Mr. Meek

Security & Safety

Defend Your Hotel Against 'Occasional Invaders'

By Frank Meek, International Technical & Training Director, Orkin, LLC

Proper prevention of occasional invaders naturally starts by understanding a little bit about their behavior. They all have something in common. The outdoors. In most cases, they would prefer to stay outside, but when something makes them uncomfortable in their natural home, they won't hesitate to seek better quarters. Weather - too much rain, not enough rain, too hot, too cold - can encourage them to head for more hospitable environments. Scarcity of food sources or larger predator populations - often tied to weather patterns - also can drive them inside. So, when weather patterns get out of balance in any one direction, expect pests of all kinds to be more of a problem.

Of all commercial buildings, hotels make especially attractive targets for pests on the move. With around-the-clock foot traffic through multiple entrances, they can offer a multitude of opportunities for pests to get inside.

The next step is correct identification. Most hoteliers consult pest management professionals to correctly identify their occasional invaders, but not always. A pest problem may be recurring, making proper identification easier. The official list of occasional invaders in pest control textbooks includes "minor pests" like beetles, weevils, various aquatic insects, caterpillars, centipedes, scorpions and slugs, just to name a few. The actual list is much longer, and few of our hotel customers would call them minor.

If you or your staff have noticed unusual insects or rodents in or around your establishment, it could mean they are invading in large numbers. Typically, infestations have to be significant before the pest becomes a visible nuisance. Because many occasional invaders are seasonal, in some cases time could fix the problem for you, but guests and foodservice inspectors probably won't be willing - to put it mildly - to give you the time to let nature correct the imbalances that drove the pests to your door. As with most problems that crop up when running a hotel, this one calls for immediate action.

Applying pesticide to potential pest entry points is standard operating procedure for many pest management professionals, but it's not always the best way to control occasional invaders. Often, the best treatment is a non-chemical approach, especially for a hotel, where chemical odors or the sight of a technician with his applicator can be a major turnoff for guests.

For almost any pest, an Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, approach that combines several methods of control will get the job done with reduced pesticides. Eliminating sources of moisture or food is one part of the IPM equation, and keeping pests from entering in the first place is another. Consider the following simple IPM steps to significantly reduce your vulnerability to occasional invaders:

  • Rake the mulch covers around the building so the soil underneath can dry out.
  • Cut back on watering flowerbeds and other landscaping around the building if the mulch cover is starting to break down and deteriorate. Or, simply replace the mulch periodically.
  • Install revolving doors in the most heavily trafficked entrances to keep a constant barrier between indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • Place door sweeps on other exterior doors to block crawling pests.
  • Seal holes and unnecessary openings in the foundation to prevent pest entry.
  • Make sure window screens are in good repair. Even a tiny hole should be patched or the screen should be replaced.
  • Hotels with foodservice should inspect all incoming food shipments for signs of pest contamination.

Certainly, there are many more steps you could take as part of a vigilant IPM program to prevent pests - occasional or otherwise. If you'd like more information on how to implement a full-scale IPM program in your hotel, you should consult a licensed pest management professional. Most major IPM service providers offer free, on-site consultations on request.

An industry veteran, Frank Meek has been with Orkin since 1986. In 2003, he was named among the future leaders of the pest management industry in Pest Control Technology magazine’s “40 Under 40” ranking. Currently, as the International Technical and Training Director, Mr. Meek provides technical support and training in both sales and service to Orkin's international franchises, helping them grow and develop in their specific markets. As a board-certified entomologist, Mr. Meek teaches Integrated Pest Management principles and can explain how to use all available methodologies to prevent pest infestations in various commercial settings. Mr. Meek can be contacted at 404-888-2898 or fmeek@rollinscorp.com Extended Bio...

HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by HotelExecutive.com.

Receive our daily newsletter with the latest breaking news and hotel management best practices.
Hotel Business Review on Facebook
RESOURCE CENTER - SEARCH ARCHIVES
General Search:

MARCH: Human Resources: Inspiring a Journey of Success

Cara Silletto

Ever wonder what planet your new hires are from? For most, it is called Millennialland. It is my homeland, and it is a whole different world than where Boomers and GenXers were born. So why are your younger workers from this strange land so hard to understand, manage and retain? Why is it that they lack the loyalty of those who came before them? Why do they need so much handholding in the workplace? And where does this tremendous sense of entitlement come from? Allow me to explain. READ MORE

Nicole Price

You’re just being politically correct! In America, being politically correct has taken a new meaning and now has a negative connotation. But why? Definitions can help identify the reason. The definition of political correctness is “the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially discriminated against.” In simple terms, political correctness is going to the extreme to avoid insulting socially disadvantaged groups. What could be wrong with that? The issue is not them or the term, it’s us! READ MORE

Kimberly Abel-Lanier

Engaging and retaining talented, trained workers is a critical component of success for any business in any sector. When employees are disengaged or turnover is high, organizations face challenges of subpar customer service, high costs, and human resource inefficiencies. Gallup estimates rampant disengagement among employees costs American businesses between $450 billion and $550 billion per year. High turnover also carries exorbitant costs to organizations, averaging approximately 1.5x an employee’s salary for replacement. In the hospitality sector, delivery of impactful customer experiences is strongly connected to employee engagement and satisfaction. Happy, engaged employees can make happy, loyal customers. Currently; however, the hospitality sector suffers higher than average employee turnover. READ MORE

Michael Warech

So where will we find the next generation of leaders in the hospitality industry? Like their counterparts in other business sectors, this question remains top-of-mind for those responsible for finding, managing, and developing the talent needed to ensure the vitality of their organizations. While, arguably, not as glamorous as a new guest amenity or as important as a cost-saving innovation, there is nothing more critical than talent to succeed in an increasingly competitive and challenging global business environment. Leveraging the best strategies and tactics related to talent management, succession planning, workforce planning, training and leadership development are, quite possibly, a company’s most critical work. READ MORE

Coming Up In The April Online Hotel Business Review




Feature Focus
Guest Service: The Personalized Experience
In the not-too-distant future, when guests arrive at a hotel, they will check themselves in using a kiosk in the lobby, by- passing a stop at the front desk. When they call room service to order food, it will be from a hotel mobile tablet, practically eliminating any contact with friendly service people. Though these inevitable developments will likely result in delivered to their door by a robot. When they visit a restaurant, their orders will be placed and the bill will be paid some staff reduction, there is a silver lining – all the remaining hotel staff can be laser-focused on providing guests with the best possible service available. And for most guests, that means being the beneficiary of a personalized experience from the hotel. According to a recent Yahoo survey, 78 percent of hotel guests expressed a desire for some kind of personalization. They are seeking services that not only make them feel welcomed, but valued, and cause them to feel good about themselves. Hotels must strive to establish an emotional bond with their guests, the kind of bond that creates guest loyalty and brings them back time and again. But providing personalized service is more than knowing your guests by name. It’s leaving a bottle of wine in the room of a couple celebrating their anniversary, or knowing which guest enjoys having a fresh cup of coffee brought to their room as part of a wake-up call. It’s the small, thoughtful, personal gestures that matter most and produce the greatest effect. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.