Due to the nature of my work on Housekeeping Solutions magazine and CleanLink.com, I have become somewhat skeptical/judgmental/critical when it comes to the cleanliness of any particular facility. And in my defense, if you received announcements and read reports of bacterial outbreaks, infection control issues and bed bugs on a daily basis, you too might enter facilities with caution — especially in a hotel or hospital where you are expected to spend a prolonged amount of time.
This was the case on a recent trip I took to Columbus, Ohio, which is why, when I entered my hotel/home for the next five days, I immediately took a look around. I put my bag on the luggage rack and placed my purse on a hard surface. Then, I immediately examined the bed. All looked good. The hotel was older and a bit rundown, but it appeared to be clean and well maintained. I was content.
I continued the examination of my room every day and found everything to be in order, until the morning of checkout. I woke up with a raised, reddened welt and a cluster of itchy bites on my back. I had seen enough pictures and knew immediately what it was, bed bugs. I instantly pulled back the covers and found one bed bug, but I know that for every one you see, there can be hundreds or thousands hiding just out of sight.
I quickly collected my things and went down to the hospitality desk. I was checking out that morning regardless, but before I did, I asked to talk to the head of housekeeping (much to the embarrassment of the group I was traveling with). According to this very kinda and overly apologetic man, they had no idea the hotel had any bed bugs until I actually showed him the one I found.
I never revealed the work I do with the magazine, but was happy that I brought this to their attention. As it turns out, the people I traveled with all said they wouldn't have said anything unless asked about the accommodations by hotel staff, which I found interesting. Each said they assumed the hotel already knew about the problem and simply decided to ignore it.
These types of comments make me wonder what more custodial departments could do to encourage feedback from guests. Assuming people come up to the counter to check out (which is abnormal these days with electronic options), that interaction is still with just one person from the room. Are suggestion cards effective? What would you use to solicit feedback from guests?
Although the bites were periodically painful, itchy and just an overall nuisance for three weeks before they fully healed, I am fine. I have also steamed, vacuumed, laundered and re-laundered every item I brought on my travels.
To avoid a bed bug infestation in your facility, check out these tips.
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