Bed Bugs & Spring Break: A Hotel Preparation Checklist

Bedbugs are the ultimate travel nightmare. They are becoming an epidemic in hotel rooms across the United States and causing havoc for the hospitality industry in the age of social media and online reviews. Bedbugs are at the top of people’s lists of concerns when picking a hotel.

With spring break upon us and peak season shortly behind it, hotel rooms with regular guest turnover will be constantly challenged with new bed bug introductions. These bugs are hardy travelers that hitch rides on clothes, luggage and blankets. Protect your guests and your reputation from bed bugs with this Hotel Bed Bug Preparation Checklist shared by Hotel Business and sponsored by Active Guard.



With spring break already underway in many regions, hoteliers are in the middle of one of the busiest travel seasons. Peak seasons bring with it the satisfaction of high rentals and, in turn, high revenues but also the stress of ensuring that the hotel staff is able to keep up with guests’ needs so everyone has a positive hotel experience. Bed bugs are one not-so-uncommon guest that could make an appearance at hotels this spring break. Are you prepared?

Bed bugs are an all too familiar problem for most hoteliers. Whether or not you have experienced the pain of an infestation at your hotel, bed bugs should be a part of your spring break preparedness plan. Bed bugs don’t discriminate and any of your hotel guests can easily bring along a few bed bugs with them when they arrive at your facility. In fact, according to a 2015 study by the National Pest Management Association, hotels are one of the top three locations pest professionals report finding bed bugs.

Just one single impregnated bed bug could result in a full-blown infestation at your facility in little time. The aftermath of an infestation typically varies. You will undoubtedly have to place the affected hotel room “out of order” and best management practice recommends you treat surrounding rooms as well, since bed bugs can infest neighboring units. If the infestation is uncovered by a hotel guest and not handled properly, it could result in a social media firestorm.

While bed bugs aren’t considered to be a seasonal pest, peak travel times bring with it an increase in bed bug pressure. As the number of visitors to a hotel, motel or resort increase so does the likelihood of bed bugs being introduced. A bed bug introduction can easily be overlooked when the hotel staff is under time constraints to turn a room over to the next incoming guest.

This spring break, don’t take a chance that bed bugs might pay a visit to your hotel. Be prepared with this Hotel Bed Bug Preparation Checklist:

Educate your staff. Ensure that housekeeping staff that sees the bedding daily knows the signs of a bed bug infestation and is on constant vigil.

Take a proactive stance. Waiting for an infestation to occur so you can react isn’t a good approach to bed bugs. Ensure design choices are not inviting a bed bug infestation to occur. Learn about the powerful modifications you can make in hotel room design to deter bed bugs.

Protect your guests not just the bedding. If you have encasements on your mattress and box spring for the purpose of protecting against a bed bug infestation consider this: encasements only protect the bed. Encasements only trap bed bugs that may have been missed or are otherwise covered inside. They do nothing to prevent newly introduced bed bugs into a room or those bed bugs that escape through a ripped or torn encasement—an unfortunate and frequent event—from establishing a new infestation. An active mattress liner will kill bed bugs, and unlike encasements (ActiveGuard Mattress Liners) are labeled to prevent bed bug introductions from turning into full-fledged infestations.

Have a bed bug action plan in place. Is the hotel staff prepared should a guest be stricken with bed bugs at your hotel? Properly handling a bed bug incident could make the difference between whether or not this incident makes the news. If you don’t already have an action plan in place consider these 10 tips for creating one.

Monitor your hotel name online. Ensure that the social media manager or other person responsible for digital marketing, monitors the hotel’s reputation online. Should a complaint about bed bugs pop up on or, be prepared with an action plan to respond to the complaint.

Take prompt action at the first sign. If your staff does report evidence of a bed bug infestation take immediate action and work closely with a pest professional. Be responsive to guests in the event that they uncover a problem. Bed bugs are prolific breeders. Delaying treatment will allow the infestation to spread and cause treatment to be longer and more complex.

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