A desire to surpass guests' standards has always been crucial in the hospitality industry. Today, a smoke-free environment is one of those standards.

According to a Missouri-based organization that calls itself a distribution and marketing company, Americans expect fresh air everywhere, and with businesses and communities on board, they are getting it.

And, this is so thanks, in part, to Pineapple Hospitality's efforts.

This company helped form FreshStay, an online directory of smoke-free lodging facilities worldwide. According to these two entities, the number of completely smoke-free hotels in the United States has grown 2,700 percent during the first eight months of this year alone.

One of the major reasons for this rise is the fact that Westin Hotels and Resorts announced this past January that 77 Westin-brand properties in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean were going 100 percent nonsmoking. More recently, as of Sept. 1, Marriott International is now completely smoke-free throughout its about 2,300 hotels, comprising 400,000 guestrooms in the United States and Canada. Marriott International's move involves 29 times as many hotels and encompasses 10 brands: Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Courtyard, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inn, TownePlace Suites, and Marriott ExecuStay.

"With the Marriott chain aboard, more than 5 percent of the 53,000 hotels in this country will be smoke-free," said Ray Burger, operator of FreshStay and president of Pineapple Hospitality. "The fresh air movement is catching on like wild fire across the world, and Marriott's across-the-board move shows the leadership and awareness that will encourage other major brands to follow suit."

Thankfully, said Burger, every destination has one, if not several, smoke-free lodging options.

"The smoke-free trend isn't just a niche," said Burger. "Every week, hotels in all markets go 100 percent nonsmoking and join our blossoming FreshStay network."

Of course, such movement in hotels makes life somewhat easier for HVACR system designers and installers. Without having to accommodate for smoking inside a building, designers will not have to concern themselves with environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and how it should be handled inside a building.

"We salute Marriott International, especially the Marriott properties on FreshStay that helped pioneer this move within Marriott and within the hospitality industry worldwide," said Burger. "FreshStay's dozens of hotel brands and thousands of 100 percent smoke-free lodging choices across the globe just got a whole lot better thanks to Marriott."

For more information, visit FreshStay at www.freshstay.com and Pineapple Hospitality at www.pineapplehospitality.com.

Publication date: 10/23/2006