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Most guests want smoke-free hotels

19 October 2006

The vast majority of European consumers want a smoke-free environment when they stay at a hotel, according to major new research.

A survey of more than 12,000 guests who stayed at hotels in Europe between June and September this year revealed that 70% preferred a smoke-free environment that exceeded the boundaries of their room.

The second European Hotel Satisfaction Study, by market research firm JD Power Associates, also showed that support for smoke-free environments was highest in Sweden and the UK (76%) and lowest in Spain (57%).

Linda Hirneise, executive director of the travel practice at JD Power, said: "As we've seen so far in the USA and Canada, non-smoking hotel environments are also set to be very popular in Europe."

Starwood's Westin brand went smoke-free in the USA, Canada and the Caribbean earlier this year, and last month Marriott International took the same decision at its properties in the USA and Canada.

The study also found that a cooked breakfast was the single most important amenity for consumers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden, with UK punters opting for coffee and tea-making facilities.

High-speed internet access was rated a "must have" for guests in Europe, although this will increasingly be usurped by a desire for wireless internet access, JD Power warned.

The growth in online bookings was reflected in the survey, which revealed that nearly 50% of respondents used the internet to make reservations, up from 34% in 2005. This is largely being driven by hotel brands' own websites, which are twice as likely to be used as independent sites such as Expedia and Hotels.com.

By Chris Druce

E-mail your comments to Chris Druce here.

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