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Hotels say good riddance to smoke

By Associated Press
Published September 19, 2003

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - Smokers are finding there is no room at the inn anymore.

From New York to California, small and mid size hotels have gone smoke-free, cleaning, deodorizing and redecorating rooms once reserved for smokers.

One reason is that fewer guests are requesting smoking rooms. But hotel managers point to other benefits: lower room maintenance costs and a marketing tool at a time when business has been sluggish.

"In all of our publications, we promote a smoke-free environment, and we've gotten calls because of it. Families with kids, it's attractive to them," said Chris Canavos, manager of the 98-room Howard Johnson's in Williamsburg, Va., which went smoke-free during a renovation three years ago.

Vijay Dandapani, chief operating officer of Apple Core Hotels, which runs the Comfort Inn Midtown in New York City, said that on average, maids spend an extra five minutes cleaning a smoking room, including emptying ashtrays and scrubbing smoke residue.

Moreover, hotel managers point out, drapes, carpets, bedding and furnishings need to be replaced more frequently in smoking rooms because smokers burn holes and cause other damage.

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study of major U.S. urban markets, rooms for smokers account for 16 percent of all hotel rooms, a drop of 4 percentage points over the past five years.

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