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Ask the Experts – Should I allow guests to smoke in my holiday home?

Ask the experts…

Q. I’m unsure how allowing people to smoke in my holiday home would affect my bookings. What does your experience show?

A. The Helpful Holidays team say:

Twenty years ago our advice to holiday home owners was to allow smoking in their properties, particularly those accommodating large numbers, to avoid potential holidaymakers fearing a non-smoking restriction implied a plethora of other irritating restrictions.

However, the attitude to smoking has clearly changed and, although the 2007 national smoking ban does not require self-catering accommodation to be smoke-free, the majority of holiday home owners understandably choose not to permit smoking indoors. Helpful Holidays markets around 700 properties and just under 6% of these currently allow smoking, with only two specifying no smoking within the grounds too.

Statistically, the properties we represent which allow smoking have received more bookings than those which don’t. On the other hand, the non-smoking properties have enjoyed a higher average income per booking. However, it would be wrong to assume this is simply due to the appeal of the smoking or non-smoking feature to potential customers. For example, owners of properties permitting smoking are also likely to be relaxed about allowing several dogs or hen or stag parties, meaning their property generates more bookings by appealing to a wider range of customers, whilst owners of top quality properties, which demand the highest prices, are subsequently least likely to permit smoking, hence the higher income.

If you do decide to allow smoking in your holiday home, it’s sensible to impose a few reasonable ‘house rules’, such as asking your guests not to smoke in bedrooms and to dispose of cigarette ends responsibly. As always, rigorously maintain smoke alarms to minimise any fire risk, and allow plenty of time on changeover days to eliminate stale smells.