Published at Sunday, September 09th, 2018 - 05:11:31 AM. Bedding. By Erica Gross.
If you‘re in the hospitality industry, this is one website you don‘t want to find yourself on. BedbugRegistry.com is a free public database that encourages people to report bed bug experiences, specifically at hotels. There‘s a quick reporting form for listing the hotel name and street address which is translated into a dot-covered map of the U.S. showing the locations of each reported infestation. A list of the hotels and other infestation sites is provided to warn travelers. What the site doesn‘t do is verify reports, nor does it indicate when a hotel has successfully remedied the problem. The old adage there‘s no such thing as bad publicity doesn‘t carry any credence with hoteliers. They know that even a whispered rumor can have a disastrous effect on business. Websites that detail horror-laced reports of being eaten alive by bed bugs during an overnight stay in a hotel or motel play on growing public hysteria about these blood-sucking parasites. Fanned by a blitz of media attention, an accusation can instantly damage a hotel‘s hard-earned reputation and frighten away guests.
"Most hotel chains don‘t keep track because the number is so insignificant," said Joe McInerney of the American Hotel & Lodging Association said at the 2006 International Bed Bug Symposium when asked about the growing number of bed bug complaints in the hospitality industry. He noted that there are more than 4.4 million hotel rooms in the U.S., adding "you could count the number of cases per day on one or two hands." Yet according to a 2004 survey of pest control professionals by Pest Control Technology magazine, hotels and motels were the most common sites of bed bug infestations, accounting for more than one-third of bed bug complaints. In a recent survey, one company reported that 24% of their 700 client hotels required bed bug treatments between 2002 and 2006. Brooke Ferencsik, spokesman for popular hotel review site TripAdvisor.com told USA Today, "We get a steady stream of bed bug reports and have hundreds of reviews" mentioning them. "Even if travelers aren‘t experiencing [bed bugs], they‘re becoming more aware and are looking out for them."
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