Bed bugs continue to pester hotels and conferences, with a recent flare-up during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, USA, demonstrating just how quickly such reports can damage a hotel’s reputation online.
The Washington Times is reporting that several DNC hotels, most especially the Charlotte Marriott City Center, have had reports of bed bugs online. In fact, 31 hotels appear on bed bug lists in Charlotte.
Someone appearing to be management for the Marriott City Center responded to a bedbug complaint with the following statement:
â€śThe Charlotte Marriott City Center maintains strict cleanliness standards, which includes constant monitoring and routine assessments of guestrooms and public space. We pride ourselves on providing quality conscientious attention to the property and guests.â€ť
Twitter, of course, is having a field day:
It’s reported hotels at the DNC have bedbugs. When asked how they deal with ruthless bloodsuckers, bedbugs said, â€śEh, itâ€™s ok.â€ť #FallonMono
â€” jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) September 4, 2012
REPORT: 9 DNC hotels infested with bedbugs… drudge.tw/UpaB3E
â€” DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) September 4, 2012
Granted, this is a politically charged event with a convenient “blood-sucking insect” meme. Nonetheless, it would not be pleasant to be one of the hotels stuck inside the tornado.
A recent poll of National Pest Management Association members found that most members are seeing an increase in bed bug calls this summer over last, with some members are seeing a 25 percent increase in business.
Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA:
â€śFor anyone who may think bed bugs have come and gone, these reports will make them think twice. Our members are seeing an overwhelming increase in bed bug calls, with some reporting double digit growth, especially during the past few months when most Americans took their summer vacations.â€ť
With pest control conferencesÂ and several websites dedicated to reports of bed bugs, such as BedBugRegistry.com and BedBugsEpidemic.com, hotel managers have yet another website to monitor for negative reports.
It can be extremely difficult to stop the spread of bedbug rumors, especially given the instantaneity of social media, so monitoring all areas of a hotel’s reputation is becoming increasingly necessary as an everyday marketing function.
Preventive measures are often the least expensive and most effective in preventing infestations.
Hotel managers should pre-emptively share their anti-bedbug strategies on their websites, with customers and on social media, to demonstrate an active approach to eliminating the unpleasantness that bedbugs cause guests. Ignoring the problem is not the best strategy; hotels should be transparent and demonstrate the planning and leadership that goes into maintaining a bed bug-free hotel.
For hotels in the following 10 cities, take note: these are the United States most bed bugs, according to pest control companyÂ Terminix:
- New York City
- Washington, D.C.
- Columbus, Ohio
- San Francisco
- New Haven, Conn.
NB:Â Bed bug image from Shutterstock.