Germs & other health threats may be waiting in surprising places. Here are tips on how to spot possible dangers & ways to protect your guests.
Welcome to another edition of Hospitality Property School.
Today, I am going to look at “Dangers in Your Hospitality Property & How to Protect Your Guests”.
When travelling, your hospitality property is your guest’s home away from home. You want to ensure that they are safe from unwanted threats. If care is not taken, your hospitality property could be a haven for germs, parasites, and other threats to healthy travel.
“Do you have any allergies?” I’m asked this question more often now when I am out at a restaurant. I’m glad they ask.
Food allergies have been responsible for many deaths over the years and they are on the rise meaning that allergic considerations will only become more widespread as millennials and post-millennials come to command the travel market as well as the workforce.
From 2009 to 2010, a study of 38,480 children (that is from infancy to 18 years old) indicated 8% have a food allergy. These allergies range from, peanut (the most prevalent), followed by fish, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, dairy and soy. They can also include more inoffensive examples like garlic, red meat, wheat, berries or certain classes in the mustard family.
As a Hospitality Property Owner/Manager, What Can You Do?
Train your food & beverage staff how to avoid cross-contamination at least once a quarter review how to quickly identify the symptoms of anaphylaxis.
For most of us, peanut butter is a treat, but there is a possibility that a guest with a peanut allergy that comes in contact with the spread might be the victim of a medical crisis.
Advise your staff to avoid bringing peanut products into your facility. This may sound somewhat extreme, but some guests are so allergic that residue from a housekeeper’s hands might be enough to trigger a reaction.
Also, make sure you have a non-expired EpiPen on your property and your employees know how to use it correctly.
Inferior Air Quality
Sub-par air quality in a hospitality property can quickly put a damper on any travel experience and increase the chances of sickness.
Stale air is unhealthy. It summons irritants into the body, can exacerbate allergies and is just an annoyance.
Cigarette smoke is a common culprit. Most hospitality properties in North America offer non-smoking room options, but they are harder to find internationally.
Make sure your guests are aware of penalties for smoking in non-smoking rooms and change air filters regularly in fans or air conditioners. It is your responsibility to fumigate any non-smoking rooms that have been smoked in before they are resold.
In a perfect world, rooms will have windows that can at least partially open.
Germs in Places You Would Not Think
We expect to find germs on surfaces like toilets or door handles in a public place like a hospitality property. But research shows the highest concentrations of germs in hospitality property rooms are often in places many guests don’t hesitate to touch as soon as they put their luggage down.
Remote controls, telephones, carpets, and lamp switches have been shown to contained high levels of faecal and aerobic bacteria. These types of bacteria could lead to gastrointestinal illnesses.
It has also been found that cleaning items on housekeeping carts, like sponges and mops, can also have high levels of both types of bacteria. That raises the risk of spreading potentially disease-causing germs from room to room while cleaning.
To prevent hospitality property room germs from spoiling a trip, ensure that your housekeeping staff follow a step by step checklist to make sure all contact surfaces are cleaned and sanitized.
Slipping in the Shower
In a hospitality property room bathroom, germs may be the least of your worries. A big threat to healthy travel are slips & falls in showers.
Hospitality property room bathrooms are not all the same and your guests may encounter a different setup than they are used to at home and that can trigger falls.
Non-slip mats are imperative. Spending a little more for quality can save you a lot of aggravation and costs in the future. Have space or racks available for bathmats to dry.
Make sure your hot water gauge is set properly to the appropriately temperature so as to alleviate scalds and burns.
Provide water for guests. International travellers might be used to a different filtration system and their bodies are not accustomed to your water.
Bed Bugs Are Not Bed Mates
What’s most surprising about bed bug infestations is that they’re still a problem. Since the late 1990s, they’ve had a worldwide resurgence.
More than 40 disease-causing pathogens have been detected in these little blood-sucking insects and they feed on people, and these people could be your guests.
To reduce your risk of your guest becoming a bed bug’s dinner, follow these steps:
On your housekeeping checklist,
- Include a weekly check of the mattress, box spring, and behind the headboard for signs of bed bugs. Signs may include brown spots (bugs’ faeces) and bed bug skins, as well as any live bed bugs. The bugs tend to hide in mattress piping.
- Provide luggage racks for your guest’s bags or other personal items so they don’t put them on your beds or other soft, upholstered furnishings that may have bed bugs. This will save your furniture and give your guests peace of mind.
If you show your guests that you are concerned about their wellbeing by being aware of food allergies, properly training your food, beverage and housekeeping staff, having an air quality policy, cleaning every nook and cranny, providing non-slip mats & luggage racks, you will not only give your guests a wonderful experience but will help build repeat business.
If you have any stories about “Dangers in Your Hospitality Property & How to Protect Your Guests” and would like to share or have any questions or feedback you can leave them in the comments section of the show notes.
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That’s it for this session of hospitality property school.
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So, as always, let’s work together to put heads in your beds.
Until next time, have a fun day.
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