Polls Reveal Hotel Guests’ Perceptions of Housekeeping Issues

Sept. 14, 2006
Respondents to Orkin’s polls report bathroom cleanliness as their top concern

Atlanta-based pest control company Orkin Inc. recently announced the results of two independent polls of hotel consumers and hotel insiders about their respective perceptions of pest control and other housekeeping issues in the hospitality industry.

For regular hotel users (i.e. those who spend at least one night a month in a hotel), bathroom cleanliness is a top concern. When asked to select conditions that might cause them not to return to an establishment, more than nine out of every 10 (92 percent) chose “a visibly unclean bathtub.”

Pests aren’t far behind in their ability to turn off guests. Eighty-five (85) percent of regular hotel-goers reported they might never return to an establishment if they saw or heard a mouse, while 80 percent indicated they might never return to an establishment if they found a cockroach in the bathroom.

Linen cleanliness is not as great a concern for hotel guests, though half (51 percent) of regular hotel-goers said a hair on the pillowcase of a “freshly made bed” might stop them from returning to an establishment.

Perhaps the most important point for chain hospitality brands: a bad experience at one hotel in the chain has a ripple effect. Over 70 percent of all poll respondents reported that housekeeping problems at one hotel would impact the way they felt about its sister hotels.

Insiders and Consumers Agree on Bathroom Cleanliness (But Not on Pest Control)
So, how do the industry’s housekeeping priorities line up with guests’ concerns? When asked to prioritize five housekeeping concerns - linen cleanliness, bathroom cleanliness, dishware cleanliness, chemical safety, and pest control - the results revealed some differences in perception.

Given guests’ deep aversion to an unclean bathtub, as revealed by the consumer poll, one might say that the hospitality industry has its priorities straight. Two-thirds of hotel insiders (67 percent) rate bathroom cleanliness in their top two concerns, and 87 percent rate it in the top three.

Pest control is a different story. While pest control issues cited in the poll can stop more than four in five regular hotel users from returning to an establishment, only 19 percent of hotel insiders rate pest control as their top housekeeping concern.

“Pest control isn’t always a top priority for many hotels and motels until there’s a problem,” says Orkin’s Quality Assurance Director Zia Siddiqi. “That’s why it’s so important for hospitality establishments to have an effective, ongoing program that’s invisible to guests and, frankly, invisible to most hotel staff. The less they have to think about it, the better.”

How Common Are Pests in Hotels?
The hotel insiders’ poll also asked how often various pests were found in and around respondents’ establishments. Highlights include:
* 45 percent of respondents reported that flies are a “somewhat-common (every 3 to 6 months)” or a “very-common (once a month or more)” problem at their establishments.
* 32 percent of respondents reported that cockroaches are a “somewhat-common (every 3 to 6 months)” or a “very-common (once a month or more)” problem at their establishments.
* Rodents are slightly less common. Twenty-six (26) percent of respondents reported that rodents are a “somewhat-common (every 3-6 months)” or a “very-common (once a month or more)” problem at their establishments.
* 20 percent of respondents reported that bed bugs are present in their establishments “once every year or so.”

This information was provided by and reprinted with permission from Orkin Inc., an industry leader in essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents, and insects in North America. Visit (www.orkincommercial.com/apps/pressmanager/ARFiles/HospitalityPollResultsOnline.pdf) for complete poll results, or call (866) 214-2449 to find out more.

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