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Westin Hotel Chain Goes Smoke-Free

Old 12-06-05, 07:51 PM
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Westin Hotel Chain Goes Smoke-Free

I'm surprised 92% of their guests ask for a smoke-free room as latest figures indicate about 80% of adults are non-smokers. But I welcome this policy as I've been stuck in some rather smoky non-smoking rooms at hotels.

Will other chains follow the Westin lead?
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10338589/
Westin hotel chain to ban smoking indoors
Customers who violate policy to be charged $200, executive says

Updated: 3:53 p.m. ET Dec. 5, 2005
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - A major hotel chain is going smoke-free next month and will add $200 to the bill of anyone who violates the policy, an executive said Monday.

Westin Hotels & Resorts is banning smoking indoors and poolside at all 77 of its properties in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, said senior Vice President Sue Brush. Smokers will have to go to a designated outdoor area, she said.

Enica Thompson, spokeswoman for the American Hotel & Lodging Association, said Westin is the first major American chain to go smoke-free and predicted that "many of the other hotel chains will probably want to see how it works out for Westin" before following suit.

Eight Westin hotels were already smoke-free, and at least 5 percent of the rooms at the others had been set aside for nonsmokers, Brush said. But market research found that 92 percent of Westin's guests were requesting nonsmoking rooms, and some of those who couldn't get them were "quite upset," she said.

Brush said customers will be advised about the policy at check-in. If a guest violates the rule — "when we can observe it by smelling it or whatever" — a $200 fee will be added to the bill.

"It's really a cleaning fee," she said. The 2,400 smoking rooms in the chain are undergoing deep cleaning and air purifying before the Jan. 1 changeover, "and once you smoke in there you've violated that entire environment and we have to clean it all over again."

The smoking ban will apply to hallways, lobbies, and restaurants, except for the eight restaurants that are run by outside companies and not under Westin's control, Brush said. "They will be invited to participate," she added.

The policy will not extend to Westin's overseas hotels or to other chains, such as Sheraton, that are under the same parent company, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. Westin was the brand that "had the least amount of smokers to begin with," Brush said.

She said there might be a dip in business at the beginning of the year as smokers go elsewhere, but Westin expects to quickly replace that business with travelers favoring the new policy.

"I don't think it will be a net loss," she said. "It should be a net gain."

Jacque Petterson of San Antonio, Texas, who maintains an Internet list of smoke-free hotels in the United States, said, "This is just wonderful. So often you go to a place and the nonsmoking rooms are all taken or the smoking rooms and the nonsmoking rooms are mixed up and the smoke spreads. You're giving people a place to go without having to worry."
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Old 12-06-05, 08:16 PM
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Cool. Any smoker should be able to find a smoking hotel, and as a nonsmoker, now I'm guaranteed that my room won't stink [I have gotten assigned to a smoking room before, even though I requested non-smoking, because they 'were out' of non-smoking rooms.]
And I'd much rather a company recognize a need/want and try to fill it, than for state/fed govt to meddle.
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Old 12-06-05, 08:23 PM
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Is there anyone upset about this? There are plenty of other hotels that still allow smoking. Go to one of those. I know those are typically run-down and crappy, but that's because they have to spend extra money getting smoke out of everything.
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Old 12-06-05, 08:34 PM
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This article mostly says other chains will be looking at it to, but there is a snippet from an unhappy smokers' rights group. You always piss somebody off, no matter what you do.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10350994/
But smokers' rights groups say hotels like Westin that fail to provide rooms for smokers will lose business in the long run.

“They’re making a big mistake,” said Audrey Silk, a smokers’ rights advocate in New York. “They’re in the accommodation business, and it’s not like smokers are about to spend their vacation being unable to relax — which is what you do on a vacation.”
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Old 12-06-05, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by General Zod
Is there anyone upset about this? There are plenty of other hotels that still allow smoking. Go to one of those. I know those are typically run-down and crappy, but that's because they have to spend extra money getting smoke out of everything.
Most hotels allow smoking -- they range from run-down and crappy to very nice.

This gets a shurg from me. My wife smokes, so when I travel with her, I won't stay at Westin. When I travel by myself, I'll stay wherever is most convenient.
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Old 12-06-05, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
I'm surprised 92% of their guests ask for a smoke-free room as latest figures indicate about 80% of adults are non-smokers.
I'm guessing that smokers have, on average, lower incomes than non-smokers, and probably stay at Motel 6 more often than a Westin.
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Old 12-06-05, 10:21 PM
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Time to install spitoons.
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Old 12-06-05, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
I'm guessing that smokers have, on average, lower incomes than non-smokers, and probably stay at Motel 6 more often than a Westin.
Sure, on average, smokers belong to a lower income level than non-smokers. Still, there are smokers who make more than the average non-smoker. And, despite whatever all 77 of the North American Westins do, there are hotels to accomodate them. Whenever I travel to Chicago, I'm always astounded that the Sheraton there still allows smoking in nearly every public area. As a smoker, I'm not complaining, I just find it surprising, given today's attitudes towards smoking.

Of course, this type of decision should be left solely up to the hotels. If every hotel in the nation independently decides they'd do better business by banning smoking, so be it. On the other hand, if the government starts forcing it, I'll oppose the hell out of it.
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Old 12-07-05, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
I'm surprised 92% of their guests ask for a smoke-free room as latest figures indicate about 80% of adults are non-smokers.
A lot of smokers (like myself) don't like to stay in a smoky room. I don't smoke in my house, and I usually don't in hotel rooms.
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Old 12-07-05, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by General Zod
Is there anyone upset about this? There are plenty of other hotels that still allow smoking. Go to one of those. I know those are typically run-down and crappy, but that's because they have to spend extra money getting smoke out of everything.
Nope. Private business making a decision on what is and is not allowed when staying at their property. Fine by me.
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Old 12-07-05, 05:08 PM
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Hooray for the free market!
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Old 12-07-05, 05:15 PM
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another rreason this is good move, saety of all guests, this reduces the risk of a fire killing any guests who may be asleep.
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Old 12-07-05, 06:16 PM
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I have zero problem with this. This is the way anti-smoking rules should be made, rather than by the usual government decree.
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Old 12-07-05, 06:20 PM
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Good move but I never heard of Westin.
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Old 12-07-05, 07:17 PM
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Hopefully more hotels follow thier lead.
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