How can a hotelier and a hotel guest both prevent becoming the latest Trip Advisor bedbug-related casualty? Well, there are a number of things that each can do to win this battle. Let's take a closer look.
(BPT) - The summer travel season is upon us, offering an opportunity for families across the U.S. to reconnect. The goal is simple - to make memories that last a lifetime. For example, the Smith family is in vacation-planning mode. Mrs. Smith typically takes the lead with dreams and aspirations of planning their family's best vacation ever. She starts with a look at her hotel choices on Trip Advisor.
According to their website, Trip Advisor is the world's largest travel site, reaching 340 million unique monthly visitors with reviews of more than 6.5 million accommodations. Mrs. Smith does her research. Is the hotel family-friendly? Does it have a pool? Is it clean? Scanning the reviews of a hotel on her list she reads one traveler's review that includes a descriptor that no one wants to hear: bedbugs! Mrs. Smith immediately hits the back button. Bedbugs are the very last souvenir she wants her family to bring home. Cross that hotel off the list.
Mrs. Smith is not alone. A recent study conducted by the University of Kentucky found that bedbug reporting on online review sites and social media have a "...big impact on purchasing decisions." It's no surprise that both leisure and business travelers would avoid a bedbug infested hotel. Victims of bedbug infestations exploit the internet's vast readership to describe their bedbug experience resulting in physical distress, sleeplessness, nervousness, anxiety and an extreme disruption in their life. And while on a planned summer vacation with the kids and family... not if they can avoid it!
Meanwhile, across town in a well-appointed corner office, the general manager of a large,
nationwide hotel chain, sits reviewing his financial statements. His occupancy rates are down in three of his largest hotels while those same hotel's operating costs are up. How can that be he asks himself puzzled by the data. Digging deeper, he realizes bedbug infestations occurred in those same three hotels. Rooms were out of service while treatment to the affected room as well as surrounding rooms were being completed. Bedbug treatment costs and loss of rental income negatively hit his bottom line. With internet sites like Trip Advisor, Travelocity and Bed Bug Registry, he wonders how severely those bed bug events impacted traveler's decisions to stay at those properties.
General managers across the country are feeling the financial bite from bedbugs. According to the same University of Kentucky study previously mentioned, a single online review that mentions bedbugs lowers hotel room value by $38 for business travelers and $23 for leisure travelers.
What exactly is the state of the current hotel-related bedbug problem? Recent studies found that about 74 percent of pest professionals reported problems with bedbugs in hotel rooms, a truly staggering figure. This rise in bedbugs is coupled with a changing public perception, with 43 percent of people now expressing the attitude that bedbugs are a concern. An occurrence of bedbugs can also massively impact a hotel's brand reputation. Exposure to legal action continues to rise jeopardizing hotel shareholder equity. Just recently, a Virginia woman sought $5 million in a lawsuit over bedbugs. A federal judge ruled in her favor and a jury will hear her case.
So, how can a hotelier and a hotel guest both prevent becoming the latest Trip Advisor bedbug-related casualty? Well, there are a number of things that each can do to win this battle. Let's take a closer look.
* Education is key. Research proves that two-thirds of travelers surveyed by the University of Kentucky last year couldn't identify a bedbug. Hotel staff and individual travelers are encouraged to be able to recognize a bedbug in its different life stages as well as signs of bedbugs in and around beds.
* Forward thinking in bedbug prevention has savvy hoteliers and travelers investigating the root of the problem. Savvy hoteliers are designing hotel rooms to be more bedbug resistant.
* Hoteliers and homeowners are adopting preventative measures for their mattresses and/or box springs such as an active mattress liner that kill bedbugs. ActiveGuard(R) Mattress Liners go on like a fitted sheet and can save time, money and energy preventing bedbug infestations from establishing.
Sophisticated travelers and hoteliers know that bedbugs are difficult to recognize, and are skilled hitchhikers easily gaining access to the bed. Having an active liner in place that starts working within 10 minutes of contact can assist in saving a room from developing a full-blown bedbug infestation.
While recent reports may show that bedbugs are winning, the war is not over. Embracing technology, educating oneself and taking a preventative approach to this blood-sucking pest can lead to victory for both hoteliers and travelers.
This weekend mindset has inspired a new travel segment known as the Seekender. Seekenders are bold adventurers who take advantage of the weekend to pursue their passions. Sound like you? Check out sports reporter and blogger Kristen Hewitt’s favorite travel tips to get the most out of every moment of your next three-day trip.
(BPT) - The arrival of warm weather signals the season of three-day weekends and more people are using that time to travel. Whether it’s three glorious days off due to a holiday, summer office hours or simply cashing in on precious PTO time, weekend warriors are taking advantage.
This weekend travel trend may be attributed to more people “working to live” rather than “living to work.” In fact, 68 percent of Americans would rather embark on a bucket-list trip than get a big promotion, according to a Hampton by Hilton survey.
These trips don’t have to break the bank, especially when flying isn’t always essential for a memorable adventure. Hopping in the car this summer is a cost-effective, easy way to jumpstart your vacation. According to AAA’s 2016 Your Driving Costs study, gas prices in the U.S. are at a record low. With that in mind, this summer is the ideal season for road trips.
“You don’t need a full week to enjoy a vacation. Many of the best times I’ve had with my family have happened on three-day travel adventures,” says Kristen Hewitt, sports reporter and blogger at www.MommyInSports.com.
This weekend mindset has inspired a new travel segment known as the Seekender. Seekenders are bold adventurers who take advantage of the weekend to pursue their passions. Sound like you? Check out Hewitt’s favorite travel tips to get the most out of every moment of your next three-day trip:
Target the four-hour mark
You don’t want to spend two days of your three-day vacation traveling, so pick a destination you can access in four hours or fewer. Following this rule ensures you have as much time as possible to enjoy your destination. Plus, if you travel with kids, they’ll be much more mellow and you’ll avoid those “Are we there yet?” moments.
Select an accommodating hotel
Choose a hotel with a variety of locations so you’ll be close to the action and attractions. With more than 2,100 properties globally, Hampton by Hilton is ideal for weekend wanderers.
Pack right, pack light
Resist the temptation to over-pack by packing for versatility. Don’t forget to add a few accessories that transform outfits quickly, such as statement jewelry and summer hats. A simple packing trick to get the most out of the space in your carry-on is to roll clothing. You’ll fit more in and eliminate wrinkles!
Free up the itinerary
It’s tempting to pack as much as possible into three days, but you’ll end up stressed and exhausted by the end if you do. For long weekends, select one main activity you want to do — such as a tourist stop, museum visit or day at the beach — and leave the rest of the time open for casual exploration. Spontaneity often inspires the best adventures.
Stay on budget and eat well
If you can cut down on your food bill, your entire trip will be more affordable. Look for a hotel that offers free breakfast so you can start your day with a full belly. For example, Hampton by Hilton guests enjoy hot breakfast and freshly brewed hazelnut coffee at no extra cost. When out and about, never underestimate the appeal of a picnic in a park — a more affordable alternative to restaurant dining.
Indulge your wanderlust and begin planning your next three-day weekend trip. For inspiration, follow Hewitt’s Seekender adventures on HamptonSeekender.com and join the conversation on social media at #WeGoTogether.
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