Thursday, June 21, 2007

Hotel bibles

I have wanted to write on this topic for a while, for a few reasons, but have never gotten around to it. For most of my working life, I have worked in hotels. Before you ask, I can't get you a cheap room.
As far as I know, I would love to be wrong on this, all hotels in the USA* carry Gideons Bibles in their rooms - at the very least all major brands do.

Okay, so we know that most, if not all, hotels in the USA* carry bibles in their rooms. I think that what we need to ask ourselves is:

Why do the hotels put bibles in their rooms?

  • The bibles are free, Gideons will provide hotels with as many free bibles as they request. What does a hotel have to loose by putting a free item in a room?
  • The hotels feel that by putting a bible (and a Book of Mormon at Marriott properties), they will appear to be a wholesome establishment, which makes the guests more content.
  • It has been done for a very long time Gideons was founded in 1899, and it was done before that.

What can we do about it?

As much as I love the bible disclaimer stickers, I just don't think they are the way to go. *IF* they are noticed by the hotel, or brought to the attention of the hotel, then the bible is simply replaced with another; believe me, hotels have stacks of bibles in their housekeeping areas. The stickers do two things, entertain people who don't believe, or serve to make religious nuts feel that they are correct about atheists being evil satan worshipers; one is good, the other very bad.

So stickers and other forms of vandalism are out, what else is there? Play the fair card. If every non-xian (atheists, and people of a different faith) all did this, bibles would most likely start to become a thing of the past.

The Fair Card

The fair card? What the [expletive of your choice] is that? The fair card is rather simple, ask the hotels to be fair. Ask the hotels to not only provide a copy of the bible in every room, but also provide a copy of any religious text you can think of. This will do two things. First, cost the hotel money, somethings most hotels don't have a whole lot of. Second, be a really big bother for the staff in general. By the way, this works not only for hotels, but for any institution, to pick anything out of the air, government.

Why does this work? Hotels are a business that strives to keep customers returning, if they feel that it is worthwhile enough to the guests, then they will start to add other religious texts to the rooms; as more texts get added, the more difficult, and expensive it will become - so you will start to see the texts disappearing from the rooms, and moved behind the front desk for people to ask for.

Dos and Don't of talking to a hotel. If you have a problem, a normal problem, you talk to the hotel staff or management first, then you contact the hotel chain customer service. In this case, skip the hotel staff, and talk to the customer service staff right away, they keep tabs on the complaints, and that will get seen by the decision makers.
  • Do - write or call each time you stay in a hotel, each effort helps.
  • Don't - contact them if you have not stayed in a hotel - unless it is a general letter to the company.
  • Do - be courteous, but forceful in telling them that you want X literature in your hotel room.
  • Don't - demand that all literature gets put in the rooms, you will be ignored.
  • Do - inform them that you will have to start staying somewhere else if they can do as you ask.
  • Don't - inform them you feel they are stupid.
  • Never tell them what you believe in, or in our case, don't believe in.
  • Don't - take the bible from the room, this will only go to show the hotel that there is a greater demand for them.
  • Do - feel free to move the bible around in the room, any ol' bin you can find will do.
I think that is all for now. Hit the comments and let us know what you think, I look forward to readings everyones thoughts on this.

* I'm not sure about other countries, though I assume that it would be fairly similar in Europe, South America, etc.