SAINT CHARLES, MO.—In less than half a year, FreshStay—lodging’s fastest-growing online network of smoke-free properties—has united 247 nonsmoking hospitality establishments located in 192 cities in nine nations. Most recently, FreshStay welcomed the 21c Museum Hotel as a member—making Kentucky the 48th state to join the FreshStay organization.
“Now that the 21c Museum Hotel—a one-of-a-kind boutique property in Louisville featuring original artwork throughout it—has joined FreshStay, our members represent 48 of the 50 states,” says Ray Burger, founder of FreshStay. “Once smoke-free properties in Arkansas and Mississippi join our online union—and we’re working on those two now—we’ll have a smoke-free stay option in every state. In fact, we’ll have an average of five smoke-free stay options per state.”
The 91-room 21c Museum Hotel is dedicated to southern-style luxuries and contemporary works from living artists. The five-facility complex, which dates back to the 1800s, features a 9,000-square-foot contemporary art museum and Proof On Main, a signature restaurant managed by The Myriad Restaurant Group based in New York. The hotel also offers a full exercise facility with a steam room, sauna and spa services—and, last but certainly not least, a smoke-free, clean indoor air environment.
“We’re smoke free because we want to protect our guests, staff, property, artwork and other investments throughout this complex,” says Bob Gigliotti, general manager of the 21c Museum Hotel. “I definitely expect more properties to follow suit and go completely nonsmoking and join FreshStay as we and hundreds of others have. This isn’t a fad. This is a global movement—and we’re pleased and proud to be a part of it.”
Gigliotti says FreshStay—and the smoke-free movement in general—will gain momentum as more owner/operators hear and read about the benefits of going nonsmoking and more travelers hear and read about the FreshStay online directory and its network of smoke-free hotels.
Guests Expect It
Going smoke free pays big time, according to Charles McDiarmid, managing director of the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, British Columbia, Canada.
“We’ve been nonsmoking indoors since opening in 1996, and we and our guests wouldn’t have it any other way,” McDiarmid says. “The Pacific Rim National Park is right in our backyard, so we get a lot of outdoor lovers as guests who expect clean air environments indoors and outdoors.
McDiarmid says being smoke free adds a level of flexibility and selling power as it makes all room types and sizes available. Also, properties that block off smoking rooms often find a greater percentage of smoking guests disobeying related policies in nonsmoking rooms and common areas of the property clearly designated as nonsmoking—because the line is blurred.
“When we first opened, we allowed guests to smoke outside on their balconies—but we quickly cut that out because the smoke and smell drifted,” McDiarmid says. “We are entirely nonsmoking—indoors and out—now. In fact, we believe so much in nonsmoking that we pay smoking employees to quit. If an employee quits smoking for six months, we write them a $500 check. I’ve written checks to the tune of $10,000 or so already for this—and, quite honestly, it’s the best money we’ve ever spent.
Contact Ray Burger for more information.