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Why Bed Bugs Present Lawsuit Risk for Travel & Hospitality Sectors



Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs

Bed bug pest management is a major concern for hospitality company owners. If hotel, hostel, and B&B owners do not take bed bug pest management seriously, they face tremendous reputational damage, income loss, and expensive room refurbishments – and if an infestation draws media notice, the commercial implications may be disastrous.

Bed bugs are becoming a growing concern for hotel and hospitality firms in the United Kingdom. The tiny animals make headlines every few months or so, with some towns even submitting to the notion that they will have to live with them since their numbers are just uncontrollable. To avoid bed bugs affecting your businesses, consider hiring a commercial pest control company, that specializes in bed bugs.

Of course, this is not an option for a company owner, which means that a strong bed bug pest control program is the only way to guarantee that both you and your visitors have a decent night’s sleep.

1. Front-desk workers may be the first to get a bed bug complaint

They, too, must be able to spot bed bugs. Bed bugs, like ticks, may be mistaken with other insects. Initial identity confirmation is critical in responding to hotel customers’ concerns. If bed bugs are the problem, the hotel must have a policy in place for dealing with them. This might involve relocating the visitor to a new room and resolving any concerns the guest may have about the handling of their baggage and other personal goods from the room. At the very least, visitors should be provided a room in a different portion of the hotel than their initial room.

“There hasn’t been a flood of those types of claims,”.

If there have been claims, none have been big enough to come to the notice of Brad Wood, vp of risk management at Marriott International Inc. in Bethesda, Md. Mr. Wood, on the other hand, has heard it mentioned as an issue in the hotel sector.

“It’s clearly something that has to be paid attention to, and employees need to be trained on what to look for,” said David Mikulina, assistant vp of risk management at Hyatt Corp. in Chicago. “You want your folks to be aware of what it is, as well as anything else that may be wrong.” “What you’re practicing for is awareness.” HEALTH DANGERS

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dub these bugs the “public health pest” since their bites may vary from a little bite mark to itchy red welts to serious allergic responses needing medical treatment. Furthermore, excessive scratching may result in infection in severe situations.

2. The risk manager at Accor refused to comment on the lawsuit

The bad publicity generated by such accusations also presents a reputational risk to the hotels concerned. To bring attention to the problem, the plaintiffs and their attorneys in the New York lawsuit, Franks & Sattler L.L.P., convened a news conference just before Christmas to announce the claim.

Helmsley Enterprises Inc.’s attorney, Steven Eckhaus of Eckhaus & Olson in New York, termed the complaint “a publicity gimmick,” but refused to comment more.

“If you’re in the hotel industry and speak about bedbugs, no one will want to stay at your hotel,” Dr. Charles R. Kelley, director of sales-special markets and risk management at Outrigger Enterprises Inc. in Honolulu, said. “It’s similar to discussing food poisoning in the restaurant sector.”

Dr. Kelley, a medical specialist, has created a brochure and a training program to educate Outrigger hotel management and personnel about the issue. “We have dead bedbugs in jars that we show the housekeepers so they can spot the issue fast,” he said.

Adult bedbugs, technically known as Cimex lectularius Linnaeus, are brown, flat, oval, and wingless, approximately the size of a tiny ladybug. They feed on human blood, but may go for up to a year without eating, and their bites induce stinging and discomfort.

“Many hotels are oblivious of the bedbug issue,” said Dr. Kelley of Outrigger, who cautioned that “they may be there for a long before it becomes a genuine nightmare.”

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