Hotel Bed Bugs & Social Media

In early June a Hamilton man resident was staying at a well-known hotel in Ontario when he discovered a bed bug on the pillow three inches from his head.

Distressed and angry, he calmly captured the bug and brought it down to the reception desk for further examination, explanation admission, and hopefully a sincere apology. He was surprised when both the hotel night attendants and manager (who he spoke to over the phone) instantly took the defensive and deemed the bug a carpet beetle and not a bed bug. Even when shown Google images of the difference between both bugs, the attendants wouldn't admit it.


By this point the man secretly recorded the conversations with his phone, in case it proved valuable. The bug was left at the hotel overnight to be examined by an exterminator in the morning at which time the manager would call back. The man also explained to the attendants that he’s unable to sleep in a bed with bugs and found another hotel.


Later than evening the man contemplated his options,


OPTION A) Get revenge via social media: Posting the video on social media sites could have costed the hotel potentially thousands in lost revenue. I imagine very few people would sleep in a hotel with even the slightest potential of bed bugs.

  • PROS: Satisfaction of revenge

  • CONS: Potentially jeopardize the future employment of the manager and attendants. You could also jeopardize your personal reputation and future relationships.


OPTION B) Blackmail: Mention and show the secret video to the hotel staff or head office management, then ask what they can do for you.

  • PROS: Potential monetary gains, free hotel suites, etc.

  • CONS: Potentially jeopardize the future employment of the manager and attendants, if shown to the head office


OPTION C) Wait: For the manager to call in the morning with confirmation it was a bed bug, offer an apology, and hopefully something extra to make this negative experience into a positive one (or at least neutral)

  • PROS: Give staff an opportunity to save face, retract their previous statements, and apologise - without jeopardizing their careers.

  • CONS: Not getting the short-term but false pleasure of revenge.


REAL OUTCOME: The manager called the next afternoon with a confirmation it was a bed bug and an apology. This satisfied the guest enough for him not to post videos or ask for compensation.



  • Hotel attendant should have immediately apologized for a bug being in the bed - no matter what kind it was

  • Then, unless the employee was 100% sure what the bug was, they should have asked to keep it for “professional examination”

  • When the guest showed Google bed bug images to the attendant, they should’ve admitted it looks very similar

  • Booked the guest a free room in another hotel

  • Asked the guest what he wants - pure and simple


Companies should realize the power of social media to make or break a business, and to strengthen or ruin reputations. Hotel chains should also understand and estimate the potential monetary gains or losses from industry specific events which may arise (E.g. Hotel bed bugs caught on video!), and how to properly handle these situations. In this situation, it was pretty evident the staff were trained to label bugs as Carpet Beetles and hope the situation quickly dissipates.

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