Westin Hotels & Resorts announced on June 1 they will become the first hotel chain in this region to introduce a smoke-free policy. Beginning July 31st, The Westin Sydney, The Westin Melbourne and The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa Fiji will be totally smoke free and join Westin’s 77 North America hotels that introduced a smoke-free policy this past January.
This new policy also reinforces Westin’s new brand positioning around personal renewal and offering guests the services, products and amenities that allow them to relax, rejuvenate and restore during their stay.
The hotels have not only made a 12 month jump start on non-smoking legislation that will be introduced to Australia in July 2007, they will also be exceeding the requirements by abolishing “smoking rooms”.
The three properties will be smoke free in public areas as well as 100% smoke free in all guest rooms—with the traditional “smoking rooms” to become a thing of the past. Outdoor smoking areas will be designated for guests who smoke.
Westin’s new industry leading smoke-free policy is a result of customer data and a clear demand from guests for a healthy, totally smoke free hotel experience. It’s also a natural evolution for the Westin brand who’ve developed a reputation as an industry innovator thanks to the renowned Heavenly Bed? and Service Express(TM) concepts—also industry firsts.
“At the heart of all our decisions is the comfort, well-being and quality of life for our guests,” comments Sue Brush, Senior Vice President for Westin Hotels & Resorts.
“We view our hotels as a retreat from the rigors of travel and we are proud to have The Westin Sydney, The Westin Melbourne and The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa Fiji join our North American properties and become smoke-free,” she adds.
“Industry research as well as our own research confirmed a demand for a clean, smoke free hotel environment and we felt it important to take this step,” adds Sean Hunt, VP & Area Managing Director for Starwood Australia Pacific Hotels.
“The new smoke free policy supports our goal to offer a spectrum of products, services and personal touches that help our guests leave our hotels feeling better than when they arrived,” he adds.
Westin consumer data revealed 95% of its guests in this region request a non-smoking room when traveling and don’t smoke in any area of the hotel, including public areas. In eight test hotels that introduced 100% smoke free policies in the US, all enjoyed overwhelming positive response from guests. Introduction of the smoke free policy six months ago across all 77 Westin properties in North America has also received positive feedback from guests, staff and industry.
In addition, recent independent consumer surveys highlight 71% of people polled support a total ban on smoking in hotels, pubs and clubs while 81% of consumers dislike it if they stay in a non-smoking room and it smells like smoke*.
“We’re confident our guests and clients will embrace this bold move to be smoke free throughout our hotels in Australia and the Pacific,” added Sean Hunt.
One of Westin’s largest clients in this region, research-based medicines company, Pfizer Australia has commended the introduction of the new policy.
“We welcome the move by Westin to provide a smoke free environment for our staff away from our own work place,” comments Pfizer’s Suzanne Blake, Product Manager for Nicorette.
Australia’s peak tobacco control group, Quit has also commended the decision to go smoke free beyond planned July 2007 legislation: “We applaud the Westin hotels for taking this very positive step on behalf of their guests,” said Executive Director of Quit, Mr Todd Harper.
“We’re hopeful that the Westin’s leadership in this area will encourage other hotel chains to make the same moves forward in ensuring all their guests and staff are protected from secondhand smoke” he added.
The three hotels in this region are finalizing preparations to go smoke free by the self imposed target date of 31 July including involving hotel staff in a “Wellness Week” where free advice and support on quitting smoking will be made available to all associates.