Starwood has expanded its smoke-free initiative to all Sheraton and Four Points by Sheraton hotels in the United States and Canada. All 8,000 smoking-allowed hotel rooms in 300 hotels, as well as public areas such as lobbies and restaurants, are affected. The hotels will go smoke-free by December 31, 2008.
Marriott announced that by October 16, 2006, all 2,300 hotels in the United States and Canada will be 100 percent smoke-free. This is the largest move in the hotel industry to date, affecting over 400,000 guest rooms.
Marriott's brands include:
- JW Marriott
- The Ritz-Carlton
- Residence Inn
- SpringHill Suites
- Fairfield Inn
- TownePlace Suites
- Marriott ExecuStay
Since the Westin smoking ban was announced, many independent hotels announced similar bans across the United States. The three Disneyland hotels implemented a ban in March. Now, Marriott's announcement makes it the largest chain to make the change.
Why Are Hotels Going Smoke-Free?
In response to new information from the Surgeon General over the past few years regarding the dangers of secondhand smoke, requests for non-smoking guest rooms has been on the rise. Many smokers are also in the habit of requesting non-smoking rooms, increasing the demand. Marriott already had 90 percent of its guest rooms designated as non-smoking before the ban was announced; Westin had 92 percent.
For hotels, the benefits outweigh the possible loss of bookings from smoking guests. Smoking rooms incurred more costs for cleaning and repairs of burned furniture and carpeting. Also, having all rooms designated as non-smoking simplifies tracking available room inventory.
On the Other Hand...
Hotels are facing an outcry from smokers who already see their world shrinking, and feel their freedoms are being taken away.
Hotels also face costs of converting to non-smoking, as rooms must be deep-cleaned. USA Today reported the Westin conversion came at a cost of $200 per room, due to cleaning, repairs and installation of new air filters.
These changes are limited to the United States and Canada (and in Westin's case, the Caribbean) since other countries view smoking differently. Many hotels who cater to international travelers, such as the resorts at Walt Disney World in Florida, will continue to offer smoking rooms.
Will All Hotels Go Smoke-Free?
Westin and Marriott remain the only two chains that have implemented a company-wide smoking ban, along with dozens of independent hotels.
Other hotel companies, including Hilton, Intercontinental Hotel Group and Starwood (Westin's parent company) have said they will continue to offer smoking rooms as an option to guests. Even so, options for smokers are shrinking due to market demand. For instance, Hilton already sets aside only 10 percent of guest rooms for smokers.
Poll: How does the smoking ban affect the likelihood you will stay in a Marriott?