By Edwin Kis'sanya
You crawl into the neatly made bed after a long day of travel and/or sight-seeing, and just as you drift off to sleep, you feel a sharp pain on your arm. You swat off whatever bug that might be, a mosquito maybe, only to feel more bites on your limbs. You turn around, put on the light, and inspect your bedding, only to see nothing. You go back to sleep only to feel as if you have a million bugs on your skin. You, my friend, have been attacked by bedbugs.
Ask around and you will hear of the great nuisance that is the bedbug. The parasite unselectively invades people’s bedrooms, high-end hotels and run down lodges. Woe unto the hotel’s management and reputation when a guest sees it before hotel staff do! A simple review, and these are quite easy to do in the digital age, will not only ruin the hotel’s name but can take a toll on its budget and revenue.
At a glance, it is nearly impossible to tell whether your hotel room is clear of bedbugs. They are quite crafty, hiding in mattresses, headboards, box springs and at the corners of the room - making it even harder to control. Worse still, they only attack when they have multiplied and wait until the lights are off and you are deep asleep to strike.
Valentine’s Day is coming and you cannot begin to imagine spending the most romantic night of the year on a bed that harbours the blood-thirsty insects. Luckily, there are several online tools you can use to find out whether these crafty bugs are hiding in the hotel you are about to book.
Here are some of them:
Tripadvisor.com has thousands of traveller reviews and opinions. The site has grown in popularity primarily because users visit it to compare prices on hotels, flights and cruises before making a booking but you can also get information regarding bedbugs on the platform.
Simply search the word “bedbugs” and you will be shocked at the number of hotels around the world where travellers encountered the parasites.
Before making a hotel booking in Nairobi for example, you can tell whether the hotel you are considering has been affected by simply searching “bedbugs Nairobi”
If you are travelling to the United States, check out bedbugreports.com, a website that provides up to date information on reported bedbugs in hotels and apartments in the country.
The website gets this information from travellers who submit bedbug reports after visiting the hotels. The website says it publishes this information and tries to reach out to affected hotels for a response.
As of January 30, 2020, three reports had been filed on the website. Three more hotels had been labelled as worst offenders, given that more than one person had made bedbug claims about them.
This website is owned by the National Organization of Bed Bug Education for Lodging (NOBBEL, Inc.) whose mandate is to educate the public and the lodging industry in the United States about the bedbug epidemic.
The organization partners with hotels to train staff on how to detect and eradicate bedbugs.
The website provides a bedbug inspection checklist for travellers and also gives them direct links to hotels where staff have received bedbug certification training.
It’s worth noting that these online resources cannot guarantee a bedbug-free hotel.
While online reviews have a strong influence on travellers, it does not mean that if a hotel has bedbugs today, it will have them forever. Similarly, the parasites can hide in your clothes or hair making them quite easy to transport to a hotel or house.
The best thing to do when you detect bedbugs in your hotel room is to report it immediately to the management. ?