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Bed Bugs Are Bad, But How Much Do They Cost Hotels?

Bed bug reports online are costing hotels money for each room, a new survey found.

Those bad reviews left online aren’t just steering away other guests, they’re actually lowering the costs of hotel rooms — especially when it comes to bed-bug-related complaints. Researchers at the University of Kentucky recently completed a study of hotels with bed bug complaints on social media to see just how much room values go down after a reported bad experience.

The survey polled 2,100 people across all the states and Washington, D.C., to determine the average economic loss. According to the report, bed bug complaints from business travelers devalue hotel rooms by $38 per night. From leisure travelers, the price sinks down by $23.

“Many of these [social media] reports are not substantiated, but people are entitled to say their piece,” University of Kentucky entomologist Michael Potter told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “There’s a lot of economic hardship to the hospitality industry as a result of these reports of bedbugs in their facilities.”

Potter also said that a hotel does not necessarily have sanitation problems if it has bed bugs, as most guests believe.

“It’s impossible to keep bed bugs out of the buildings, but the key is to be very vigilant and to catch these occurrences early on before they have a chance to spread,” said Potter. “People would feel a lot better knowing that the hotel industry is taking measures, … but that in itself is not going to prevent this problem.”

He suggests hotels create a bed bug index to be used across the industry so potential guests can get information before a stay.

[Photo: iStock]

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