Web Exclusive: Eliminate smoking incidents with detection devices

While it wasn’t always the case, most hotels these days have no-smoking policies throughout the property and strict penalties for those who don’t adhere to them.

The Hyatt Place Miami Airport East was one of those hotels that had smoking issues with guests lighting up in guestrooms despite the no-smoking rules of the hotel. When guests started to complain about it, hotel management had to find a solution that enables the enforcement of the no-smoking directives.

Craig Haas, the hotel’s general manager, turned to FreshAir Sensor‘s smoke-detecting devices in order to alert team members of someone smoking on property.

Since the devices have been installed, Haas said, “there is not as much smoking in the rooms, and managers are able to respond right away” if a violation occurs.

According to Jack O’Toole, CEO, FreshAir Sensor, “FreshAir’s sensors were developed by a Dartmouth College chemistry professor and his research team. The technology functions like a biological receptor, which only bonds with a specific target molecule. When the target molecules from tobacco smoke or marijuana smoke are present in the air, they bind with the sensors, prompting an alert by email and/or push notifications, either mobile or desktop.

The company’s patented technology is used in Wi-Fi-enabled devices that communicate with a cloud-based monitoring platform that tracks the sensor data in real-time and provides around-the-clock monitoring and alerts.

“Rapid notification is important because additional smoking causes more damage and can very difficult and time-consuming to remediate,” said O’Toole.

Each FreshAir Sensor device covers approximately 500 square feet. O’Toole noted, “Typically, there is one device in each room, with two or more devices in a suite. The device is installed in a centrally located electrical outlet. It can be installed in just two to three minutes.”

When smoking is detected in a monitored space, FreshAir sends users an immediate alert via email, computer desktop and/or mobile phone push notification. Smoking alerts come with timestamped reports of the incident in the monitored space, providing the scientific proof needed to enforce no-smoking policies. O’Toole added, “FreshAir’s mobile app and online portal allow facilities teams to access alert history, stay updated on device information and log additional evidence of smoking to be archived in the account’s alert history.”

The CEO stressed the importance of a no-tolerance non-smoking policy. “The tolerance for smoking among non-smokers is very low, as 87% of hotel guests prefer to stay in a non-smoking room,” he said. “Enforcing non-smoking policies in hotels is extremely difficult because guests are in a private area and, without FreshAir’s technology, staff has very little ability to track the guest’s actions.”

He added, “A recent study showed that the average cost of a smoking event in a room averages more than $1.100 per incident. Smoking in rooms causes physical damage that requires additional cleaning and degrades the room much more rapidly. Frequently rooms need to be kept out of inventory for an extended period to allow the smell to dissipate. A 2013 study showed that the only way to fully clean up a smoking incident is to replace all of the soft goods, including rugs, and paint all of the hard surfaces. More importantly, odor remains the third most-cited complaint in the check-in process. Bad reviews and loss of future business driven by smoking have a very negative effect on hotel profitability.”

O’Toole pointed out that FreshAir has tens of thousands of devices at hundreds of locations, including the Hyatt Place Miami Airport East. Haas noted that FreshAir’s smoking sensor technology and support staff dramatically upgraded the hotel’s smoking prevention and policy enforcement. Since implementation, the property has been able to successfully charge smoking fees, safeguard against smoking-related cleaning costs, and, ultimately, meet the hotel’s no-smoking goals.