percentage of full-time staff that has trained and passed the testing.
For their part, guests can learn how to identify bed bugs, conduct their own in-room inspections, and even book rooms with certified locations, all from our site at KnowBedBugs.com
We are trying to get out in front of the issue, and understand that it takes cooperation between the hotels and their guests. We are trying to start the conversation.
Check With Us Before You Check In
We Have A Plan!