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The Pineapple has been a symbol of hospitality for centuries. According to legend, captains of New England would mount a pineapple on their fence posts when they had a safe return from sea.  This served as an invitation for family and friends to visit and share a meal together.  Today, the pineapple serves as a symbol for the highest quality in hospitality

.Taking Green Mainstream

As the sustainability movement continues to escalate, Pineapple Hospitality’s EcoRooms
& EcoSuites adds green leader Q Hotel & Spa as a new member and recruits two top
talents to serve as Advisors —Bernadette V. Upton and Ray Hobbs.

Saint Charles, Missouri — March 5, 2008 — Doug Gamble sees himself as a pretty mainstream American. Sure, he recycles at home and he’s been on an anti-bottled water kick lately, but that’s about it. He doesn’t think of himself as a hardcore environmentalist by any means. Yet, as Managing Partner of the Q Hotel and Spa in Kansas City, Mo., Gamble has instituted some of the most-stringent green policies in the hospitality industry.

“We bought the hotel last April and have converted all its operations into an eco-friendly format,” Gamble says. “We saw the trend and the opportunity in the movement toward sustainability and ran with it. We basically did everything we could think of. Some of the changes we implemented cost us money. But most of them saved us a lot of money. In the end, the Sierra Club walked through the hotel with us and said we did everything that could be done.”

Adding Seats to the Eco Board Room

Along with adding the Q Hotel and Spa as a new member hotel, EcoRooms & EcoSuites has added two new members to its prestigious Board of Advisors: Bernadette V. Upton and Ray Hobbs.

  • Upton is a Florida licensed interior designer, lecturer and consultant. She has specialized in environmental interior design since 1982. She is a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and Past President for the Florida South Chapter, as well as a founding member of the national ASID Sustainable Design Council. She is a LEED (Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professional and member with the US Green Building Council (USGBC), and a Home Designator and member of the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC).
  • As Senior Vice President of Kelco Management & Development, Hobbs oversees and directs the operations of hotels managed by Kelco Management & Development. Hobbs received his CHA designation in 1983, and he is a 40-year veteran of the hospitality industry. Hobbs has been instrumental in implementing green initiatives in all of Kelco Hotels' properties. He also serves as Director of Development for WIDECAST, the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network. WIDECAST represents sea turtle preservation and conservation programs in over 40 countries throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, and South America.
The Q Plan

For its efforts in promoting sustainability to guests and within the industry, the Q Hotel and Spa has also qualified as a member of EcoRooms & EcoSuites. ( — an online directory of environmentally friendly hotels, inns, motels and B&Bs. With insight from some of the greatest and greenest minds in the industry as a guide, the Web site’s rigorous Significant 7 Criteria for being an EcoRooms & EcoSuites is helping define what it means to be a green hotel.

“EcoRooms & EcoSuites is a one-stop solution for green-savvy travelers searching for lodging on par with their environmental values,” says Ray Burger, President of Pineapple Hospitality, which operates the EcoRooms & EcoSuites Web site. “EcoRooms & EcoSuites allows you to search, locate and book rooms at the leading green hotels in the United States with just a few clicks of the mouse.

“With the growing trend toward green, it is becoming difficult for consumers to differentiate between green and greenwashing,” Burger continues. “We don’t have a large number of member hotels yet, but we have designed our Significant 7 Criteria so that only the ‘greenest of the green’ offerings in the hospitality industry will qualify. First commitment, then membership.”

“We’re proud to have Doug Gamble and the Q Hotel join our green ranks,” Burger adds. “The policies Doug has instituted are a perfect example of how together we can do our part to help preserve and protect our environment.”

The centerpiece of the 124-room Q’s eco-plan is a 38-point sustainability program. The plan includes Green Seal-approved cleaning products, the virtual elimination of plastics, the use of water-saving aerators for every device handling water, and bulk, bio-friendly bathroom amenities. The green hotel also recently instituted an extensive guestroom recycling program.

Located in the heart of Kansas City’s historic Westport Entertainment District, the Q even offers to let guests borrow hemp shopping bags rather than waste plastic ones, and keeps a fleet of bicycles around for short trips around the city.

The Q Hotel & Spa
 560 Westport Rd.
Kansas City, Missouri
“What’s been neat is how a lot of the changes, individually, are really small, but they can add up to be huge,” Gamble says. “It’s fun and fruitful to see how far you can go — to leave as small an environmental footprint as possible. Hotels can have a bigger environmental impact than homes, condos, apartments or places like department stores because lodging’s lights never go off. That’s why it’s especially important in this industry to do what we can to protect the natural resources we have.”

Speaking of lights, Gamble says he wants to experiment with turning off the lights in the lobby and/or meeting rooms during the day when it’s sunny, and perhaps even use clotheslines to dry washed linens. 

“We’ve really seen a tremendous savings in our operations since instituting these policies — especially in our water use, which I think is going to be a huge issue in the future,” Gamble says. “Guests are really excited to take part in our program and ask us questions about sustainability. We haven’t had any complaints about the water pressure, and in the first three weeks of using bulk amenity dispensers in our guestroom bathrooms, we had just two requests for individual bottles of shampoo.”

Green Team Gurus

“Bernadette V. Upton and Ray Hobbs bring a great new ideas and enthusiasm to our distinguished and accomplished Board of Advisors,” Burger says. “Bernadette brings an interior design perspective that we didn’t have before, and Ray has tremendous experience in implementing green programs and great passion for green hospitality. We’re proud to have them aboard.”

Already a “Who’s Who” of Green Hospitality, the other members of EcoRooms & EcoSuites Board of Advisors include: 

  • Deirdre Wallace, Owner of The Ambrose Hotel in Santa Monica, Calif.; 
  • Natalie Marquis, General Manager of Habitat Suites Hotel; 
  • Jenn Holderied-Webb, Director of Marketing Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort in Lake Placid, N.Y.;
  • Wen-I Chang, President of Atman Hospitality Group and the owner/developer of California’s premier green hotel brand: GAIA Hotels;
  • Rauni Kew, PR & Green Programs for the Inn By The Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine;
  • Stefan Muhle, General Manager of the Orchard Garden Hotel in San Francisco;
  • John R. Hendrie, President of Ragsdale Associates, Inc., a Consortium of Management Consultants, specializing in Customer Service/Satisfaction, Communication and Branding;
  • John Glen DiGuiseppe, President/CEO of Investors Hospitality Management (IHM).
Bernadette’s Green Design Eye

“I started in green design back in 1982, when it really wasn’t easy being green,” Upton says. “Seeing how green is taking off, I like to joke that I’ve watched Kermit the Frog turn into the Jolly Green Giant.”

Specializing in green interior design, Upton has worked in a number of settings, but especially enjoys working within the hospitality industry. Over the years, she has worked with many clients dealing with chemical sensitivity and other environmental issues, which lead her participation with EcoRooms & EcoSuites.

“These people would tell me, ‘I have no place to stay. I’m always compromising my health when I travel,’” she says. “That’s why I knew how important this issue was. If you don’t have the right design, the right indoor air quality, the right materials, you can pollute your green building overnight.”

Upton says the green movement is in its infancy. Though it’s taken maybe longer than she’d like for green to catch on, it’s about to explode fast and furious.

“There are a lot of green ideas I’d love to see catch on in this industry,” she says. “I see a huge problem with mold. We have to shift to a mold-proof wallboard and get away from vinyl wall covers. I’d like to see more green products available to the industry and think we can take a closer look at the practices we use as well.

“At EcoRooms & EcoSuites, we already have the most thorough green standards in the industry today — let’s build on that and see how far we can take this movement,” she adds.

Now at Bat: Ray Hobbs

Hobbs believes that the movement toward sustainable practices is the right thing to do from both an environmental and a management perspective.

“As hotel managers, we have a fiduciary responsibility to protect property owners’ assets,” says Hobbs. “As we improve our environmental performance, we are going to run the hotels more efficiently. The savings will be substantial.

“A hotel that operates in a sustainable manner is more attractive to both guests and in the marketplace,” he says. “Green operations improve profits on a monthly and annual basis, and increase the overall value of properties long-term.”

Hobbs believes that as the public further embraces the green movement, hotel operators and managers must become more involved, more outspoken. Consumers more and more will come to demand sustainable standards. In turn, managers must demand more choices from product vendors. It will take some leadership, especially among the large companies and hotel chains, but it can and will happen.

“The industry is embracing this movement as it never has before, but there are still some places that won’t allow recycling containers in buildings,” Hobbs says. “We have to keep the pressure on, and keep heading in the right direction. It’s going to take some thought and creative action, but that’s why I’m glad to be involved with EcoRooms & EcoSuites. If we keep pressure, our criteria, while rigorous now, can become the standard for the industry.”

About Pineapple Hospitality
Headquartered in Saint Charles, Missouri, Pineapple Hospitality™ is The Co-Founder and Host of the ANNUAL GREEN HOSPITALITY CONFERENCE, an EPA ENERGY STAR™ partner bringing fresh ideas to hospitality guests’ doors and owner/operators’ bottom lines — including FreshStay® (, Environmentally Sensitive Amenities™, the greenSPA™ luxury amenity and dispenser system, Energy Efficient Lighting and Controls, Custom Linen & Towel Re-Use Programs, Green Key Cards, Guestat™ programmable thermostats, High Performance  showerheads, the Nature’s Mist™ deodorization system, and dozens of other products and programs. To get a taste of Pineapple’s planet-friendly solutions, please visit, or call us at 636-922-2285.


Ray Burger
President & Founder
Pineapple Hospitality, Inc.
 (636) 922-2285

Also See: Pineapple Hospitality Proclaims March 9-15 Green Lodging Education Week; Three major hospitality conferences during the week of March 9-15 will make green a priority / January 2008
FreshStay - The World’s Largest Directory of Lodging Properties featuring Better Indoor Air Quality celebrates 2nd Anniversary / January 2008
Green Heat For the Holidays: The innovative Buffet Burner from Pineapple Hospitality is so hot it can help keep the environment cool / November 2007
Three's Company; Pineapple Hospitality's EcoRooms & EcoSuites adds three new members to its Board of Advisors, providing additional environmental insight and perspective for the hospitality industry / October 2007
Fresh Impressions; Many hotels listed on® are finding success by going beyond providing smoke-free environments and offering guestrooms, meeting rooms and public spaces with Indoor Air Quality IAQ enhancements / October 2007
Green Leaders: EcoRooms & EcoSuites new Board of Advisors hopes to raise the environmental standards of the hospitality industry, educate consumers and differentiate green from 'greenwashing' / August 2007
Guaranteed Non Smoking = Guaranteed Success; FreshStay® Version 2.0 a Huge Hit With Guests & Hoteliers / July 2007
Another “Green” Tool For Hotels’ Eco Toolboxes; Guests and hoteliers alike rave about the quality of Environmentally Sensitive AmenitiesTM from Pineapple Hospitality / June 2007
Turning Up the Heat; Pineapple Hospitality Adds the Buffet Burner Electric Chafing Dish Heater to its Growing Line of Cost-effective, Environmentally-friendly Hospitality Solutions. / June 2007
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 smoke-free hotel reservations worldwide / May 2007
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'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 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.; adds 25 non-smoking properties during April -California is the number 1 state and Seattle the number 1 city / May 2006
Zontec™ Sponsors to Identify Best Places Where Guests Can ‘Breath Easy, Sleep Great™’ / April 2006
200 Smoke Free Hotels Join the Online Directory in 1st Month / March 2006
120 Smoke Free Hotels Join the 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

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