Hotels are putting money toward technology upgrades such as keyless entry and smart thermostats to give guests a better in-room experience. But there’s another – albeit less glamorous – application for tech in guest rooms that hotels might want to consider: bed bug detection.
Helsinki, Finland-based Valpas has developed a technology to keep hotels free from bed bugs. The product, which the company says is the first and only automated bed bug safety system, attaches to the legs of hotel beds to capture lingering bugs in the area. If any are caught, the "smart" legs alert staff members to contain the issue before pests are spread.
Valpas co-founder and CEO Martim Gois says the company, which started about five years ago as a bed bug heat treatment service, saw a need for a solution that keeps guests safe and is also scalable.
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“On the one hand, bed bugs are spreading all over the world, so anxiety is rising,” he says. “On the other hand, [hotels] can’t do anything about the rising problem. There’s no effective means to keep guests safe.”
Gois says current detection methods are typically manual and include housekeeping or guests checking beds for signs of bugs, then pesticides are used to treat the problem.
And because there’s a constant flow of guests in and out of rooms, hotels are often left “100% exposed [to an infestation] and they can’t do anything about it,” Gois says. “It’s a really gnarly situation for everyone.”
Valpas’ technology functions as a preventative measure to stop a problem before it starts. Not only are guests spared from an infestation, properties are also warding off negative reviews from potentially unhappy – and itchy – customers.
Gois says the solution also increases a hotel’s ability to generate more revenue by making rooms more valuable. “Guests appreciate the carefree stay and would be willing to pay more,” he says.
One of Valpas’ first collaborations is with Hotel F6 in Helsinki, and the company has plans to continue rolling out its product this spring in European capital cities followed by in the Middle East.