{468x60.media}
Mr. Meek

Security & Safety

Control Odors to Entice Guests, Not Pests

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

To control odors, we must first understand what causes them. Odors are typically caused by the presence of the bacteria produced during decomposition. As an organic material starts to break down, bacteria grow. These bacteria produce gas, such as sulfur and nitrogen, and acids that are detectable in the form of odors. The larger the amount of organic material present, the stronger the odor can become. The odor also lingers until the organic material has completed the decomposition process.

Sewage spillage under a slab is one example of organic decomposition. When a sewage pipe is ruptured and leaks or spills under the concrete slab or in a crawl space, the organic material starts to break down and produce gas. This gas will soon be detectable as an odor.

Likewise, material in unkempt grease traps and floor drains produces "sewer gas" when the material inside begins to go through the decomposition process. This creates another "pest" odor. Trash and debris left in the bottom of a dumpster produce the same problem for the same reasons.

So, proper odor management involves good sanitation practices. Other management techniques should be used, but may not be successful without the sanitation element.

Sometimes, pests themselves cause odors. If a rodent becomes trapped and expires, for example, odors will be released as soon as the decomposition process begins, as with any organic material. In terms of producing odor, size matters. Smaller rodents like mice typically do not have a very noticeable or long-lasting odor because the amount of fluid in the body is very small. Their bodies dry out quickly and the odor-causing bacteria become inactive. When that occurs, the ability to produce gas stops and the odor goes away. Conversely, a larger rodent will produce a more intense and longer lasting odor if it expires anywhere inside your hotel and begins to decompose.

Another problem with odors is that they can attract insects and other pests that otherwise may not have been attracted to your hotel. Odor management is critical to managing a number of insects including houseflies and blowflies that can annoy guests and compromise your hotel's reputation.

Odor management can be divided into two types of processes: masking and elimination.

Masking

Masking of odors is a fairly simple procedure. It is also very temporary. This is the primary mode of action for most over-the-counter sprays. A lot of devices used by Pest Management Professionals, or PMPs, fall into this category. Odor-masking agents can be used to alter the environment by producing a pleasant, foreign smell as a diversion or enhancement to the actual smells present. An example would be placing a battery-operated fan unit in a bar or lounge area that places an odor of pin'a colada in the air.

Proprietors often use this kind of technique as a mood enhancer. If your guests are surrounded by a certain fragrance, it can enhance their experience and even drive sales of certain items. Masking is a form of subliminal messaging that is used in many types of businesses. Movie theaters sometimes fill the air with the smell of popcorn to drive concession sales. Malls are filled with retailers that use all kinds of odors to lure customers inside and encourage them to shop longer.

Odor maskers also are commonly used in restrooms. Consumers will often relate the smell and appearance of the bathroom facilities to their overall opinion of the hotel. For this reason, PMPs routinely provide this service for their hospitality clients.

Elimination

Odor elimination can also be a simple task if enough time and planning are put into it up front. To state it plainly, elimination is simply getting rid of the source of the odor. Sometimes, a rodent or other animal may expire on the premises and need to be removed. Other times, applying materials to the immediate area around an offensive smell can eliminate odors. These materials may be disinfectants designed to kill the bacteria that are producing the offense or may be other bacteria designed to find the organic substance and speed the decomposition along.

Keep in mind that true odor elimination may not be a one-time shot. It may require several treatments to neutralize the problem. That said, odor elimination can be incorporated into your routine maintenance program. Biological materials are readily available today for floor and drain cleaning. These materials are applied to the floor on a daily basis, often as a replacement for some or all floor cleaning products. The biological products keep organic debris from building up in the drains and on the floor under equipment. If the debris is not allowed to build up, there is no material to decompose and thus no odors.

In many facilities, combinations of masking and elimination products are needed to accomplish the task of odor control. For instance, the restrooms may need masking products while the floors are treated regularly with elimination materials.

Selecting the Right Program

When selecting an odor management program, it is important for you to get the particulars of the service in writing from your supplier. If masking agents are to be used, how many will be used? Where will they be installed? How often will they be serviced? What will be done at each service? Will the fragrance be changed periodically? If elimination materials are to be applied, how often will this occur? Will your employees or the service provider apply the materials? All of these questions should be answered before you start any odor control program in your hotel.

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:

NOVEMBER: Architecture & Design: Authentic, Interactive and Immersive

Brian Obie

When people arrive at a hotel they have usually traveled a long distance. They are typically tired and stressed to some degree or another depending on how easy or difficult the journey. When they finally come into our driveway and understand this is where they should be – with the valet right there ready to greet them – they get the sense that they can finally relax. There’s a huge sense of relief. They now can begin their business trip or holiday with the family knowing they will be rested and renewed. READ MORE

Rob Uhrin

When you think of the word resort, what comes to mind? Upscale amenities such as white sandy beaches, luxury pools, first class dining and entertainment and the ultimate spa experience to name a few. The word “resort” probably does not conjure up images of urban cityscapes, or streets filled with busy pedestrians in business suits. There is a new class of resorts coming to the fore in the hospitality industry right now called urban resorts. This article will explore this new type of transformational city design and how to achieve it. READ MORE

Vince  Stroop

In a time when experiences are moments-long and shared over Instagram by many users, it is hard to top the surprise factor when it comes to creating a new destination. Nor should we, as hotel designers, try. With the pace of changing trends that is being communicated to us by branding agencies, designing the next new thing can be tempting. But I am not sure that’s what guests genuinely seek. And judging from the rise of Airbnb, I may be right on my guess that guests want memorable, meaningful experiences, not more selfies. READ MORE

Michael Tall

An urban resort is a property that connects guests to the unique and vibrant elements within a city and outside the hotel. The hotel itself acts as a concierge service, forming a direct link between the local community and those guests who crave localized and authentic excursions. With no signs of slowing down, the urban resort trend is here to stay, and hoteliers can successfully capitalize on this growing segment by keeping the guest experience in mind. At its core, an urban resort is a respite from daily life, offering guests the freedom to choose between relaxed disconnection or active participation within the local community. READ MORE

Coming Up In The December Online Hotel Business Review




{300x250.media}
Feature Focus
Hotel Law: Issues & Events
There is not a single area of a hotel’s operation that isn’t touched by some aspect of the law. Hotels and management companies employ an army of lawyers to advise and, if necessary, litigate issues which arise in the course of conducting their business. These lawyers typically specialize in specific areas of the law – real estate, construction, development, leasing, liability, franchising, food & beverage, human resources, environmental, insurance, taxes and more. In addition, issues and events can occur within the industry that have a major impact on the whole, and can spur further legal activity. One event which is certain to cause repercussions is Marriott International’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. This newly combined company is now the largest hotel company in the world, encompassing 30 hotel brands, 5,500 hotels under management, and 1.1 million hotel rooms worldwide. In the hospitality industry, scale is particularly important – the most profitable companies are those with the most rooms in the most locations. As a result, this mega- transaction is likely to provoke an increase in Mergers & Acquisitions industry-wide. Many experts believe other larger hotel companies will now join forces with smaller operators to avoid being outpaced in the market. Companies that had not previously considered consolidation are now more likely to do so. Another legal issue facing the industry is the regulation of alternative lodging companies such as Airbnb and other firms that offer private, short-term rentals. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Monica are at the forefront of efforts to legalize and control short-term rentals. However, those cities are finding it’s much easier to adopt regulations on short-term rentals than it is to actually enforce them. The December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine these and other critical issues pertaining to hotel law and how some companies are adapting to them.