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Are Complaints About Bedbugs Biting into Your Reputation

Written by Kevin Robinson

Date Published: Thursday June 20, 2024
Est. Reading: 5 minutes
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Let’s be realistic. A bedbug infestation is a problem for every accommodation provider.

Unfortunately, caravans, care homes, Airbnb’s, hotels, motels, hostels and just about every other kind of temporary accommodation, can easily be a home to bedbugs and fleas... and no matter how clean, no accommodation is immune. 

 

 The big bedbug problem

If you look through social media, or flick through a review site such as TripAdvisor, it feels like we are in the middle of a bedbug epidemic. Sadly, there is some truth in this. Reported cases of bedbugs have been rising throughout the UK and our hotels and holiday camps are taking an unfair beating on social media for it. To give you an idea of the kind of feedback this out there on the social platforms, here are a few snippets from recent reviews on TripAdvisor.

 

  • ‘We had a great time ... BUT WE BOUGHT HOME BED BUGS... months of anxiety and panic, not being able to sleep in my own bed without worrying. I sadly won’t be visiting here again, it’s just not worth it. Bed bugs are horrendous to eradicate and I will be on high alert now wherever we holiday. ********** please have regular, thorough pest control checks!! You have sadly lost what was a happy customer group.’

 

  • ‘I awoke at 9am and had a shower. I returned to my bed and wondered what the black spots were all over my pillow. I couldn’t work it out until I lifted the pillow to find bed bugs crawling over the sheet and more on the mattress.’

 

  • ‘I have now spent considerable money fumigating all my clothes, bags and possessions before bringing them back into my home… preventing bed bugs (or taking a single piece of action upon the discovery of bed bugs) ought to be the bare minimum. I am appalled and advise you to avoid ********* or any of its cousins.’

 

All pretty unfavourable stuff to say the least, and they are not the only examples. There are similar reviews on pretty much every major brand and other accommodation. As I said earlier though, these may well be a little unfair for a very simple reason. The truth is that bedbugs and fleas have evolved to be resistant to control methods and difficult to remove. To make matters worse even deep cleaning has little impact on them. Aso, despite your best efforts, it’s almost impossible to prevent a reinfestation because guests, and their pets, can bring them in again.

The only practical approach to bedbugs and fleas is to accept the problem is there, immediately use effective control methods and then do as much as possible to prevent re-infestation.

 

The financial cost and hidden cost of bedbugs.

These nasty unwanted guests are doing more than generating a few complaints. They impact they have on your bottom line can be quite considerable. Costly chemical or heat treatments are quite effective, however, treating even a relatively small space can cost hundreds. For larger suites, lodges, Airbnb’s and caravan type accommodation, it can be over £1000 just to initially control the problem.  Add the cost for further treatment if the problem returns, and the hit from much needed accommodation being out of service, and the numbers really start to rise.

Logistically speaking, even if you manage to the get pest control team in quickly, you are probably looking at accommodation being out of commission for 1 – 2 weeks for each infestation. For somewhere like a holiday park or short stay hotel, where multiple simultaneous outbreaks are possible, bedbugs can cost 10k plus in lost revenue and reparation costs.

Sadly, people also often unfairly equate bedbugs with unsanitary conditions and take to the internet to share their opinions. The damage done by reviews mentioning bedbugs is incalculable. The physical cost of an infestation goes well beyond the monetary value. It seeps into future bookings and tarnishes your brand reputation.

It’s unfair, but there it is.

 

Why are bedbugs and fleas so hard to get rid of?

These unwanted bloodsuckers survive by hiding and a flea or bedbug can lie dormant for months. That means even a newly deep cleaned, area could already be occupied with the little pests without you knowing. Once the sense prey, they emerge, and the problems begin.

There are several ways to exterminate them, but they are highly adept at hiding themselves and their eggs which makes them difficult to treat. As we already mentioned, heat and chemical treatments work very well, but they can be very harsh, and they require expensive specialists to apply.

Fleas have a similar pattern of hibernation. They are also incredibly sensitive when it comes to sensing that new victims are nearby. With most accommodation having dog friendly accommodation, the chances of fleas being introduced is really not about how clean the areas are, it is about how conscientious the previous dog owner was about flea treating their furry friends.

 

How to control bedbugs with a low-cost ozone option.

Our ozone generators, such as the Eclipse series, may well be familiar to you. They are standard equipment for odour and virus control for almost all the major brands in hotel and holiday accommodation throughout the UK. What you may not know is that the larger machines are also effective against bedbugs and fleas. The higher levels of ozone they produce will kill the bugs but, possibly more importantly, it will also attack and destroy the eggs helping to prevent re-infestation. As soon as you have an infestation you can deploy the Eclipse in the vacant room to control it. If you catch the problem early, the Eclipse should be able to contain it and get your room back in service within hours rather than days.

While the Eclipse is not a replacement for the chemical or heat treatment needed for a heavy or particularly persistent bedbug problem, it is an effective control for early infestations and on-going prevention. It can also be used as part of your regular maintenance or cleaning processes.

A member of your housekeeping or maintenance team just needs to prepare the room properly, plug in and then set the timer and output on Eclipse Pro to the right level. They can then go about their other tasks and then leave it to do its job. A few hours later you should have controlled the problem and, as an added feature, destroyed any Norovirus, Covid or other pathogens (including fungal spores) in the room. Of course, the ozone will also have removed and destroyed any odours such as urine, dogs and cannabis as well.

 

See our Download on how to use the Eclipse Pro in the fight against bedbugs here.

 

Our hospitality clients find the low cost purchase of an Eclipse Pro is more than justified in dealing with odour but when you add in the virus protection and the bedbug problem, it is more than just cost effective, it is an essential item for any busy provider of accommodation.

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Watchman (Ozone) Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 07694084
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