Reputation is everything in the hospitality industry. What guests have to say about their experiences while staying at your establishment can be the make or break of your business.
As a hotel owner, you no doubt feel this pressure more keenly now in the digital age than at any other point in history. A massive 70% of travel consumers consult TripAdvisor before booking a stay at a hotel to find out what previous guests thought about the quality of the accommodation. Others, of course, turn to Booking.com, Trivago, Expedia or even Facebook to conduct their pre-travel research.
One thing is for certain, few reviews will stand out more than those that relate to a pest problem, resulting in a hard-won reputation being ruined overnight. As such, poor pest control can be nothing short of catastrophic to those operating a hotel or B&B, so it’s imperative that you know how to spot signs of infestations early.
Your housekeeping staff are your first line of defence in this regard. They must be provided with adequate pest awareness training so they can recognise the first signs of pest activity before a small problem becomes a large, business-ruining one.
The importance of pest control in housekeeping cannot be overstated. If any member of your housekeeping team spots a tell-tale sign of infestation, they must report it so you can call in pest control professionals immediately.
Pest Control in Housekeeping – Which Pests Pose the Biggest Threat?
The first step towards good pest control in housekeeping is to know precisely which pests you are most likely to be dealing with. What are they and what pest control strategies should your housekeeping team be deploying to keep them at bay?
Bed bugs are a growing problem in the hotel industry. Due to increases in international travel, these insects are being unwittingly transported around the globe – from country to country and from hotel to hotel – on travellers’ clothes and within their suitcases. As such, it is notoriously difficult for any hotel owner to prevent bed bugs from entering their establishment, as it is often guests themselves who bring them in.
“In Europe and the UK it has been getting progressively worse,” Michael Potter, Professor of Entomology at the University of Kentucky, told The Telegraph in January. “People have also become less vigilant than they used to be. Back in the day, they knew to check beds when travelling or after people paid them a visit. Folks are so busy these days, bed bug prevention often takes a back seat to other pressing issues.”
Housekeepers need to be trained to spot signs of bed bug infestation. Moreover, they should carry out daily inspections of all beds, rooms and linen, with procedures in place for reporting and responding to any sightings. Signs of bed bugs include small blood stains on linen and mattresses – caused when the blood-filled insects are squashed by guests turning in their sleep. Faecal stains may also be present, appearing as dark brown or black spots. Shed exoskeletons is another sign – as bed bugs grow, they shed their skins, leaving behind a translucent shell. Live or dead insects may also be spotted, as well as eggs.
If housekeepers spot any of the above signs, procedures must be in place to report the issue immediately. Following this, it is essential that you call in the pest control professionals. There are several options available to hotel owners for dealing with bed bugs. Experienced pest control technicians will know precisely which course of action to take and implement the most appropriate strategy accordingly.
Cockroaches are another problem for pest control in housekeeping. They are primarily nocturnal, preferring to hide during the day in small dark places, such as cracks, crevices, drains and food packaging, making them notoriously difficult to spot.
It is important that your housekeeping team learns how to detect signs of an infestation before your guests encounter a live or dead insect. This is because cockroaches not only pose a threat to your hotel’s reputation but the health and well being of your guests and staff as well. Known to be carriers of dangerous bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella, cockroaches present a very serious health risk to your guests when they are present.
Good cockroach pest control in housekeeping involves implementing sound waste handling processes, storing food in cockroach-proof containers and ensuring good cleaning practices – especially in food storage and preparation areas – are maintained. During these cleaning procedures, housekeepers should also implement a thorough inspection regime so infestations can be quickly identified.
Signs of cockroaches include shed skins, droppings or dark smear marks on surfaces and packaging and a lingering, unpleasant, musty odour. Your housekeeping team should also make a point of searching the dark and damp areas of your hotel’s kitchens and bathrooms – particularly under sinks, fridges, freezers, etc. – for live or dead insects. Any signs of an infestation should be reported without delay to pest control professionals who will implement a plan to eliminate it.
Rats and Mice
When it comes to pest control in housekeeping, the most important thing to do is to remove anything that will attract rats and mice in the first place.
In a hotel environment, this means eliminating their access to food, water and shelter both within and outside the building. Rats and mice are not picky about what they eat. They will attack fresh food if they can and food waste and crumbs will suffice perfectly. As such, food preparation and storage areas must be kept rigorously clean, as must refuse areas which should be swept and scrubbed clean of crumbs and spillages, with all waste sealed in bags and stored in rat and mice-proof bins.
Signs of rodents include greasy smear marks around walls and skirting boards, footprints and tail-prints in dusty areas, droppings, damage to foodstuffs and packaging, shredded soft materials (paper, cardboard, etc.), together with squeaking and scratching noises.
As carriers of numerous dangerous diseases, it is imperative that rat and mice infestations are dealt with quickly. Housekeepers should report any signs as soon as they are discovered, calling the pest control professionals in immediately to deal with the issue.
Hotel Pest Control
Housekeeping staff play a major role when it comes to pest control in hotels. It is they who are most likely to spot the tell-tale signs of infestation first, so it is imperative that they work with an experienced pest control team to know what to look for and what to do should an infestation be discovered.
At Baroque Pest Services part of Safefguard, we have over 30 years’ experience designing and implementing affordable pest control solutions for hotels. Our team will help ensure good pest control in housekeeping standards are maintained and work closely with your staff to keep infestations of any species from taking hold. Our service begins with a free consultation and risk assessment. We will then tailor a contract that meets your business’s precise needs.
Baroque Pest Services serves all kinds of 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.