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Avoid bed bugs while traveling with these hotel tips

(BPT) – The summer travel season is upon us, offering an opportunity for families across the U.S. to reconnect. The goal is simple — to make memories that last a lifetime. Bedbugs are the very last souvenir you want your family to bring home. A recent study conducted by the University of Kentucky found that bedbug reporting on online review sites and social media have a “…big impact on purchasing decisions.” It’s no surprise that both leisure and business travelers would avoid a bedbug-infested hotel.

General managers across the country are feeling the financial bite from bedbugs. According to the same University of Kentucky study previously mentioned, a single online review that mentions bedbugs lowers hotel room value by $38 for business travelers and $23 for leisure travelers.

What exactly is the state of the current hotel-related bedbug problem? Recent studies found that about 74 percent of pest professionals reported problems with bedbugs in hotel rooms, a truly staggering figure. This rise in bedbugs is coupled with a changing public perception, with 43 percent of people now expressing the attitude that bedbugs are a concern.

An occurrence of bedbugs can also massively impact a hotel’s brand reputation. Exposure to legal action continues to rise jeopardizing hotel shareholder equity. Just recently, a Virginia woman sought $5 million in a lawsuit over bedbugs. A federal judge ruled in her favor and a jury will hear her case.

So, how can a hotelier and a hotel guest both prevent becoming the latest Trip Advisor bedbug-related casualty? Well, there are a number of things that each can do to win this battle. Let’s take a closer look.

* Education is key. Research proves that two-thirds of travelers surveyed by the University of Kentucky last year couldn’t identify a bedbug. Hotel staff and individual travelers are encouraged to be able to recognize a bedbug in its different life stages as well as signs of bedbugs in and around beds.

* Forward thinking in bedbug prevention has savvy hoteliers and travelers investigating the root of the problem. Savvy hoteliers are designing hotel rooms to be more bedbug resistant.

* Hoteliers and homeowners are adopting preventative measures for their mattresses and/or box springs such as an active mattress liner that kill bedbugs. ActiveGuard(R) Mattress Liners go on like a fitted sheet and can save time, money and energy preventing bedbug infestations from establishing.

While recent reports may show that bedbugs are winning, the war is not over. Embracing technology, educating oneself and taking a preventative approach to this blood-sucking pest can lead to victory for both hoteliers and travelers.

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Calling all small employers: Affordable, quality health coverage for your employees

(BPT) – Research shows that for small employers, being able to offer quality health insurance for employees is a high priority. Even so, you may be wondering about how to control costs while offering quality coverage, which policies to choose for your employees and how to enroll.

Understanding the ins and outs of insurance can be challenging. The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace is here to help. Created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the SHOP Marketplace offers small employers (generally, those with 1 to 50 employees) an easy way to find affordable, high-quality private health and dental insurance.

Why might the SHOP Marketplace be a good option for you?

One of the biggest advantages of offering your employees quality health coverage through the SHOP Marketplace is that you could be eligible for a tax credit to make offering coverage more affordable. Employers with fewer than 25 employees may be eligible for a tax credit worth up to 50 percent of their premium contribution.

Another key feature of the SHOP Marketplace is the choice and flexibility it offers for employers. You can choose one health insurance plan, or you can give your employees the option to select from a variety of plans. You can also decide what types of coverage to offer (health, dental, or both) and whether to offer coverage to dependents. It’s your choice — you decide what works for the needs of your employees and your bottom line.

Still, you might have questions about how to navigate the process. The good news is you can get help. Registered agents and brokers are available to advise you about the quality options available. They’ll even walk you through the actual enrollment process itself.

But here’s the best news of all. To find out more about the benefits of the SHOP Marketplace, all you have to do is go visit HealthCare.gov

 

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