NO WAITING TO EXHALE HERE
Smokers, and some hotel franchisees, can breathe a little easier. Not every hotel chain is jumping on the non-smoking bandwagon, a topic that's generated media buzz since Westin first kicked the habit in its properties last year. While several of the bigger lodging players have garnered kudos, and new customers, by banning smoking in guestrooms and public spaces, some are holding out. Extended Stay Hotels, with 682 company-owned properties in North America, is one. It sees a need to remain appealing to smokers and non-smokers alike and continue to offer guests a choice.
“Our guests on average stay with us 20 nights — whether for long-term work assignments or personal relocations, for example,” says Tim Groves, executive VP of sales and marketing, Extended Stay Hotels. “We decided if we make our properties 100 percent non-smoking it would affect many of our guests. Also, we have a fair number of international guests who tend to include more smokers.”
Extended Stay designates 10 to 20 percent of its inventory for smokers, blocking them together so as to least affect non-smoking guests.
Hilton Garden Inns has kicked the issue around too, ultimately deciding to let its franchisees decide for themselves whether to permit smoking or ban it in their properties. HGI Senior VP Adrian Kurre reports: “Twenty-three percent of the U.S. population admits to smoking. With that number of smokers and the fact that smoking is legal, our stance is that if you're going to smoke, we're going to provide you a minimal amount of inventory in most of our hotels.”
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