Smoking is way out of fashion, and hotels have to think about whether to accommodate smokers. Even though smoking is out of fashion, hotel room ashtrays are part of a mind game that continues between hotels and their guests.
Some hotels even provide hotel room ashtrays in non-smoking rooms, complete with a no-smoking emblem on the item. As far as the ashtrays in non-smoking rooms, some hotel owners realize that some people are going to smoke wherever they are. They provide the ashtray hoping the guest will not, but if they do, hopefully, they will use the hotel room ashtrays.
Hotels also often supply matches, which generally are something given to the guest. Hotel room ashtrays, however, are not necessarily there for the taking.
People often take ashtrays when they leave, and they take other things too, like towels, cups or whatever else they might need. A survey conducted by travel broker Orbitz, showed 61 percent of adults steal toiletries, 18 percent steal towels, 14 percent steal hotel room ashtrays and a few percent take bathrobes.
Not counting the bathrobes, the toiletries, ashtrays and such are not real expensive, so for some large operations, this may not be a big deal, just a part of the cost of doing business. For small hotels, this could eventually be a big expense and eat into profits. Hotel room ashtrays are not all that expensive, but they are more expensive than things like matches or shampoo packets. These hotel room ashtrays could get costly if too many are stolen.
This is why most hotels put their logo or name on things like hotel room ashtrays, They may get stolen, but the ashtray will be an advertisement for them. The person who stole the hotel room ashtrays will probably remember the hotel fondly and will possibly go there again. Friends will also see the advertisement, and may even get a positive recommendation.
Taken that way, it is not that much of a cost if hotel room ashtrays are pilfered by guests, even if it does cost more than all other toiletries.
It is a chess game of sorts. Hotels realize small items like ashtrays, matches, shampoo samples and so forth, may well get taken by the guests. High-end hotels actually need to give guests these things to guests to add value to the room. If you are spending upwards of $100 per night, you are going to have expectations after all. But hotels may be smiling at times even as items disappear. Smart hotel owners realize they are getting goodwill and free advertising out of the deal as well. Some hotels even encourage guests to “steal” items in their room.