5 ways Hotels can minimise Pest Control Expenditure
Having a safe, proactive and professional pest management plan is vital for hotels. A cockroach scurrying across a restaurant floor or a rat darting out from underneath a bed can instantly ruin your reputation and cost you hundreds of thousands in lost business.
One of the main reasons why pest management is important for those in the hotel industry is that the success of your business hinges on your guests’ experiences. If these guests are confronted with obvious signs of a pest invasion or they encounter a pest firsthand, their impression of your hotel is going to be overwhelmingly negative. Disgruntled guests will then go on to leave poor reviews on public review sites such as Tripadvisor, tarnishing your name in the process.
Pests in your kitchen are also a modern-day nightmare for many hoteliers. Cockroaches have the potential to infect food and rodents are known to damage stock. If a pest problem does arise, there’s even a chance that your hotel won’t meet food safety requirements. Consequently, you’ll be forced to shut down for an indeterminate amount of time.
In this article, we discuss the effects of pests in a hotel environment and provide you with practical and actionable solutions to prevent pest invasions.
How pests can damage your business?
Pests can damage your hotel business in the following ways.
Negative impact on your reputation:
An unsanitary bedroom, common area, kitchen or dining area is guaranteed to attract pests sooner rather than later. Once those first signs of a pest invasion appear, it’s already too late. From then on it’s only a matter of time before the bad reviews flood in and you pest problems are aired on social media. Eventually, the news will spread and your reputation will take a hit. Decreased occupancy rates and a drop in revenue are just a couple of consequences of bad press.
Loss of stock due to contamination:
Bed bugs are known to leave blood all over sheets. Rats can chew through cardboard boxes with ease and ravage their contents. Cockroaches transmit a slew of potentially-dangerous disease to food products and practically anything else they touch. In short, you’ll be required to throw out certain items and ingredients due to pest contamination, which will impact your bottom line.
Sanctions, fines or outright closure:
Failure to manage pests can lead to serious consequences for hotels. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may be subject to devastating sanctions or costly fines. If your pest problem gets out of hand, there’s a possibility your hotel will face outright closure until the problem is satisfactorily rectified. We don’t need to tell you how much lost income an invasion of this scale could lead to.
Increased costs related to treatment:
Treating hotels for common pests can be a lengthy process. During the time it takes to identify, strategise and treat said pests, sections of your hotel may need to be shut down, spoiled food thrown out and building repairs undertaken. The only good news here is that these costs, plus the actual cost of treatment, can be avoided by way of preventative measures.
Why prevention is better than a cure?
When it comes to pest management for hotels, prevention is always better and far more cost-effective than a cure.
If you think that you’re well equipped to handle a pest invasion, you may be in for a rude shock. Many pest invasions go unnoticed until they’ve reached dangerous levels. By then it will be too late and your business will suffer in terms of reputation and financial loss. Not to mention the fact that you will be putting the health of your guests, staff and yourself at risk
Prevention is more affordable in the long run, faster in terms of eradication times and better for business in just about every conceivable way.
The top 4 most common hotel pests
These are the most common pest types that you’re likely to encounter within the hotel industry.
● Offspring per female: Up to 500 in a year
● Time till maturity: 10 weeks
● Size of adult: 4-5 mm
● Size of adult: 4-5 mm
● Signs of invasion: Dried blood on linen or mattress, eggs in bedding, live bed bugs
● Threats: Feed on human blood, cause itches and skin irritation
Bedbugs are a notoriously stubborn pest and are therefore tricky to eradicate. They are tiny, tough and with so many places for them to hide in a hotel, they’re able to thrive undetected for extended periods of time. Treating bedbugs as soon as they have been found is vital if you want to stop them from spreading. This means destroying infected bedding or mattresses or subjecting them to a special eco-friendly chemical wash.
● Offspring per female: 5-6 batches of 150 eggs
● Time till maturity: 7-10 days
● Size of adult: 5-8 mm
● Average lifespan: 15-30 days
● Signs of invasion: Buzzing near garbage, maggots, clusters of small dark spots
● Threat: Contamination of food, known carriers of over 100 diseases
Flies can be more than just a nuisance in a hotel; they can be a downright catastrophe. If you choose to ignore the first signs of a fly infestation, you will pay for it further down the track. Some species bite humans or animals and all of them have the ability to transmit disease. Just the mere sight and sound of flies in a hotel dining area can undermine your reputation.
● Offspring per female: 12 egg cases with up to 24 eggs
● Time till maturity: 6-12 months
● Size of adult: 30-40 mm
● Average lifespan: 8 months
● Signs of invasion: Droppings (like ground coffee), smear marks, egg capsules, unusual odour
● Threats: Cause food poisoning, spread tapeworms, carriers of poliovirus
Nothing sends guests in the other direction quite like the sight of a large cockroach in their room. For hoteliers, learning that you have a cockroach infestation can be incredibly distressing. Like bedbugs, they are hard to eliminate with the ability to breed rapidly. They are also prolific disease carriers, able to spread salmonella, dysentery, gastro-enteritis and even the poliovirus. Given that the wellbeing of all those in your hotel is at stake, any signs of a cockroach infestation should spur immediate action.
4. Rodents (rats)
● Offspring per female: 5-10 young per litter and between 3-6 litters per year
● Time till maturity: 12-16 weeks
● Size of adult: 16-24 cm
● Average lifespan: 1-2 years
● Signs of invasion: Scratching noises, rat droppings, gnaw marks, footprints
● Signs of invasion: Scratching noises, rat droppings, gnaw marks, footprints
Once rats have gained entry to your hotel they will introduce parasites, contaminate food, damage stock and chew through cables or furniture. They are notorious for spreading disease and are well-known for breeding quickly. It’s only a matter of a few weeks before the common black rat reaches sexual maturity, which means a small rodent problem can rapidly transform into a major infestation. Like cockroaches, rats can cause great alarm when spotted on a hotel’s premises.
Tips for minimising pest control expenditure
1. Have an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) involves using a systematic and sustainable approach to stop pests in their tracks before they have a chance to spread.
An IPM plan is formulated in collaboration with hotel management, staff and your contractor, which means it’s also tailored to your premises and your unique situation. Whereas basic pest control is considered reactive, IPM is proactive in the way it seeks to treat pest invasions.
All IPM measures are designed to have a minimal impact on people and the environment, and pesticide chemicals are only used as a last resort. For hoteliers, an IPM is safer and decidedly more capable of preventing pest invasions. Not to mention it is also considerably more cost-effective.
2. Ensure staff follow best practices
Preventing pests with an Integrated Pest Management plan is one thing, but it’s important that your kitchen, maintenance and cleaning staff also follow best practices as well.
Some key measures that staff can implement include prioritising food hygiene, sealing entry points, conducting regular inspections and disposing of waste safely so that it doesn’t attract unwanted visitors. Ensuring food is not freely available is also a major factor in thwarting a potential take over.
At the end of the day, even the most thorough IPM plan can be torpedoed by a lack of pest management education on behalf of your staff. In this regard, basic pest management training can go a long way in reducing the possibility of an invasion in your hotel.
3. Monitor your hotel for the early signs of a pest invasion
Due to the ubiquitous nature of many common hotel pests, it’s important that your staff know how to identify the early signs of a pest invasion.
Room cleaners can look for evidence of bed bugs in mattresses and sheets. Building maintenance staff can keep an eye on rodent, bird, bee or wasp activity in hard to access areas. Kitchen staff can reduce the likelihood of flies and cockroaches by monitoring garbage bins, storage rooms and food serving areas.
Essentially, by having staff regularly review areas of your hotel that have been deemed susceptible to pest intrusion, you lessen the risk of an outright pest invasion ever occurring.
4. Respond quickly to pest problems as they arise
Hotels can be brought down in an instant with one social media post from a disgruntled guest. This can then translate into a sharp decline in bookings and ultimately a loss of revenue for your business.
The key to making a pest problem go away before it can harm your reputation or the health of your staff or guests is by responding quickly to the first signs of an invasion. Whatever you do, do not try and sweep the issue under the rug and pretend you do not have a problem.
By employing a trained pest management team to create an Integrated Pest Management plan for your hotel, you can take care of unexpected pest problems in rapid time and turn negative pest experiences into positive ones.
5. Employ an experienced local pest prevention team
The best method for minimising pest control expenditure in your hotel is by engaging the services of Competitive Pest Control.
We will help you develop an Integrated Pest Management plan that’s tailored to your business and your budget by providing a range of cost-effective preventative measures. We can also carry out regular inspections of your hotel and provide expert advice to staff on the safest and most effective ways to control pests.
In addition, our experts will make accurate records of any pest activity within your hotel, thereby ensuring you comply with all legislative requirements plus the relevant health and safety standards.
Call 1300 766 614 today to minimise pest control expenditure in your hotel.
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