Home Publisher's Point of View First Westin…Then Heartland Inns and Marriott…Who Will be Next?

First Westin…Then Heartland Inns and Marriott…Who Will be Next?

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In last week’s column, I strongly advocated the elimination of smoking in all hotels. Two days later, Marriott International Inc. announced it would eliminate smoking throughout all of its more than 2,300 hotels and corporate apartments in the U.S. and Canada beginning in September. Coincidence? I think not. O.K., I kid. But seriously, it is nice to know I am in the right cheering section.

Green Lodging News applauds Marriott for its socially responsible decision and encourages the company to also work to stop smoking in its hotels outside of the United States and Canada. The health impact of smoking, which Marriott cited as a reason for the ban in its press release, is certainly as much of an issue outside of the United States and Canada.

It will be interesting to watch how Marriott’s competitors react. Given a choice between a smoke-free hotel and one that is not, most travelers today will choose the smoke-free option. Marriott hotels certainly will be more appealing to groups as well. Interestingly, later in the day that Marriott made its announcement, Westin Hotels & Resorts issued a statement praising the smoke-free trend in the industry. It also reminded the industry that it was the first hotel chain to eliminate smoking in its hotels.

After years of ignoring the warnings about second-hand smoke, it is refreshing to see two of the industry’s major players competing for publicity. What hotel chain will be next?

One lodging industry veteran wrote the following to me last week regarding Marriott:

“I was surprised that they are going to become smoke free in the lounges. That is a big, big step. Now all guests will have to go outside. Imagine someone staying on the top floor of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square and wanting to smoke. The local Ritz-Carlton here has cigar nights. What happens to those events? I bet you the design and furniture companies are going to come up with new outdoor smoking section tents and furnishings.”

Sometimes change can be a good thing.

Odds and Ends

Green Lodging News will be featuring hotels and individuals that are leaders in regard to sustainability, energy management, waste management and other environment-related initiatives. If you would like to suggest a hotel or person for the “Green Hotel Focus” and “Personnel Profile” sections of the home page, please give me a call at (440) 243-2055, or write to greenlodgingnews@aol.com. I am also seeking guest column contributions. Vendors, consultants, hoteliers, academicians and others are all welcome to participate.

Finally, Green Lodging News welcomes Excel Dryer as a Green Product Directory sponsor. Excel Dryer is the maker of the XLERATOR hand dryer. During a recent visit to a Friday’s restaurant in Sandusky, Ohio, I had the opportunity to use the XLERATOR. It was easily the most powerful hand dryer I have ever used. According to the East Longmeadow, Mass.-based company, even with the added power, it uses 80 percent less energy than conventional hand dryers.

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

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