04/07/2017 | 5 Easy Ways to Keep Pests Out of Your Hotel
If you own or manage a hotel, you’ve probably had the pest nightmare before. There are few things worse for a hotel’s reputation than a pest infestation. No one wants to stay in a hotel if there’s any chance they’ll have to deal with bed bugs… and it’s hard to blame them.
The problem is, hotels are a particularly difficult business to keep pests out of. Pests like bed bugs, roaches, fleas, centipedes, and more all love hitching rides off of unwitting travelers. Assured has seen too many hotels brought low by nothing more than a dumb little bug, which is why we wanted to put together this guide to preventing infestations. You’ve worked too hard on making your guests comfortable to let something as small as a bed bug ruin everything. Follow these steps, and you and your guests can sleep tight.
Pests enter buildings for three reasons: food, water, and shelter. Nothing attracts an infestation more than an easy, constant food source. When hotel guests leave behind dirty dishes, food wrappers, or crumbs, they’re essentially putting up a “vacancy” sign that any opportunistic pests will be more than happy to fill.
To control food sources, start in the kitchen. Make sure you only buy and stock fresh ingredients. Make it part of someone’s job to pay attention to the age of the food you use. Have them dispose of it if it starts getting old. Store all food, but especially grains and sugars, in elevated, sealed plastic containers. Have your staff record who ordered room service and when. Collect room service dishes promptly, and wash them immediately. If you offer a continental breakfast, clean the dining room thoroughly as soon as your guests have eaten.
Clean Up the Laundry
Ironically, a hotel’s laundry room often ends up being one of the dirtiest places in a hotel. Everyone remembers to clean bathrooms frequently, but lint, dust, and dirt can build and build in a laundry room without anyone noticing. This can be a particular problem for very busy hotels. Pests love lint as a nest-building material or even a food source, and any leaks your machines may spring offer them a great source of moisture, as well.
Make sure you sweep, vacuum, mop, and steam clean your laundry room at least as frequently as every other part of the hotel. Inspect your machines for wear and tear frequently, and get any leaks or other issues you find dealt with as quickly as possible. Consider replacing old or worn out machines sooner rather than later, to avoid accumulating maintenance issues that may cost more money in the long term and attract pests in the short term.
Secure the Perimeter
No matter where they’re going or why, pests always use the same methods to get in. They slip through cracks, gaps, tiny openings, or damaged structures. Have maintenance experts patrol the outside and inside perimeter of the hotel, looking for possible avenues of pest infiltration. Pay special attention to dark, humid areas, like the boiler room or basement.
Replace windows, especially on the first floor, frequently, and make sure they’re appropriately weather-stripped. Direct fan flow in the lobby outward, toward the front doors. This is especially important if you have automatic, sliding doors. Find the areas where utility lines such as plumbing, heating, and electricity enter the building, and seal the gaps left behind to accommodate them. Look for structural weaknesses such as rotting wood and replace them as soon as possible. Finally, make sure to regularly sweep outside and around entrances and sidewalks. It sounds silly, but it can keep pests from establishing places to live near your building.
Train the Staff
The best tools you have for preventing pest infestation are your co-workers. If everyone learned how to watch for pests, you’d all be able to identify and deal with possible vulnerabilities in a more efficient manner. Teach employees to look for signs of bed bug infestation while they’re cleaning rooms, or signs of rodent or roach infestation while preparing food.
Look for brownish or black spots on bedding, especially on the undersides or inside the comforter. Small tears or holes left behind in sheets are another probable sign. Look for small bite marks on food, or unexplained dirt or grime left behind on the floor, walls, or the food itself. Have a pest protocol in place so employees know exactly what to do if they notice something. Proactivity is the best way to prevent infestation, and the best way to be proactive is to mobilize your co-workers.
It turns out pests love garbage. Big surprise, right? Dumpsters and overflowing garbage cans are all-you-can-eat buffets for fleas, roaches, rodents, and other undesirables. If you don’t pay close attention to your garbage, so much the better for them. Start by moving your dumpster as far from your main building as possible. The closer it is, the more pests will make the transition from dumpster to building.
Make sure each and every garbage and recycling can is emptied every single day. Encourage your guests to set out trash to be collected, rather than hoarding it in their rooms for housekeeping to find. Store trash in sealed plastic bags, even after you take it to the dumpster. Consider rinsing out any beverage containers you’re throwing out or recycling. Pay special attention to what you’re throwing out if it could be especially attractive to pests, and plan accordingly. Take some time to physically wash out dumpsters and garbage cans at least once every few months. It’s a dirty job, but wiping up the accumulated muck will go a long ways towards keeping pests at bay.
Keeping pests away from hotels may be challenging, but it isn’t impossible. If you have a good, dedicated staff and the knowhow to follow anti-pest protocol, you’ll be able to rest easy, unplagued by the hotel manager’s nightmare--or biting bed bugs, for that matter. Your well-rested guests will thank you for it too!
We’ve made it sound pretty bad, but it’s almost important to remember that even if you do end up with a pest infestation, you have options. You can call Assured Environments and we’ll set you up with our customized Pro-active Bed Bug Protection plan, in which we apply a residual pesticide to cracks and crevices that will continue to be effective long after we leave, at no risk to your customers! Have a great busy season!