Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced that its Westin Hotels & Resorts will become the first hotel chain to introduce a brand wide smoke-free policy. Effective January 2006, all 77 Westin hotels in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean will go 100% smoke-free* including all guestrooms and public areas. The brand’s new policy is a result of customer data and a clear demand for a healthy, smoke-free hotel experience.
For TFM‘s coverage of IAQ issues, see “The Invisible Menace” by Brian Kraemer.
In preparation for implementation of the new policy, 2,400 smoking rooms will undergo an extensive cleaning process. This includes replacing all soft goods, deep cleaning and treating all hard surfaces, walls and carpets to eliminate allergens, replacing air filters and deep cleaning all air conditioning units. All Westin hotels and resorts will offer a designated outdoor area for guests who smoke.
“At the heart of all of our decisions is the comfort, well-being and quality of life for our guests,” says Sue Brush, senior vice president for Westin Hotels & Resorts. “Industry research, as well as our own research, confirmed a clear consumer demand for a clean, smoke free hotel environment.”
Westin consumer data shows that 92% of its guests request a non-smoking room when traveling and do not smoke in any part of the hotel, including public areas. In addition, Westin conducted a Smoke-Free Poll** that shows the majority of consumers who travel prefer a smoke-free environment. The poll found that 86% agree that creating a non-smoking environment is an important first step in creating a healthier environment and 80% prefer when restaurants and other indoor public spaces are free of cigarette and cigar smoke. In addition, Westin has eight hotels in its portfolio that have a smoke-free policy in place, which has resulted in overwhelming positive feedback from guests.
“We applaud Westin for taking this visionary step on behalf of its guests,” says Dr. Cheryl Healton, president and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation, with whom Westin is working to create the brand’s nationwide non-smoking environment. “Westin’s patrons and staff will benefit enormously from this effort to improve the quality of life for everyone associated with the Westin brand. Like the airlines, we hope it will one day be possible for all hotels to be smoke-free.”
“More and more cities are becoming smoke-free and for an entire hotel chain to take this stand is very cutting edge and far ahead of the curve,” says Joseph A. Mcinerney, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. “We congratulate Westin on its latest innovation. This follows the success of many trend-setting Westin initiatives and the industry is sure to take notice.”
*Smoking may be permitted in areas not owned or operated by Westin Hotels & Resorts and in designated outdoor smoking areas.
**The Westin Hotels & Resorts Smoke-Free poll was conducted online by Russell Research from November 9 – 10, 2005 among 1,054 online adults across the United States. Figures for gender, age, and geography were weighted where necessary to match their actual proportions in the population.