The guest experience is everything for travellers. They want warmth, comfort, good food and cleanliness. Nothing less will suffice. Nor should it.
Hospitality is a competitive industry and in the age of social media and online review sites, a positive guest experience is the main criterion travellers use to select an establishment. As such, hoteliers and B&B owners must work around the clock to ensure their reputations are spotless. Rooms, halls and lobbies need to be kept immaculately clean. All food served must be well-prepared, tempting and piping hot on arrival. Linens need to be regularly changed and shared facilities kept to a pristine sheen.
Unfortunately however, all this hard work can quickly be undone should a pest infestation take hold. An encounter with a pest of any nature will not only ruin a guest’s stay but if grievances are aired online, a once gleaming reputation can be destroyed overnight. Regular pest control contracts delivered by experienced professionals are the only way to ensure your hotel or B&B never has to face such a disaster.
Common Hotel and B&B Pests and How to Spot Them
Rats, mice, cockroaches and bed bugs are the most common pests to plague hotels and B&Bs. Combined, an abundance of food, food waste and a frequent turnover of travellers create an environment which puts these establishments at an increased risk of attracting pests.
Let’s consider the infestation signs you need to look out for.
Much like your paying patrons, rats and mice are attracted to hotels and B&Bs by a good supply of food and shelter. Unlike your guests however, their presence causes big problems for your business. Rats and mice are carriers of numerous diseases – including Weil’s disease, salmonella and E. coli– which can spread to humans through bites, scratches and food contamination. It is simply untenable to allow these creatures into your establishment where they will put your staff and your customers at risk.
Both species will leave evidence of their presence including droppings and urine stains– so cleaning staff must always be on the lookout when attending to rooms. They will leave greasy smear marks around walls, hallways and skirting boards. Kitchen staff should also keep an eye out for damage to foodstuffs and packaging. When nesting, rats and mice will shred soft materials such as cardboard and paper and piles of these materials is a sure indication of their presence. Squeaking and scratching noises may also be heard – particularly at night when the rodents are most active.
If you or any of your staff spot or hear these tell-tale signs, a pest control contract should be implemented immediately.
Cockroaches are photosensitive so are primarily nocturnal, taking shelter in small dark places – such as cracks and crevices, drains and food packaging – during the day, emerging at night to search for food.
In hotels and B&Bs, a cockroach infestation can take hold in kitchens, restaurant areas, shared washrooms and guest rooms. There are four different species of cockroach that are common in the UK – the German cockroach, the oriental cockroach, the American cockroach and the brown-banded cockroach. They each have slightly different habitat preferences, although all generally prefer warm, humid places.
Cockroaches pose a serious health risk and can spread diseases including salmonella and dysentery. Regular pest control contracts must be sought to deal with a cockroach infestation.
The signs to look out for include shed cockroach skins, which are translucent and cockroach-shaped. You may also spot droppings or smear marks and notice a lingering, unpleasant, musty odour when your hotel or B&B has a cockroach problem. Staff can also proactively look for cockroaches by paying special attention to the dark and damp areas of your building’s kitchens and bathrooms (underneath sinks, fridges, freezers, etc.), scanning for shed skins as well as live or dead insects.
Reports that the UK is facing an exponential increase in bed bug infestations should be a big concern for hoteliers and B&B owners.
The rise in numbers is no doubt related to the rise in international travel, as the insects are known to “hitch hike” from place to place in luggage and clothing. Hotels and B&Bs are particularly susceptible to infestations due to the high volume of people that pass through their establishments.
When an infestation takes hold, problems ensue. For example, your reputation may be dented when guests start to complain about their experience of being bitten during the night. Then, with a damaged reputation, fewer people will make bookings and you may well have to lower the price of your rooms to fill them.
Your housekeeping team need to be trained to spot signs of a bed bug infestation. These include blood stains on bedding where the bugs are squashed by guests turning in their sleep. Another sign is shed skins – as bed bugs grow, they shed their skins about once a week, leaving behind a translucent, bed bug-shaped shell. You may also spot the insects’ eggs.
If any of your guests complain that they have been bitten, you will need to seek a pest control contract to deal with the matter urgently.
Regular Pest Control Contracts
Prevention is far better than cure when it comes to controlling hotel and B&B pest infestations, which is why regular pest control contracts are an absolute must for all business owners.
At Baroque Pest Services part of Safeguard, we have over 30 years’ experience designing and implementing affordable regular pest control contracts for businesses in the hospitality sector. Our pest control service begins with a free consultation and risk assessment. We will then tailor a contract that suits your business’ precise needs.
Baroque Pest Services serve industries including Bars, Pubs, Cafés, Restaurants, Hotels and B&Bs, as well as Nursing Homes, Factories, Warehouses and Organic Farms.
Contact your local pest control specialist today for a free quotation.