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Polls Reveal Hotel Guests’ Perceptions of Housekeeping Issues

Orkin, Inc.’s Poll Reveals Hotel Guests’ Perceptions of Housekeeping Issues.

ATLANTA, August 21, 2006 – Atlanta-based pest control company Orkin, Inc. today 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 “visibly unclean bathtub.”

Pests aren’t far behind in their ability to turn off guests. Eighty-five 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 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,” said Orkin’s Quality Assurance Director Zia Siddiqi, Ph.D. “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 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 3-6 mos.)” or “very common (once a month or more)” problem at their establishments.

  • 32 percent of respondents reported that cockroaches are a “somewhat common (every 3-6 mos.)” or “very common (once a month or more)” problem at their establishments.

  • Rodents are slightly less common. Twenty-six percent of respondents reported that rodents are a “somewhat common (every 3-6 mos.)” or “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.”

Poll Methodology

Hotelier perception data is based on the responses of 95 hospitality industry insiders to an online poll promoted via an industry publication. Titles included:

  • General Manager – 28.4 percent

  • Housekeeping – 12.6 percent

  • Marketing – 8.4 percent

  • Concierge – 3.2 percent

  • Foodservice – 3.2 percent

  • Other – 44.2 percent (titles included Assistant General Manager, Director of Operations, Front Desk Manager, Maintenance, Human Resources)

Hotel consumer data is based on a subset of 85 (out of 410) respondents to an online poll promoted via email campaign to a wide demographic target. The subset included only respondents who indicated they spend at least one night per month in a hotel.

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