Home Air Quality Choice’s Comfort Suites Brand to go 100 Percent Nonsmoking on May 1

Choice’s Comfort Suites Brand to go 100 Percent Nonsmoking on May 1

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SILVER SPRING, MD.—Choice Hotels International has announced that its 433 Comfort Suites hotels in the United States will go 100 percent nonsmoking as of May 1. The 433 properties represent 34,000 rooms. According to Kimberly Shells, Senior Director, Brand Strategy for Choice, the decision to go smoke free was driven by research.

“We conducted research among guests and franchisees,” Shells says. “The vast majority of them supported it. It really is for our guests. We found that the vast majority of guests prefer a smoke-free environment.”

Ten percent of U.S. Comfort Suites hotels already are 100 percent nonsmoking. The other properties will transition to that status by the end of April.

“We are extremely excited about this opportunity to increase guest satisfaction,” Shells says. “It is an opportunity to differentiate ourselves and attract new guests to the brand.”

Marketing the Change

In late April, Choice will roll out a marketing campaign that includes TV ads to announce the change. Signage in the hotels will make it clear that smoking is only permitted in designated outdoor areas.

Shells says franchisees will experience reduced cleaning and maintenance costs without the smoking rooms. The need to replace items burned by cigarettes also will be eliminated. Insurance costs also may go down. Guests who do not follow the new guidelines will be fined.

“We will be charging a $150 room cleaning fee,” Shells says. “That’s designed to clean the room and get it back to nonsmoking status.”

Even though Choice’s decision was made based on its market research and not information released last year about the dangers of secondhand smoke, Shells says she does suspect that guest desires were driven by knowledge of the hazards of secondhand smoke.

Decisions by Choice’s other brands to go 100 nonsmoking will be based on guest and franchisee research.

Glenn Hasek can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

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