If thereâ€™s one thing that could probably pose as the ultimate nightmare for hotel businesses, itâ€™s to receive complaints from their customers about a pest sighting, such as a mice infestation.
Imagine if a disgruntled hotel guest were to find a rodent scuttling across the bedroom. They would shriek and squeal. They would perhaps make a swift exit from their hotel room to find a member of the hotel staff to alert them of what they had just witnessed.
At this juncture, we would expect that the hotel apologises, does its due diligence checks and re-accommodates the customer in another hotel room.
But does this guarantee that the customer would not narrate this story to their personal contacts? Or worse, inform the world at large via social media and hotel review sites?
If this were to happen, the hotel would probably have a lot more to clean up along with that particular pest infestation!
To prevent such scenarios from happening, conducting timely reviews of the commercial pest control solutions that you have in place for your hotel may be worth your while.
This is because the technologies deployed in pest control are continually evolving, becoming smarter, more agile, more hygienic and most importantly, more humane in their approach of actually getting rid of the pests.
In addition to this, pest control technologies are being designed in ways that are environmentally friendly as well as being compliant with legislation and regulatory requirements.
Enter Integrated Pest Management
These systems have brought about what is now known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) systems that are redefining commercial pest control solutions like never before.
Take Rentokilâ€™s PestConnect system, for example. It is a system of infra-red devices that detect, capture or humanely kill a variety of pests using traps, bait stations and monitoring units.
The devices send information of pest activity detected to a database on Rentokilâ€™s server and automatically triggers alerts to both Rentokil technicians and business customers via a wireless or GSM network.
This system is integrated with Rentokilâ€™s customer portal, myRentokil, which provides a range of information management facilities that thereby enable the overall IPM function.
As a result, hotel businesses can stay assured that the pest control solutions that they have in place are effective, efficient and compliant.
How to improve housekeeping in hotels using pest control solutions
There are, of course, actions and measures that all the departments of a hotel business can take to ensure that high standards in pest control and general cleanliness are maintained so that the overall reputation of the business stays untarnished.
However, on a granular level, a lot of this responsibility comes within the remit of hotel housekeeping teams, which is why we have put together the following set of suggestions to help you.
1. Bolster communication pathways between your management and housekeeping teams
At the heart of a good business strategy are good communication pathways between the core management and interdepartmental teams. So, why not consider addressing these pointers:
- Does your housekeeping staff know about the pest control solutions that you have in place at your hotel?
- Are they aware of the types of pests and where to check for these within a hotel environment?
- Do they know who to speak to if there is a pest sighting?
- If you have an IPM system in place, does your housekeeping team understand how it works?
2. Provide housekeeping staff with pest awareness training
Whether your hotel is a cosy bed-and-breakfast tucked away in the countryside, or a branch of a global hotel chain, or indeed of any size in between, there is no excuse for not having effective pest control measures in place, because the reputation of your hotel business – coming across as being hygienic and safe – depends on it.
So, no matter how big or small your hotel housekeeping team is, or whether staff members work in shifts or come in once a day, they should be provided with adequate pest awareness training and be given updates on any changes that you intend to apply to their cleaning regimes, such as:
- Removing headboards of a bed to check for bed bugs every 6-12 months.
- Using artificial indoor planting instead of natural plants to reduce the chances of ants, flies and other insects festering within the hotel.
- Checking for any leaks not only in kitchen areas but also guest rooms that have fridges, vending machines in corridors, taps and showers in bathrooms, etc. as these could become breeding areas for cockroaches, ants and mosquitoes.
- Cleaning behind cabinets, washing machines, dryers regularly to prevent rodents and insects from making their homes here.
3. Maintain a pest control logbook
In the event that your housekeeping staff happen to experience a pest sighting or receive a customer complaint, you may wish to introduce a pest control logbook for the team to create records of the sightings and enter information, such as:
- Date and time of the pest sighting:
- Where was the pest found?
- Description of the pest sighting
- Appointment details for the pest control expert
- Staff to accompany the external pest control expert
- Completion Date
- Staff signature
Your housekeeping manager should review the logbook regularly and be able to notify the management team so that necessary steps can be taken.
The science and technologies employed in developing better, smarter commercial pest control solutions are continually evolving. So, itâ€™s worth allotting some time, perhaps on an annual basis, to see what the market has to offer in terms of effectiveness, business integration and cost-efficiencies on pest control products and solutions that your hotel could use.
If you do upgrade, then your housekeeping team ought to be updated on this and be provided with any necessary training so that they can help to make your pest control solutions work for your hotel.