While being number one is usually considered a good thing, when it comes to bed bugs, nobody wants to make it on the list of most bed bug infested cities. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, Terminix (the largest pest control company) ranked Philly as the number one city for bedbugs. The ranking caused many Philly residents ask themselves how and why they were rated number 1. Because this rating could have an impact on tourism in the city, the hotels association was quick to jump into defense mode.
Tourism and hospitality industry are very dependent on a city’s reputation. Thus it is not surprising that this new ranking could be a big blow to the hotel industry in Philly. People who don’t know too much about bed bugs could possibly plan a vacation elsewhere if they feel they are at risk of getting bed bugs. While the risk of getting bed bugs can be drastically reduced if you know how to inspect your hotel room for bed bugs, most people aren’t educated on the topic.
The recent news caused the head of the Philadelphia Hotel Association Ed Grose to respond to the report.
In his statement, Grose says, “We have not had any major bedbug issues in Philadelphia hotels. Our association has been proactive on the bedbug issue long before it got the attention of the media. This is a marketing ploy by Terminix. It’s ridiculous that they can get away with this.”
What most people should take away from the new Terminix bedbug list is that they should always be diligent no matter where they stay. Grose is correct in his outrage at the list because of the statistical database that was used by Terminix.
In order to have a truly accurate sample size Terminix would have to have an equal percentage of branches present in every city across America. This is simply not the case. The data provided could be considered a marketing ploy by Terminix to help build brand awareness and help cement their status the top pest control company across the nation.
Before reading closely into any statistical list one must always look at the data provided and determine if the sample size is accurate enough to provide true representation of the population. Terminix is very vague in the way that the data was collected. For this reason the city of Philadelphia as good reason to be upset about making number one on the list.
While there is nothing the city of Philadelphia can do about the press release ranking the worst bed bug infested cities, they should consider taking an approach similar to the one used in Toronto, the largest city in Canada. Tornoto has created a specific bedbug task force designed to help eliminate and control the bed bug population in low income neighborhoods. These low income areas are the most at risk to having and spreading the bed bug population.
Taking a proactive step in dealing with their bed bug problem will also be very good for public perception. If the public views the city as actively addressing the problem, then more people will become aware of bed bugs and actively work to prevent them from spreading in the city.