Picture this: you’ve created the perfect vacation property that looks like it’s straight out of Architectural Digest. You’re getting rave reviews and nothing could damage your 5-star reputation…until your latest guests inform you they’ve received bed bug bites during their stay.
First, don’t panic. A couple bites does not mean a full infestation. A few bed bugs could have traveled into your home in a guest’s suitcase or on their clothing. Regardless, you must deal with the situation as soon as they’ve been spotted. Here are our tips to get your property back to being fully-booked in no time.
Appease your guests.
Be understanding, sympathetic, and, most importantly, apologetic. Validate their concerns and list the steps that will be taken to alleviate the issue. If your guest requests a refund, it’s always best to honor their wishes and issue the refund promptly.
Booking platforms often offer to find other accommodations for guests who encounter bed bugs, but as a host, you might want to offer this before your guest contacts the booking platform’s customer service.
If you want to go above and beyond, you can offer your guests a free night stay down the road once the issue has been resolved. This will help you rebuild their trust for repeat stays in the future.
Call the pros.
Bed bugs are masters at hiding, and can even survive in crevices and dark corners without eating for months at a time. As a result, they’re difficult to eradicate on your own.
We highly recommend calling an experienced extermination service who can personalize your service based on your situation and the needs of your rental unit. And make sure they are dealing with the bed bugs in all stages of growth, as these little rascals multiply quickly. HostGPO partner, Terminix, offers a non-toxic solution that they use to freeze bed bugs and any eggs. This is imperative to making sure the problem doesn’t come back.
Be proactive, not reactive.
The best way to deal with pest issues is to be prepared before they happen. Train yourself and your cleaning crew how to spot the symptoms, and if anyone spots an actual bed bug, save it in a plastic bag to show the pros for easy diagnosis.
Speaking of the pros, it’s also a good idea to hire quarterly or annual pest control services where a specialist comes to your home to inspect the interior and exterior of your home. These services spot and deal with issues before you or your guests even notice them, and it gives you a go-to provider if you do encounter an emergency situation. You can even market this to your guests, so they know you’re committed to providing a pleasant experience.
Our last bit of preventative advice is to protect your mattress. You’ve invested in a positive sleep experience for your guests and shouldn’t have to have to throw it all away. Make sure to use full encasements with specific bed bug barricades. As we mentioned before, these little critters can squeeze between the smallest of cracks.
While bed bugs may take your home off the vacation rental market briefly, they don’t need to take down your entire STR business. Take measures to proactively protect your home from pests, call the pros if you see any trouble, and as always, make sure your guests are happy.
Here’s more information on HostGPO partners and ways they can help you prevent and treat bed bugs.
Terminix offers discounted rates on quarterly pest control and emergency services for all HostGPO members. You can call Terminix immediately after the first sign of bed bugs (or any other pest) and a service member will be sent to your short term rental as soon as possible.
And you know the problem will be taken care of–they offer a 30 day service guarantee for covered pests (which differs from region to region) and free call backs when needed.
For those with rentals in different areas, Terminix allows HostGPO members to have a single point of contact for all your pest control needs across all of your properties and only one account sign-in.
Used by the largest hotel chains, Standard Textile has two great mattress protector options – the Allerease Professional and the Allerease Platinum. Both are full mattress encasements with bed bug barricades, but also include other features like allergen barriers and temperature regulation. HostGPO members get these top of the line options at an exclusive discounted rate.