Marriott hotels go smoke-free
With dwindling requests for smoking rooms and rising costs to keep the rooms sanitary, Marriott International has gone smoke-free.
Although there are three Marriott establishments in Park City Marriott Summit Watch, Marriott Mountainside and Park City Marriott only the latter will be directly effected by the new regulations. Park City Marriott has switched its 12 previous smoking rooms to non-smoking, months before the Oct. 16 deadline.
John Wolf, spokesperson for Marriott International, said the transition has been going smoothly.
"There were a number of hotels that were already smoke-free, but all hotels have to be smoke-free by the deadline," he said. "I haven’t heard of any hang-ups at all. I would assume it’s all going smoothly everywhere."
Wolf also said that in order for the rooms to become non-smoking rooms, they must be thoroughly cleaned to eradicate the area of the smoke odor, and sanitize each room, which is made more complicated depending on the individual room sizes and amenities.
He said Marriott made the change for business reasons.
"Basically, the number of hotel rooms that we’ve been setting aside for smoking has been dropping drastically, but also, one of the biggest sources of complaints is smoking people smoking in non-smoking rooms, the odor, et cetera," he said. "Even some smokers don’t want to stay in smoking rooms. We came to the conclusion that we could decrease complaints if we went smoke-free, which will increase customer satisfaction and increase loyalty. In the end it will lead to happier customers and increased revenue."
Marriott will make provisions for those who choose to smoke, but the accommodations will be outside and at least 25 feet from the building.
The other two Marriott entities, Summit Watch and Mountainside, are vacation clubs that are under the corporate umbrella, but that make decisions on things like smoking independent of corporate influence.
"With the two vacation clubs, which are like time shares, standards have to be approved by the condominium homeowners association board," said Ed Kinney, vice president of corporate affairs for Marriott Vacation Club International. "The board represents all the time-share owners for that particular property and they act on their behalf."
Although the boards for the two Park City clubs have yet to pass a no-smoking regulation, Kinney said the votes that have come before the boards of some of the other 57 properties have been unanimously passed.
"We have annual meetings and on-going dialog with the association, and when we have something such as this, that we feel would be to the betterment of the property, we present it, they vote on it and we go by that decision," he said. "In this case, there is a significant amount of benefit to following the guidelines the hotel does."
Summit Watch currently has eight smoking rooms, but Kinney said that if the regulations are passed and the rooms are cleaned, there will be a penalty for lighting up in a non-smoking room.
"There’s always going to be a presence of smoke," he said. "In our case, once the vote goes through, anyone who does smoke in the room has to pay a certain amount to pay for deep cleaning the carpet and upholstery, cleaning walls and ceiling and any other surfaces that could come in contact with the smoke residue. It’s a significant cost they could have to bear should they not follow the guidelines."
At Marriott Mountainside, they have taken the number of smoking rooms to five, down from 12. Although officials at Mountainside have strongly suggested the move to all non-smoking, the board won’t make the decision until November.
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Tourism revenue increased month over month this summer, the Park City Chamber/Bureau reported, but lodging numbers are still off 22% for December. Officials reported a recent uptick in bookings, though, pointing to a modicum of certainty after ski resorts announced their COVID-related opening policies.