Are you ready yet? Have you made preparations for the introduction of a
total ban on smoking in your hotel?
Many hoteliers have appeared to take a head in the sand approach - some
are even in denial. Given the experience of Victoria and Queensland there
is little doubt that we can expect a decline in business due to the
removal of smoking from our hotels.
We are going to push the smoker outside in the middle of winter. What
measures have you made for climate control? How do you cater for that out
door smoker? Many hoteliers are going to experience this decline in sales
during their seasonally poorest trading period. It would be wise to plan
some extra promotions - motivations for people to retain the habit of
going to the pub; all timed for the June, July and August period. We need
to work hard to minimise the loss of the clientele we already have. It
has often been said to me that retaining our current patrons is easier
than finding new ones.
One of the greatest profit regions in today's hotels is the gaming
machines. Victoria and Queensland have shown that the removal of smoking
has cut gaming revenues. In the period following the total ban; hotels
who have best catered for the smoking gamer have recovered whilst those
who simply continued as they were are yet to regain their pre-smoking
The ideal gaming room may be one that is situated in a private enclosed
outdoor area where smoking is allowed, full climate control offered
(don't know how we stop the rain - if there was not a drought) and
business would continue as normal ….. Difficult to achieve? Some of
the better Victorian venues have the gaming machines able to be viewed
through glass from a private smoking courtyard - on winning a feature the
patron walks out of the room for a cigarette break, whilst still being
able to watch their machine roll through.
One of the major issues for gaming patrons will be security over their
money in machines when they leave the room for a cigarette. We could see
the advent of full time gaming staff who will oversee patron credits and
possibly increase the service we currently offer today ……
The hotel industry continues to be of the most dynamic retail markets as
different fads and ideas come and go. Successful hoteliers continue to
adapt and change to meet the demands of today's public. All this during
an ever increasing administrative workload.
(Nick Tinning April 2007)