« Dilbert and the Limits of Praise | Main | Take a Seat! »

Cleaning the Front of the House

Posted by Donna Airoldi on July 20, 2006

When I read this article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal about Marriott going smoke-free in all its nearly 2,300 hotels in the U.S. and Canada -- dwarfing the 77 smoke-free hotels of Westin, the first  chain to go completely nonsmoking, in December 2005 -- I was pleased to see another hotel company giving up the puffs.

This wasn't always the case. 

Before switching careers to journalism, I worked for a tobacco company.  Even prior to buying into a portion of that industry's defense mantra (the rest of which was questionable, at best), I adamantly believed in a person's right to smoke -- or not to, as was my choice -- even in certain public arenas where it seemed the venue's atmosphere (for better or worse) depended upon the types of patrons smoking, such as at concerts, clubs and bars. Especially hotel bars.  One, it was (still) legal, and I didn't want the do-gooders going after alcohol and food next.  Two, even though I don't light up, I was rarely if ever bothered by the residuals from those who do.

But scenes change, and so too do people.

...

During a recent vacation to a South American destination -- with a friend who is a smoker -- my eyes welled up with tears inside bars and restaurants from all the smoke.  I immediately sensed the lingering scent of tobacco every time I walked into a new room, even before my friend took her first drag.  I found it difficult to breathe.  After three years of relatively smoke-free living in New York (except on the sidewalks), I lost my perceived immunity to the effects of second-hand smoke.

Marriott cites the fact that most of its complaints involve smoking, and it's making the switch in the company's remaining 400,000 smoking rooms (90% are already smoke-free) to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.  Those numbers are bound to rise.

Still, 21% of Americans still smoke, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, so not every Marriott customer will be pleased at first, especially those slapped with fines of $200 to $300 if they get caught trying to circumvent the new rule.  But down the road they might be grateful to the company. 

After all, changing people's behaviors and performance is an ongoing challenge.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c5cc553ef00d83530682253ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Cleaning the Front of the House:

Comments

Tim Burton

Good to know a major player is going smoke-free!

This will help their bottom line!
Tim
http://www.la-orange-county-lawyers-attorney-directory.com

Tim Burton

Good to know a major player is going smoke-free!

This will help their bottom line!
Tim
http://www.la-orange-county-lawyers-attorney-directory.com

Tim Burton

Good to know a major player is going smoke-free!

This will help their bottom line!
Tim
http://www.la-orange-county-lawyers-attorney-directory.com

San Diego hotels

Almost all the hotels in San Diego California have the majority of their rooms as smoke free!
Larry J.
http://www.san-diego-vacation-attractions-tours.us

The comments to this entry are closed.