Do hotels have to answer truthfully when asked if they have had any bed bug infestations or reports
Bed bugs hot spots are areas with high turnover within environments conducive to their ability to survive and feed undetected. Probably the best environments out there are hotel rooms, hospitals, nursing homes, trains or cruise ships (the list goes on). Due to a high turnover of people coming and going on a daily or weekly basis, the odds of these areas being exposed to bed bugs at any given point are very high.
Hotels of course do not purposely bring bed bug into their rooms and do not like to see their guest being bitten, but they are unfortunately in a high risk industry for infestations. We find from speaking with many of our hotel customers that most infestation are not found by their staff, but by their guests themselves. This is due to the fact that bed bugs are difficult to find in the early stages of an infestation. Once an infestation is reported most hotels will quickly take the room our of service until it can be treated and the infestation eradicated. This being said, there is a good chance that at least one room in every hotel or motel across the United States will have an infestation at one point in time.
So what can you do to reduce the chances of not staying in a bed bug infested hotel room?
Asking a hotel front desk attendant upon checking in if they have or have ever had bed bugs is often an awkward questions that may not result in a truthful or accurate answer. It should be assumed by any potential guest that every hotel has been visited by bed bugs in the past. The law has also not clearly stated what a hotel has to divulge in regards to bed bug infestations to their guests (every state is different as well).
We would suggest a different strategy. We would check some of the bed bug registries available on the internet prior to checking in. Check to see if the bed bug siting review posted online discussed how the management handled the situation upon hearing a bed bug complaint (were they proactive or did they try to deny the issue). This will often give you a good indication of how infestations are being handled in the hotel. Having one siting of bed bugs within a hotel of course does not mean that your room will be infested, but that one of potentially hundreds of rooms had an infestation. If a hotel has a lot of reports within a short period of time it may indicate that the hotel is not treating their infestations effectively resulting in rooms designated as treated are actually still active with bed bugs. Hotels with sitings every few years or several times a year may not be a bad sign as again some hotels have hundreds of rooms.
Another way to be placed in a room that has not been treated for bed bugs recently is to tell the front desk attendant that you suffer from severe reactions to biting insects. This is a phrase that will likely get you put in a room that they feel will not have bed bugs (it may even get you an upgrade). Tell them that you have never been bitten by bed bugs, but that every other insect bite causes your skin to break out. We suggest saying this as you don't want the front desk to think you brought bed bugs in just in case bed bugs are found in your room (some hotels like the blame the guest for the infestation).
Overall most hotels are proactive in taking care of their infestations through routine treatments of their rooms, monitors and protocols upon initial complaints. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below and we will get back to you.
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