How to Make Smokers Love Your B&B (Without Ruining the Room)
Why Inns Ban Smokers
Owners of a bed and breakfast are normally some of the friendliest folks you'll meet. But even their hackles raise when they smell smoke on a patron, or the person admits they come with a certain amount of nicotine nourishment. In what seems like a harsh policy, certain inns ban smoking or 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.
Why a Smoking Ban isn'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 hands a large slice of the clientele to your competition. Why? Because a lot of people smoke. Period.
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 as 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 on 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, they 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.
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 to smokers, why not hand them a gift pack? You can add a sheet with the rules and honestly explaining 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.
- 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