Vital Importance of Proactive Bed Bug Management in Hotels to Prevent Future Infestations

Bed bug infestation is nothing new in the hospitality sector, in fact, with the rapid hike in the Malaysian tourism industry, it is extremely important for hoteliers to ensure that their hotels have established an integrated pest control programme in case of infestations. A recent survey performed at the University of Kentucky proved that nothing drive guests away faster than bed bug problems. 91% of the guests even mentioned that they would not return to the same hotel if they have had a bad experience during their first visit.

According to a report by The Telegraph, a British tourist had an unpleasant experience during her birthday celebration in Langkawi, Malaysia when the 3-star hotel that she checked into was plagued with bed bugs. Incidents like these not only give hotels a bad reputation and discourage return visits, it can also cause severe repercussions, leading to serious financial impacts such as lawsuits.

What should hoteliers do in case of bed bug infestation?

Bed bugs live in the cracks and crevices of walls, bed frames, headboards, bedside tables and draperies. An infestation in a hotel will most likely spread throughout the whole facility by crawling as adult bed bugs and  these creepy crawlers can move up to five feet in about a minute. Besides that, they may also hitchhike their way into hotel rooms through vacuum cleaners, laundry, luggage and even housekeeping trolleys.

Incase of a bed bug infestation breakout, it is recommended for hoteliers to:

  • Assist guests to seek medical assistance for bites if necessary and relocate guests adjacent, side, above and below of the room infested.
  • Document identified areas of bed bug infestations, either through staff, guest complaint and pictures; this will help with the elimination process for the pest control operator.
  • Assist guest to launder their clothing and hotel to replace all linens. Ensure all items are wrapped in plastic bags during room relocation so that bed bugs do not spread during transportation of these items to the laundry or new room.
  • Minimise furniture movements in the infested room to prevent bed bugs from spreading further to other rooms. This restricted movement also applies to the occupant’s belongings, if possible, until the arrival of pest control operator.

Besides reactive actions, preventive measures and early detection are also essential because they are one of the keys in reducing the risk of a full-blown infestation. This can be achieved by carrying out periodic inspections by experienced service technicians.

Why pest education is necessary in minimising potential bed bug infestation?

Housekeepers and hotel staffs are highly encouraged to equip themselves with fundamental bed bug knowledge. Which is why the Bed Bug Awareness Week was initiated and organised annually to provide hoteliers and housekeepers continuous awareness on bed bug issues. Leading pest control company like Rentokil provides educational pest trainings to their customers in the commercial sectors. These trainings are beneficial to the hoteliers as it enables them to understand basic bed bug biology and help them identify the signs of an infestation before it spreads like a wildfire.

The pest control expert also aims to provide hoteliers with complete peace of mind by introducing their 10-day Bed Bug Treatment Programme. Rentokil’s bed bug elimination programme starts off with extensive treatments and it follows with periodic checks to ensure that all bed bugs are eliminated.

“With the growth of online review sites and social media platforms, it has become very easy for consumers to share their bad experiences online. Therefore, hotel owners need to be extra vigilant when it comes to managing bed bug infestations in the hotel facilities because all it takes is one bad review to impact the business negatively.” said Carol Lam, the Managing Director of Rentokil Initial Malaysia.

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