Attention Frequent Breathers™:
FreshStay® Version 2.0 Features Major Web Site
Redesign & Fully Integrated Booking Process
At the all-new FreshStay,
“Frequent Breathers” can find and book
SAINT CHARLES, MO. — MAY 22, 2007 — It’s now easier than ever for travelers to click and book smoke-free hotel reservations, simply by visiting the completely redesigned FreshStay (www.FreshStay.com) online directory and integrated booking process for more than 3,500 nonsmoking lodging facilities.
With more and more hotels discovering every day
the myriad benefits and increased customer and employee satisfaction that
comes by providing Fresher Guestrooms and non-smoking environments, the
new FreshStay lists hundreds of additional smoke-free lodging facilities.
“There’s no need to ever visit another travel
Web site or to try to navigate through automated messages over the phone
to book lodging properties with Better Indoor Air Quality,” says Ray Burger,
President of Pineapple Hospitality, which founded and operates FreshStay.
“Our goal is to continuously improve our positioning as the most comprehensive directory and integrated booking process for lodging accommodations offering Better Indoor Air Quality — from smoke-free environments to other indoor air initiatives,” Burger says. “We won’t stop at smoke-free.”
Burger says that while there’s no doubt that providing a 100% smoke-free stay is the amenity of choice, there are a host of other initiatives lodging properties can and should do to improve the indoor air quality at their facilities, including (to name just a few):
FreshStay Version 2.0
What previous visitors to www.FreshStay.com will immediately notice about the new FreshStay is the simple, clean look of the Web site. Lodging choices are broken down into easily searchable categories, breaking up the listings for hotels and bed & breakfasts/inns, with state-by-state and countries search capabilities (expected to be expanded to city-by-city searches in the near future).
Before, FreshStay visitors searched for lodging options by region. FreshStay Version 2.0 offers state listings (with properties listed in alphabetical order within their respective states) — making it much easier and faster to Book Smoke Free. Besides the added convenience to users, the state breakdown was necessary because of the thousands of smoke-free hotels added recently to FreshStay.
Once the right hotel is found, visitors can click on an interactive map for a larger view of the hotel’s surroundings, or click on the listing for more information. Best of all, reservations can be made at all hotels listed on the Global Distribution System (GDS) by clicking on FreshStay’s “Book Now” button.
The new FreshStay also allows hotels to feature special deals under the aptly titled “Special Offers” link. This is surely the first place Frequent Breathers will check for additional travel-related offers from the corporate sponsors of FreshStay. Finally, FreshStay will include a compendium of smoke-free information and IAQ resources in the Smoke-Free Resources and IAQ sections of FreshStay.
“At FreshStay, we understand that even most smokers prefer smoke-free accommodations,” Burger says. “With the improvements we’ve made to FreshStay, all their needs and wants for smoke-free stays are assured — now with fast, easy and secure online bookings directly at www.FreshStay.com.”
Giving Travelers a Choice
A plethora of the new hotel listings on FreshStay come from the recent move by Choice Hotels International to go smoke-free at all of its domestic Comfort Suites hotels.
With its about 433 domestic Comfort Suites properties now 100% smoke free, Choice Hotels has made the second-largest smoke-free commitment from a hotel chain in the U.S., behind only Marriott International’s approximately 2,700 properties comprising 400,000 guestrooms in the United States and Canada that went smoke-free last summer. Westin-brand properties rank third, with 77 hotels in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean that went smoke free in January 2006.
Jeff Momin, owner of the Comfort Inn & Suites in Seabrook, Texas, says his hotel made the move to smoke-free in January. The upgrade already is paying big dividends.
“It’s been great since we made the decision to make all 49 guestrooms smoke free,” says Momin, who also runs smoke-free Holiday Inn Express properties in Texas and Colorado. “Guests love the smoke-free atmosphere. It creates a healthy environment for all of our guests, as well as our employees, that everyone — even most smokers — can appreciate.
“This move is really going to benefit us in the long-run,” Momin adds. “Not only is it easier on our housekeeping staff to keep rooms clean and smelling fresh, but we hear from guests that they’d gladly come back as return customers.”
FreshStay = The Way
Bob Spraker, director of sales and marketing for Shaner Hotels, has high praise for FreshStay and its mission to promote healthy and refreshing lodgings for Frequent Breathers. Shaner Hotels is a management company and franchisee of Marriott International, Hilton Hotels Corp. and the InterContinental Hotels Group. With more than 20 locations in 15 states, the company on April 1 enacted a smoke-free policy across all of its properties.
“One of the things we’re seeing throughout the industry is that becoming smoke-free is an emerging trend,” Spraker says. “As a Marriott franchisee and realizing Marriott corporate’s dedication to this initiative, it certainly made sense to follow suit for all of our Marriott-branded properties.
“Above and beyond that, it just makes sense to become consistent across the board, and to capitalize on the fact that this is becoming an increasingly important travel consideration on the part of the discriminating traveler,” Spraker adds.
Spraker points to the “hidden benefits” of going smoke-free as one of the biggest advantages the company has seen. These benefits include better appearance from the lack of cigarette burns on tablecloths and countertops, improved safety from fire hazards and, of course, the fact that the guestrooms and public spaces smell a lot fresher and are a lot cleaner.
Shaner Hotels implemented a policy of charging guests who smoke against the rules $250 cleaning fees (communicated upfront and on signage). Fortunately, it’s a charge the firm hasn’t had much use for.
“Since we initiated our smoke-free program, we’ve received very little, if any, negative feedback — which I look upon as a trend of acceptance,” he says. “To put it into perspective, we have a full-service Marriott in downtown Durham, N.C. There's been no issue raised by the guests. If we can go smoke-free there, we can go smoke free anywhere.
“We’re glad to partner with FreshStay, as it really is for more than just the people who prefer to stay in non-smoking rooms,” Spraker says. “There are people who can be physically threatened by spending time in guestrooms and public spaces where there’s second-hand smoke, and the health of our guests and employees is always of paramount importance.”
Joining the FreshStay Family
Besides the addition of Comfort Suites hotels, the continuing expansion of FreshStay smoke-free listings proves that this trend won’t be a passing one. Smoke-free is a way of life for hotels.
Recently, Walt Disney World announced it will ban smoking in guestrooms at more than 20 of its hotels and timeshare resorts beginning June 1. The new policy applies to all guestrooms, patios and balconies. It also designates outdoor smoking areas at all resorts and timeshare properties affected by the change.
In January 2000, Walt Disney World theme and water parks allowed smoking only in designated areas. Smoking also previously had been prohibited in lobbies, common areas, restaurants and convention space. Demand for smoking rooms at the Walt Disney World properties has steadily declined during the past five years, with less than 3.5 percent of Walt Disney World’s 24,000 on-site guestrooms allowing smoking. Requests for non-smoking rooms, Disney says, have increased.
“We make adjustments to our operations based on guest demand,” says operations Senior Vice President Erin Wallace. “This policy complements our efforts to provide our guests with the healthy living options they are requesting.”
As yet another example, all Gaylord Hotels became completely smoke-free this past February in a response to client feedback as well as to provide healthy environments for guests and staff. The includes the Gaylord’s existing properties — Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Fla., and Gaylord Texan on Lake Grapevine near Dallas — as well as the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, slated to open in 2008 in Prince George’s County, Md.
“We pride ourselves on offering extraordinary environments at our properties, which include climate-controlled glass-covered atriums featuring acres of indoor foliage and plants,” says John Caparella, executive vice president and COO of Gaylord Hotels. “It doesn’t seem right to pollute those environments with smoke, especially when our clients increasingly request non-smoking rooms. We care about our meeting attendees, and we also care about our STARS (employees) who no longer will have to be subjected to second-hand smoke.”
Health & Safety
According to the United State Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air is often two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Adding second-hand smoke only makes matters worse.
While a smoke-free environment attracts customers, it also reduces maintenance costs, insurance premiums and employee absenteeism. Additionally, for example, the EPA estimates that restaurants that go smoke-free save $190 per 1,000 square feet annually in cleaning and maintenance costs. If clean indoor air policies were adopted nationwide, the EPA estimates the total annual savings in building operations costs could be $8 billion.
From a health standpoint, a report from the U.S. Surgeon General’s office says there is no safe level of second-hand smoke. Exposure to second-hand smoke puts an estimated 126 million people in the U.S. at risk of heart disease, lung cancer and death, and increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory conditions, ear infections and severe asthma. Meanwhile, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights reports that every legitimate economic study ever done has shown no negative impact to smoking bans, and in a few cases, studies have shown a positive impact.
“It is absolutely phenomenal how many 100% smokefree hotels are listed at www.FreshStay.com! The ever-expanding roster of smoke-free facilities confirms that more and more Americans are choosing destinations free of second-hand smoke, and that going smoke-free can be an economic boon to responsible businesses,” says Cynthia Hallett, executive director, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.
“By promoting hospitality establishments that provide safe, healthy and completely smokefree environments for all, FreshStay practices the true meaning of hospitality,” she adds.
About Pineapple Hospitality
FreshStay® is a registered trademark of Pineapple
|Also See:||Choice Hotels Comfort Suites Brand To Go Smoke Free May 1, 2007; The decision adds another 433 U.S. hotels to the ever-growing ranks of FreshStay.com's directory of smoke-free lodging facilities worldwide / April 2007|
|Better Designs Today For a Greener Tomorrow; Design sustainability expert David Oakey to headline the March 14th Green Hospitality Conference hosted by Lodging Hospitality and Pineapple Hospitality, Inc. / March 2007|
|Bacteria-Ridden Remote Controls Are The Likely Place for Guests to get a Cold or Flu / February 2007|
|The Triple Win: greenSPA™ Amenities Benefit Hotels'Guests, Properties' Profits and the Environment; Hotels from coast to coast reduce waste to preserve our planet / January 2007|
|The Triple Bottomline: Fresh BulbTM Eliminates Odors, Cuts Energy Costs and Reduces Global Warming; Pineapple Hospitality announces its Winter Light Sale / January 2007|
|Global Growth; The FreshStay.com online directory/network of smoke-free lodging properties connects a growing number of owner/operators with travelers from across the globe / December 2006|
|FreshStay® Reports 2,700% Gain in Smoke-free Hotels; With 2,300 Marriott properties' going smoke free, more than 5% of U.S. hotels will be 100% non-smoking / August 2006|
|Springfield’s Krystal Aire Inn & Suites Introduces Another Fresh Idea; All Non-Smoking Hotel Installs Energy Efficient, Odor-Neutralizing Light Bulbs / August 2006|
|FreshStay® Online Network Unites Hotels Worldwide,Fuels Smoke-Free Movement: Kentucky is the 48th state to join the FreshStay® union of nonsmoking lodging properties / June 2006|
|Turn Trash into Cash; Pineapple Hospitality® and Midas Consulting Identify Eight Red Flags For Hotel Operators to Improve Environmental Practices and Reduce Waste Management Expense / June 2006|
|PURE Solutions Signs On As A Corporate Sponsor Of FreshStay™; FreshStay™'s rapidly growing online directory of non smoking hospitality properties is the perfect match for the PURETM Rooms program, which converts guestrooms to allergy-friendly rooms within 24 hours / May 2006|
|Pineapple Lights Up Hotels' Bottom Lines; Hospitality Properties Reap Significant, Sustained Economic Benefits By Embracing Environmentally-Friendly, Energy-Efficient Bulbs; Lighting Retrofits Reduce Costs & Bolster Guest Satisfaction / May 2006|
|Top 5 States and Top 10 cities for Non Smoking hotels in the U.S.; www.freshstay.com adds 25 non-smoking properties during April -California is the number 1 state and Seattle the number 1 city / May 2006|
|Zontec™ Sponsors FreshStay.com to Identify Best Places Where Guests Can ‘Breath Easy, Sleep Great™’ / April 2006|
|200 Smoke Free Hotels Join the www.freshstay.com Online Directory in 1st Month / March 2006|
|120 Smoke Free Hotels Join the www.freshstay.com Online Directory in 1st Month / February 2006|
|Fresh Air: The New Hospitality Amenity; Pineapple Hospitality Launches FreshStay™, an Online Directory of Hotels Offering Better Indoor Air Quality / January 2006|
|Gift of the Year: Pineapple Hospitality’s Energy $aving Trifecta / December 2005|
|Pineapple Hospitality is Now the Exclusive U.S. Supplier of Environmentally Sensitive Amenities™ / November 2005|
|Got Pineapple? Hotelier-turned-industry-innovator Ray Burger Launches Pineapple Hospitality™ — bringing fresh ideas and business-building products and programs to your guests’ doors and your bottom line / September 2005|