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Hospitality

Today’s consumers are more educated than ever. They seek information from everywhere but most notably online. Consumers have also become more outspoken – with the opportunity to spread information via social media more tempting than some of the dishes they order. A Google survey of 1000 Canadians between the ages of 18 and 65 explored the things that lead to restaurant selection – 39% of the respondents indicated that they would choose the restaurant with the best online reviews.

It’s a daily problem for restaurants. Modern living conditions, urbanisation and changes in climate have made the spread of pests and pest-borne diseases a credible threat. But can a rat, fly and beetle take on an impossible mission by breaching the Rentokil defences to infiltrate a restaurant, causing maximum destruction for brand, income and reputation?

Restaurants, commercial kitchens and other businesses in the food service industry have a responsibility for protecting public health by preventing contamination of food and transmission of pest-borne diseases inside their premises.

To appeal to hotel guests, restaurant dinners or leisure customers and ensure repeat custom, the hospitality industry needs to focus on two vital areas: pest control and hygiene.

Businesses in the hospitality industry are expected to actively control pests under both food safety law and health and safety law. There is a duty of care to provide a safe environment for employees, customers, contractors and other people. Businesses are therefore expected to employ qualified pest control professionals and to use safe and legal pest management methods.

Multiple business types in the hospitality sector focus around providing their customers with food and drink which can be eaten on-premises or for takeaway. These can include hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes and sandwich shops.

Evidence suggests that the rise in global travel has led to the increase of bed bugs in hotels. Hotel operators are at risk of both accumulating and spreading bed bug infestations due to the high amount of human traffic they receive.

Much has been written about the potential of the Internet of Things to revolutionise the industry and our lives since scientists at Carnegie Mellon University connected a Coke machine to the Internet in 1982.

Hotels are adopting technology to improve the customer experience, stand out from the competition and improve efficiency in hotel operations. This includes technology-enabled systems such as automated check-in and check-out, keyless and card-less access, energy management, online access and services for guests via apps. Hotels are also using data to get more insights into their guests so they can deliver a more personal experience.

In the US, the hotel sector is a US$176 billion a year industry catering for 5 million people each night in about 5 million guest rooms in 53,000 properties.

If there’s one thing that could probably pose as the ultimate nightmare for hotel businesses, it’s to receive complaints from their customers about a pest sighting, such as a mice infestation.

When did we decide that a high-spec HD television in our hotel room was ‘to be expected’? Is it essential that same television screen now allows us to control the heating, open the blinds and order room service?

The last thing a hotel wants is negative publicity. These days, there is a myriad of ways this can happen. Stories can appear in the local news from failed food hygiene audits, poor reviews on TripAdvisor or comments from disgruntled hotel guests on social media; and there’s little else which incites as much protest as finding pests in a hotel.

Tolerance for poor customer service is rapidly shrinking in the travel industry. Within the hotel sector, one bad experience is enough to turn off customers from using a particular brand, according to results from a 2016 survey...