HELP! Non-smoking room smells horribly of smoke!!

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MountainMystery's picture
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A couple days ago, I had a couple guests staying in one of our kitchenette rooms for 3 days. When they checked out, Housekeeping reported to us that the room was obviously smoked in. There were ashes left on the floor and a strong smell of smoke. Of course, I charged the hefty smoking fee to the guest's card (no chargeback yet... still waiting to see about that... arrgh) and we've tried cleaning the room. The front and back door was left open all day yesterday, the fan has been running non-stop, all of the linens have been washed, the walls and all surfaces were wiped down with a vinegar/water solution, everything that couldn't be wiped or machine washed was soaked with our OdoBan spray. I've done everything I can think to do. Today we tried to rent the room to a new set of guests, and as soon as they walked in, they asked if they could change to a non-smoking room. I wanted to cry and tell them "this IS a non-smoking room". Sad 

Can anyone share a miracle solution?? Of course this had to happen right before Memorial Weekend... I'm loosing business because no one wants this smoky room. Sad

...and it's seriously making me consider driving to the smoking guest's house and TPing their front yard....!!

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gillumhouse's picture
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I have put vanilla in a small dish and placed it in a part of the room that it is not likely to get knocked over. The vanilla absorbs odors. We had a couple that smoked so heavily that even though they did not smoke in the room, it reeked. That was the final impetus to buy new drapes for that room! Washed all fabric items and put the vanilla in the closed-up room. Smoking charge would not have helped me as they did their smoking on the porch.

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I had this last year.  Two heavy smokers and the room just reeked.  I made my property completely "smoke free".  If they smoke, they have to do it curbside.  They can no longer smoke out back, around the pool, lounging all day and then bringing that stench back in with them.  They can no longer run out back to have a quick smoke before breakfast, then bring that nasty odor to the table for everyone else.  I am a HORRIBLE ex smoker.  I can smell it a block away. 

I rarely get any smokers, and the ones I do get have nothing to say about going to the street to have one.  They may grumble under their breath, but they knew before they got here that they can't smoke on the property.  It is quite clear in all my policies and on my email confirmation.  If you don't want to walk to the street for your cancer stick, then don't come here.  Easy as that. 

 

Edited to say : Dang, I am tired and grumpy today Smiling

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$250 cleaning fee as well as "lost income while room is being repaired and/or deep cleaned".   We haven't had to enforce the lost income part but have charged the $250 on one occasion.

Madeleine's picture
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I have had to use febreze on one room several times in the past 2 months. A lingering smell I can't track to the source.

Sitting here with the windows open in my apt and I can smell the febreze coming from the guest room. I hate that stuff but it seems to get rid of the bad smell.

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I gave up using that stuff. It coats everything with some sort of sticky substance. it may get rid of odors but after a while the fabrics feel weird.

Generic's picture
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Three solutions....

  1. Magic Zymes - Great stuff, just spray down the walls, let it sit and it should do the job. Charcoal (not briquettes) should also do a good job of absorbing odor.
  2. Re-paint - Kilz Oil Based Primer to lock the smell under, than regular latex paint over it. (This is the primer they use after a house fire, it locks the smell under the oil based primer, never to be smelled again.)
  3. Ozone machine (Ionizer) - Not the cheapest solution, but in some areas you can rent it and it will do the job as well.

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Joey Camb's picture
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Ours is $500 as we have to cover the cost of the room being out of service till the smell dissipates - I would do whatever would cover you for say 3 days and we have a sign in every room that says so.

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MountainMystery's picture
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Wow, I managed to book it for 2 nights anyway! We had a walk-in and since the area is pretty much sold out, they took it. He's a smoker and although he's used to smoking outside at home, him and his wife were both okay with the slight smoke smell that was still lingering. Hopefully the smell will continue to dissipate while they're in there, even though the doors will now be closed. I'm so glad I offered to show them the room!  

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The last couple times I rented a car and was offered the insurance, I declined (as I always do).  But something new to me was that I was  warned that should any damage occur, not only was I responsible for the cost of the damage, I was also responsible for the loss of rental to the company while the vehicle is being repaired. This makes perfect sense for us also.  If you have a damage waiver form, include that as part of your wording.  Maybe they'll think twice next time before being such idiots.  I don't know why this additional cost wouldn't hold up to a charge back, if worded properly and signed.  The loss of income is much greater than the cost of cleaning.

I've had smokers a couple of times, and I've used a friend's ionizer each time.  It has really helped.  I haven't purchased one because they aren't cheap and I don't get them often enough to warrant the expense.  I'd like to have one for those times that people drown themselves in cologne or perfume though! 

MountainMystery's picture
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oooh, that's an interesting idea! I'm going to consider that one! I was actually thinking about it today that our smoking fee is $150- which we just raised a month ago when we took over as the new managers. Previously it was only $50! But even at $150, it doesn't really cover the time that the room sits unoccupied while being cleaned, plus the extra time & effort needed to clean the room top to bottom.

My poor housekeepers have worked their butts off this weekend and I felt really bad asking them to go into an unoccupied room (..where there was no chance for tips, which is where they make the most money..) and wipe down all the walls and everything. They JUST deep cleaned this room before the smoking guests checked in!! So, I went ahead and did it. I'm thinking about raising the smoking fee to $250 now. What do you guys charge? I don't want to be totally unreasonable and I don't want it to be so high that I get chargebacks, but I want it to be a big enough deterrent that we won't have to worry about this problem frequently...

Madeleine's picture
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I don't state an exact fee. I explained this in another thread. Some people will look at it as what they have to pay to smoke in the room. Not a problem for them.

The fee for loss of service is a tricky one, I think. What's to get you to clean the room when you can just say you can't rent it 'cause it smells and continue to collect the room charge? I feel that way about the loss of service part of the car rental agreement, also. Why would they bother rushing to fix the car?

My blurb says you'll be charged for an excess cleaning needed due to negligence on your part.

We've had maybe 3 times in 10 years where a room had to come offline for something the guest did in what I would say was a deliberate manner.

Smoking was one, excessive use of hair spray (you couldn't even walk in the bathroom for days and it took weeks before I couldn't smell it any longer), and the parent who put her kid's pee soaked clothing on the carpet.

We didn't get a dime for any of them. In each case because the guest was not the one who paid for the room or because the credit card was no good after check out.

One reason I do not like when someone else pays for the room.

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It needs to be high enough to deter them.  When I was a smoker, especially if I were staying more than one night $150 would not have phased me.  Of course, I'm not a disrespectful jerk that smokes in someone else's home...but you get my point.  $250 is not an outrageous fee, but it should deter even the most addicted!  Add up the dry cleaning expense of the comforter, the drapes, any area rugs, etc.  Or the cost of renting a carpet shampooer.  No, $250 is not too much. 

Madeleine's picture
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I feel your pain. We had to remove the window screens and scrub them, disassemble the vent fan and clean it, clean the carpets and remove every fabric item in the room that could be washed.

Had to leave the windows open day and night.

Still could not rent the room for days.

We didn't even get a cleaning fee out of it, much less the loss of income.

I'd use the febreze. I haven't had any luck with magic zymes even tho that is probably febreze without the scent.

I have heard the ionizer really does work.

Hope you took photos of the ashes, etc.

MountainMystery's picture
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ohh, photos... didn't even think to do that! I'll definitely file that idea away for next time though. Smiling Good thinking.

Arks's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

Hope you took photos of the ashes, etc.

Yes! I meant to say that too! Be sure to get photos, all the evidence you can to back up the CC charge you made. And make sure the fee for smoking is spelled out in the policies they agree to when making a reservation. 

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MountainMystery's picture
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Yes, the fees are definitely clear- or should be to a reasonable person although I guess anyone could try to argue that they didn't know... We've got a sign right at the front desk stating that we have smoking rooms, non-smoking rooms, and the charge for it. They also sign a registration card that lists the policy. There's also a sign in the room on the dresser. Hopefully that is enough. 

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Febreze it if you have too!

 

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Do you know anyone with an ionizer? 

MountainMystery's picture
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An ionizer? Nope, don't think so. Not even sure if I know what one is... 

Madeleine's picture
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MountainMystery wrote:

An ionizer? Nope, don't think so. Not even sure if I know what one is... 

I had one as a kid. It was supposed to be good for clearing the air of dust, etc for my asthma. Should have kept it! My room always smelled like it was about to rain.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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an ionizer and an ozone machine are the same thing

Arks's picture
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All I can offer is sympathy. I hope someone has a good solution because we all may need it eventually
Sad

I use an odor remover Joey Bloggs recommends, but can't remember the name of it right now! I think it's better than Febreze.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Arks wrote:

All I can offer is sympathy. I hope someone has a good solution because we all may need it eventually
Sad

I use an odor remover Joey Bloggs recommends, but can't remember the name of it right now! I think it's better than Febreze.

The odor remover is MagicZymes, but it would have difficulty tackling this problem.

The only think I know that would work would be an ozone machine. They are expensive, but we bought one many years ago and it's saved our butts many times. The machine creates a chlorine type smell, but dissipates quickly when you open the windows and air it out.

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