The cost of pests in the hospitality industry can be far greater than it is commonly perceived. As part of the service industry, the hospitality industry relies on consumers’ positive impressions and experiences. The reputation and perception of your business can rapidly turn from positive to negative at the sight of a pest. Furthermore, there are food safety requirements that your hospitality business needs to adhere to.
The Cost of Pests and Bad Reviews
One of the first things that come to mind when I plan on traveling away from home for a holiday, is almost always the condition of the place in which I’ll be staying for the duration of that trip. Like many others, the first thing I do is check the online review of the establishment I booked, and the same can be said of the restaurants I plan on visiting.
According to research done in 2017, 97% of consumers used the internet to find a local business, and of those consumers 60% searched for online reviews for a hotel/bed & breakfast or a local restaurant. Research shows that people trust online reviews as much as a personal friend, therefore a bad review may do more damage to your company’s reputation and revenue than you may expect. And bad reviews spread easily and rapidly online…
The biggest sin in the hospitality industry – equivalent to, if not worse than, bad service – is a lack of cleanliness and pest control. From the Business Impact of Pests report done by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (which we looked at in our previous blog Stored Product Insects (SPI’s); the world’s most EXPENSIVE pest!) we noted that “disruptions caused by pest infestations resulted in an increase of £5.8 billion in operating costs in the countries surveyed. In that year, revenues declined by an estimated £11.8 billion due to pest incidences”
Top 3 Pests That Annoy Customers
Pests that cause the most damage in the hospitality industry are rodents, cockroaches and bed bugs. Rats are the most destructive; many businesses with a rodent infestation have reported electrical equipment damage resulting in machine downtime, and 8 lost working days per annum are reported by food businesses due to rat infestation.
In hotels bed bugs are the hardest to prevent using conventional DIY methods, due to the increase in international travel. As they are mainly brought onto the premises by guests themselves, even the best hotels suffer from bed bug infestation. The key to preventing bed bugs from attacking guests is to spot the problem as early as possible and take the necessary steps to eliminate them before they proliferate.
Flies are noted to be the most disruptive; the report states that 11% of businesses have confirmed that flies are the leading cause of staff illness, amounting to 9 lost working days every year. The presence of flies are a big annoyance to customers, plus it gives them the impression that the environment is unclean.
Additionally, cockroaches pose a real problem wherever there are readily available food sources. In hotels and restaurants these are areas where the image of the business is most vulnerable, i.e. the kitchen, bars, public bathrooms and reception areas, as those areas are important when creating a lasting first impression. Apart from the negative reaction staff and customers may have at the sight of this cockroaches, the presence of cockroaches also pose a serious health hazard, making prevention all the more important.
It’s Cheaper to Prevent Infestation Than to Cure It
Professional pest removal and prevention options are the most efficient and time saving methods one should use. At face value it may seem costly but in fact it’s quite the opposite, if you look at the amount of money and time the business saves avoiding infestation through outsourcing professional help, you will start seeing that it is the smarter option for your business.
Five Tips to Minimise Pest Control Expenditure
The most expensive way to deal with pests is to do little or no preparation until an infestation arises. Here are tips you can use to minimise pest control expenditure:
- Have an integrated pest management policy
- Monitor your establishment for signs of pests
- Prioritise pest prevention
- Listen to customers
- Use a professional pest prevention and control service