Non-Smoking Independent Hotels
According to the latest J.D. Power and Associates 2006 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, “79 percent of hotel customers prefer a smoke-free environment that exceeds the boundaries of their guestrooms.”
Independent hotels can commit to this emerging market by becoming smoke free and joining www.FreshStay.com’s online network of 100-percent nonsmoking properties. FreshStay® allows travelers to search for smoke-free options that meet their needs. By designating themselves as smoke free, independent hotels can get a competitive edge online.
“Independent properties are always seeking ways to enhance awareness on-line and keep guests coming back. Going 100-percent smoke-free and joining FreshStay®is just the ticket for these types of properties,” said Ray Burger, president of Saint Charles-based Pineapple Hospitality, and creator of FreshStay®.
If you ask Stefan Mühle, General Manager of The Orchard Hotel in San Francisco, why the independent property decided to be smoke-free from Day 1, his response will total just two words: “Clean Air!”
“Our valued guests and associates have embraced our decision to be 100-percent smoke-free from Day 1,” Mühle said. “Their responses across the board have been extremely positive. There has been no ‘push back’ whatsoever.”
The Orchard Hotel’s housekeeping department is one group in particular that really appreciates the clean indoor air environment.
“Naturally, there are less irritants, and the rooms are easier to clean and stay fresh longer,” Mühle added. “And, our housekeeping department consistently scores very high with guests.”
The property’s owners find significant ROI in the hotel’s ability to instantly differentiate itself, and command higher guest satisfaction and repeat business and referrals due to its smoke-free status.
“Being smoke-free also helps us protect our assets — our guests and employees as well as the building and its contents,” Mühle added. “The potential business we lose by not accommodating those smokers who feel they must stay in smoking rooms is far less than the money we save by not having to deep clean our drapes, curtains, carpets, etc., so frequently.”
Mühle said smokers will stay at The Orchard Hotel.
“Smokers like and appreciate our clean air atmosphere,” he added. “They just smoke outside.”
When it opens in October, The Orchard Hotel’s sister property — The Orchard Garden Hotel — will be the Golden State’s first hotel built to the nationally accepted standards for green buildings developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. The 86-room hotel followed the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System to earn the coveted LEED certification. The independent boutique property’s other green practices will include chemical-free cleaning products, recycled paper, soy-based inks, in-room energy management systems and, last but certainly not least, a 100-percent tobacco-free environment.
Mühle said being connected to such a sister property, and other smoke-free lodging destinations via FreshStay®, is a boon to independent-minded properties such as The Orchard Hotel.
TradeWinds Island Resorts has two 100-percent smoke-free properties on the island of St. Pete Beach that are members of FreshStay®: TradeWinds Island Grand, a four-diamond, family friendly resort, and TradeWinds Sandpiper Hotel & Suites, which is more intimate and designed for tranquility.
TradeWinds Sandpiper went non-smoking Jan. 1, 2006, after completing a $12 million renovation. TradeWinds Island Grand went completely smoke-free Aug. 1, 2006.
“We went smoke-free for a number of reasons, but I think the most-important one is the wear and tear we were incurring in our smoking rooms,” said Tara LaSalla, Internet administrator of TradeWinds Island Resorts. “We also went smoke-free because so few people nowadays choose to stay in smoking rooms. Approximately 90 percent of all requests are for non-smoking rooms.
“Lastly, habits have changed,” LaSalla added. “People are trying to lead healthier lifestyles, and parents want their children to have healthy lives as well.”
LaSalla said the marketplace welcomes the moves.
“There are many individuals who have some sort of respiratory illness, and they are very glad to have non-smoking rooms available’ she added. “Parents who have children with asthma without a doubt are the most-appreciative of our smoke-free environment.
“Housekeepers and other employees also absolutely appreciate our fresh air environment,” LaSalla said. “Cleaning and maintaining smoking rooms can be very time and labor intensive. And, just like our guests, our employees truly appreciate not having to breathe in the stale air of smoke anymore.”
What’s the ROI?
“I do believe we will net more repeat stays and referrals because we’re smoke-free,” LaSalla said. “Being a completely smoke-free property is a competitive differentiator. Currently, we are the only two properties on this island that are completely smoke-free.”
Why connect with the FreshStay® network?
“The benefits of participating in an online directory such as FreshStay® are numerous,” LaSalla added. “This is a great way to receive positive exposure about your properties. We are seen as leaders and innovators, instead of followers.
“FreshStay® also is a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle for our guests,” she said. “Our goal is for all guests to have great experiences, as well as healthy, smoke-free stays.”
The Golden Arrow Hotel in Lake Placid, N.Y., debated for about a year whether to go 100-percent nonsmoking — but then a couple gave the hotel a kick in the pants over to the smoke-free side of life.
“In 2001, this very sweet honeymoon couple stayed with us and complained about a smoky smell in their room,” said Jennifer Holderied, the independent property’s owner and director marketing. “The room did in fact smell. We cleaned it, shampooed the carpet and aired out the room, but the smell persisted. We couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. Finally, we discovered that the people staying in the room directly below the honeymooners had been smoking an unearthly amount.
“The room below the honeymooners literally was cloudy when you entered it, and the smell was ungodly,” she added. “We ended up having to replace all of the furniture and carpeting. It was disgusting. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We went smoke-free Jan. 1, 2002.”
Holderied said 100-percent of employees and 98-percent of guests are “thrilled” and completely behind the property’s smoke-free policy.
“We’re pretty strict — you have to be 50 feet from the building to light up — but even most non-smokers are pleased with the policy,” she added.
The property offers a smoking cessation program for employees.
“After all, you can’t boast the fact that you are a smoke-free resort, and then have a maid who reeks of cigarette smoke cleaning your guestrooms,” she said.
Holderied said the window of opportunity is closing on this competitive differentiator.
“When we first went smoke-free, it was a huge differentiator because we were the only hotel in the area to do so,” she said. “Now, many of our primary competitors have followed suit. The good news is because we were the first to do so, people think of us first when they are looking for a smoke-free resort in Lake Placid.”
About Pineapple Hospitality
|Also See:||FreshStay® Reports 2,700% Gain in Smoke-free Hotels; With 2,300 Marriott properties' going smoke free, more than 5% of U.S. hotels will be 100% non-smoking / August 2006|
|Springfield’s Krystal Aire Inn & Suites Introduces Another Fresh Idea; All Non-Smoking Hotel Installs Energy Efficient, Odor-Neutralizing Light Bulbs / August 2006|
|FreshStay® Online Network Unites Hotels Worldwide,Fuels Smoke-Free Movement: Kentucky is the 48th state to join the FreshStay® union of nonsmoking lodging properties / June 2006|
|Turn Trash into Cash; Pineapple Hospitality® and Midas Consulting Identify Eight Red Flags For Hotel Operators to Improve Environmental Practices and Reduce Waste Management Expense / June 2006|
|PURE Solutions Signs On As A Corporate Sponsor Of FreshStay™; FreshStay™'s rapidly growing online directory of non smoking hospitality properties is the perfect match for the PURETM Rooms program, which converts guestrooms to allergy-friendly rooms within 24 hours / May 2006|
|Pineapple Lights Up Hotels' Bottom Lines; Hospitality Properties Reap Significant, Sustained Economic Benefits By Embracing Environmentally-Friendly, Energy-Efficient Bulbs; Lighting Retrofits Reduce Costs & Bolster Guest Satisfaction / May 2006|
|Top 5 States and Top 10 cities for Non Smoking hotels in the U.S.; www.freshstay.com adds 25 non-smoking properties during April -California is the number 1 state and Seattle the number 1 city / May 2006|
|Zontec™ Sponsors FreshStay.com to Identify Best Places Where Guests Can ‘Breath Easy, Sleep Great™’ / April 2006|
|200 Smoke Free Hotels Join the www.freshstay.com Online Directory in 1st Month / March 2006|
|120 Smoke Free Hotels Join the www.freshstay.com Online Directory in 1st Month / February 2006|
|Fresh Air: The New Hospitality Amenity; Pineapple Hospitality Launches FreshStay™, an Online Directory of Hotels Offering Better Indoor Air Quality / January 2006|
|Gift of the Year: Pineapple Hospitality’s Energy $aving Trifecta / December 2005|
|Pineapple Hospitality is Now the Exclusive U.S. Supplier of Environmentally Sensitive Amenities™ / November 2005|
|Got Pineapple? Hotelier-turned-industry-innovator Ray Burger Launches Pineapple Hospitality™ — bringing fresh ideas and business-building products and programs to your guests’ doors and your bottom line / September 2005|