WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.—Westin Hotels & Resorts is marking the six-month milestone of its smoke-free conversion in North America with Breathing Lights installations in its lobbies nationwide. The artistically designed projections count the number of fresh breaths taken by each Westin guest each day. The design can be viewed by guests and visitors to Westin lobbies nationwide, or by visiting www.westin.com/breathe.
Westin became the first major hotel chain to convert all of its smoking rooms in North America to smoke-free late last year, investing more than $3 million in its initiative. The move comes as part of Westin’s commitment to guests’ personal well-being and the brand’s positioning around renewal. Since then, Westin hotels in Australia, Fiji and Scotland have also become smoke free.
The Breathing Lights projection on a wall or other hotel space features a blue light that pulses at the average speed of healthy human breathing, every 4.4 seconds. For a period of three months, each “breath” will tick up a counter displayed in the center of the projection, representing the number of fresh, smoke-free breaths taken in the hotel that day. On average, one person takes 11,520 breaths each day. Simultaneously, the counter will track the number of days Westin hotels have been smoke free.
Personal Breath Counters to Mark Smoke-Free Milestones
The Westin brand will also make a personal screensaver available at www.westin.com/breathe for guests or others who have quit or are attempting to quit smoking. Periodic messages of affirmation will appear on the screen, timed around specific milestones, such as, “your pulse has dropped to its normal rate” and “your ability to taste and smell things is enhanced.”
“Westin went smoke-free to reinforce our brand positioning around personal renewal and for our guests, who overwhelmingly prefer a smoke-free environment when traveling,” says Sue Brush, senior vice president at Westin. “The Breathing Lights display provides a tangible reminder of our smoke-free decision, and shows that as time passes, the benefits of going smoke-free accrue. It’s a beautiful and highly visual way to communicate our promise to provide our guests and associates a healthy, refreshing haven.”
Westin hotels announced its intention to go smoke-free in December 2005. During the conversion, all 3,900 former Westin smoking rooms in the United States, Canada and Caribbean underwent an extensive cleaning process that included 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. This process was completed on February 1, 2006.
Westin hotels went smoke-free in response to guests, who are increasingly adopting healthy lifestyles and demanding a smoke-free hotel in which to renew their mind, body and spirit while traveling. Internal consumer research conducted in 2005 found that 92 percent of Westin guests in the United States were requesting smoke-free rooms at booking. The Westin brand’s research also found that 80 percent of consumers prefer when restaurants and other indoor public spaces are free of cigarette and cigar smoke.
Here are the results since Westin became 100 percent smoke-free: Westin invested more than $3 million in its smoke-free initiative including converting its hotels.
• Westin invested more than $3 million in its smoke-free initiative including converting its hotels.
• The American Heart Assn. recently signed a contract stating it would return to Westin hotels as a customer after five years.
• More than 40 individual hotels and one national hotel chain have gone smoke-free since Westin hotels announced its policy.
• The success of the Westin smoke-free policy is spreading abroad. Westin hotels in Australia, Fiji and Scotland have all gone smoke-free.
• In a survey of Westin guests, 68 percent of respondents agreed that all hotels should eventually be smoke free.
Guest response has been enthusiastic. One Starwood Preferred Guest member sent Westin hotels this feedback: “I want to applaud Westin for making the bold move to become the first hotel chain to go smoke-free. I am a registered nurse who works with people with lung disease every day, and have found it to be very frustrating for them when making travel arrangements. . . Thank you so much for making this monumental decision that will affect the health of your patrons.”
For more information, visit Starwood Hotels & Resorts.