GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - The American Hotel and Lodging Association Educational Institute designated U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr's Tower Inn winner of the 2009 Gold Pineapple award.

The recognition was the result of the Tower Inn using personnel training materials beginning in October 2004 from the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute, the premier resource for hotel staff training and development in the United States.

The Tower Inn, the previous winner of the Bronze and Silver Pineapple awards, focused its sights on achieving the next highest honor from the AH&LEI, gold.

In order to be considered for the Gold Pineapple, hotels must submit to an audit every six months, turning in training and goals.

The criterion for winning the Gold Pineapple is based on the ability to achieve those goals, which must be measureable.

According to Andrea Mueller, manager of the Tower Inn, those goals were achieving customer satisfaction in reducing the number of complaints, increasing occupancy, reducing turnover rates among staff, ensuring all staff members were certified under the AH&LEI program and the gradual upgrade of the facilities with new carpeting and painting.

In employing the training methods of the AH&LEI, Mueller said it has helped "educate staff in the areas of service, safety and security," adding that it has aided cross-cultural communication not only between employees and customers, but among personnel and between management and staff members.

The Tower Inn's win of the Gold Pineapple award of 2009 was one of only five awarded to hotels and lodging in this year's competition throughout the U.S. and its territories.

"Next year our goal will be the Meritorious Award," Mueller said, in reference to the award above the Gold Pineapple.

Those seeking nomination for a Meritorious Award must continue using the training programs from the AH&LEI for at least six years and possess the Gold Pineapple Award.