In the hotel industry, one of the most damaging reviews that you receive from guests is ‘unclean rooms’. Sometimes these complaints are based on legitimate mistakes made by the cleaning team and other times they are based upon unrealistic expectations from the guest or misunderstandings. As the old saying goes, you can’t please everyone all of the time.
However, in the era of COVID, hygiene has taken center stage in the hotel industry with customers demanding more and more cleaning measures. This, of course, comes at a time when the hotel sector is struggling to find cleaners.
Of all the potential complaints a hotel might receive, the one that many hotel managers dread is a bed bug infestation. The question hotel managers often ask is: ‘how do I prevent bed bugs from spreading to other rooms’?
There are ways you can prevent the possible spread of bed bugs from one room to another. The best approach is to put preventative measures in place to catch infestations before they spread.
How Bed Bugs ‘Check In’ to Your Hotel
The main way that bed bugs arrive in your hotel is on the clothing or luggage of guests who check-in and out of your hotel daily. Once the guest puts their things on the carpet or the bedding - the bug will inevitably crawl off of the luggage and into your hotel.
It is easy for the situation to escalate quickly, as the breeding cycle of bed bugs is very quick. A female bed bug can lay anything between one and seven eggs every day - and most produce anything between 250 to 500 eggs in their lifetime. This means that your problem can multiply exponentially in a short amount of time - requiring you to make fast decisions to minimize the damage.
How Can Bed Bugs Travel From Room to Room?
There is a lot of misinformation about how bed bugs spread between rooms. Contrary to popular opinion, they do not jump around and across halls. Once they have transferred from a guest’s luggage to your hotel, bed bugs can crawl quickly; up to 4 ft in one minute. There is also the possibility that they could catch a ride on the cleaning team’s materials (like a vacuum or trolley) and move quickly from room to room.
Once in the next room, the cycle continues until more rooms are infested. During this time, if the bugs are not identified, departing guests will take bed bugs with them either back to their own homes or the next hotel.
The more rooms that are infested with a higher number of bed bugs, the higher the risk of guest complaints and the higher the financial risk.
Preventing the Spread
There are a myriad of ways that you can prevent the spread of and help control bed bugs between rooms within your hotel.
Training your staff to identify the initial signs of a bed bug infestation is an integral preventative measure that you can take. The cleaning staff are one of the lines of defence against an infestation breaking out. All of the linen in the room is washed at a high temperature, as well as all furniture pieces properly vacuumed. Once identified, the race to find how far the infestation has spread begins.
The next step would be to check all adjacent rooms for infestation and seal off any affected areas from further human spreading. The final step would be to have pest control come in and treat all of the affected rooms/floors - stopping you from being able to rent out the room(s) for a period of time.
Customer service is also a great way to keep communication between staff and guests open and clear. Checking in regularly with guests, as well as pushing for feedback as quickly as possible allows you to determine whether they have experienced any issues with bed bugs - allowing you to act faster and stop the spread.
By identifying the problem as early as possible, you limit the amount of damage that the bed bugs can cause to both your finances and your reputation.
Spotta, a Smart System to Identify Bed Bugs
The problem with the conventional approach to identifying Bed Bugs is that with the current labor shortage, your cleaning staff are being asked to clean more rooms, faster than ever. It’s not fair (and not entirely possible) to also make them your front line of defense against bed bugs.
At Spotta we’ve built a different solution that is currently in use in hotels across the US and in Europe. Our system uses smart devices that alert you when there is a bed bug in one of your rooms. This allows you to treat that room and stop the bed bugs before they spread.