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How to Make Smokers Love Your B&B (Without Ruining the Room)

Jana is a student of human nature, forever seeking the truth about the complex issues that face relationships, productivity and daily life.

Can you accommodate smokers in your B&B?

Can you accommodate smokers in your B&B?

Why Inns Ban Smokers

Bed and breakfast owners are normally some of the friendliest folks you'll meet. But their hackles raise when they smell smoke or see cigarettes on a patron. In what seems like a harsh policy, certain inns ban smoking and smokers altogether. Here's why:

  • Other guests are annoyed by the smell of cigarettes
  • Building on the previous reason; a non-smoker isn't likely to make another booking after spending time in an acrid-smelling room
  • A room subjected to smoking takes ages to refresh. For that time period, owners won't accept bookings for the unit and so lose a part of their income
  • The smell is difficult to remove from linen, curtains, and carpets. Properly cleaning or replacing such items is a huge expense and an additional financial loss for the business
  • Despite the best efforts of B&Bs to accommodate smokers, some people ignore the rules, smoke indoors, and cause damages. Inns with a cigarette ban likely have a history with such individuals and justifiably got fed up.

Smoking Bans Aren't Good for Business

The B&B business is competitive. The fact that many people dream of owning their own business, love the hospitality industry, and that there's no shortage of clients are just some of the reasons why the competition among owners keeps growing.

Faced with established B&Bs in your area and the new one that just opened down the road, every client is worth culturing. Not just for a single stay, either. A successful business hinges on the customers that return. Now imagine slamming the door—even as nicely as you possibly could—in the face of those who hold dearly onto a pack of cigarettes. Not only does your B&B risk getting bad reviews, but blocking smokers means they'll just stay at other inns.

Here are helpful tips to grow your business, while protecting the interests of both you and the client.

1. Understand Smoker Psychology

Most people who are forced to stand in a cloud of second-hand smoke consider the nearby smoker rude and selfish. Undoubtedly, some are. However, the majority have smoked for so long that they've lost touch with how it affects those around them. After all, the smell of the smoke doesn't irritate the smoker. Additionally, the fact that second-hand smoke is dangerous isn't something smokers get passionate about. Mostly because there's a heck of a lot of effort involved in making sure somebody doesn't hoover up your smoke. Few people even know there's such a thing as third-hand smoking. This is when nicotine settles into clothing, bedding, and surfaces, which can be picked up by non-smokers and pets.

If anything, smokers feel persecuted. Laws are tightening around public puffing and cigarettes turn more expensive every day. People give them the evil eye. They get an earful from non-smoking family members and some places ban them. A B&B that caters to them appears professional and that's something a client never forgets.

2. Understand Smoker Physiology

They have an addiction. Even smokers who fully grasp and even agree with why the rest of the world is annoyed with them cannot just stop their habit. There's no way a client can be expected to go cold turkey for the remainder of their stay. Even when they find comfort in nicotine patches or gum, few would go back to the business where they suffered mentally and physically from withdrawal. Some experts claim that nicotine dependency is similar to cocaine addiction. Anyone who ever tried to quit smoking will probably agree. A little understanding from a B&B goes a long way.

3. Provide a Great Public Area

Here you have some great choices. Not only could such a “smoking room” save all your other rooms, but it could set your establishment apart. Imagination is the limit, but the point is to make it a place where your customers actually want to go. One can perhaps decorate it in the old way to resemble a real smoking lounge from back in the day.

Make sure there's plenty to keep them entertained. This area could have a screen set to a popular channel, windows with great views, or games, like a pool table.

You don't need an indoors smoking lounge. Many visitors enjoy sitting outside.

You don't need an indoors smoking lounge. Many visitors enjoy sitting outside.

4. Always Provide a Private Space

Many customers book into a B&B for relaxation and privacy. Some might not want to go to the public smoking room, no matter how exclusive it feels. Such clients love a private balcony or area in the garden near their unit. This also benefits those who use the public room. When unable to sleep or they otherwise rise early, when the lounge is still closed, they can wake their sleepy brains on the balcony with a coffee and a cigarette.

Any designated smoker's area outdoors should be inviting and offer protection against the weather.

5. Deliver the Rules as a Gift

Here's a way to stand out from other B&Bs. Instead of laying down the law on smokers, why not hand them a gift pack? You can add a sheet with the rules and honestly explain why smoking's not allowed indoors. Add a card with directions to where they can light up. In order to make them feel welcome, include something special in the gift pack. Use your creativity, but people always love complimentary sweets, stationery, and classy curiosity items.

Make your gift packs simple, yet beautiful. It'll take the sting out of being handed the rules!

Make your gift packs simple, yet beautiful. It'll take the sting out of being handed the rules!

Additional Tips

  • Don't keep ashtrays in the rooms.
  • Think of perks to offer the clients who follow the smoking rules.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Jana Louise Smit


Jana Louise Smit (author) from South Africa on December 07, 2019:

Hi Dennis. Yes, as an ex-smoker (quit over 20 years ago), I've run into the bad treatment myself. I still remember it, despite not having smoked for so long.

Dennis Thorgesen from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S. on December 04, 2019:

As a 50+ year smoker I feel about everywhere I go treats me like a second class citizen. The idea of having a room or area protected from the weather sounds really good to me. One thing I have no problem with is sharing a smoking area with others.

I don't smoke in my own house because my cause involves children. The children range in age from birth to teens. They live in my home as do a parent of theirs.

After 50+ years quitting is pretty much not an option. It is something I have attempted many times. So far nothing has worked and I was told by my own doctor at this point it really doesn't matter.

It is good to know at least some people still consider a smoker an equal...

Jana Louise Smit (author) from South Africa on November 17, 2019:

Thanks, Lorna. I'm not a fan of smoking at all but since I smoked (quit 22 years ago), I do remember the struggle with other people's annoyance and also the addiction itself. But yes, these days, not a fan of smelling smoke at all. Haha. :)

Lorna Lamon on November 17, 2019:

This is such an informative article and being a non-smoker I really don't like secondary smoking. However, your article made me look at smoking from a different perspective and if I owned a B&B I would definitely follow your advice. Great article Jana.