For years, most hotels have placed Bibles in every guest room. But in the wake of cultural, business and technological change, could this tradition become obsolete?
Recent research from hospitality analytics company STR reports the percentage of hotels offering religious materials in rooms dropped from 95 percent in 2006 to 48 percent in 2016, citing shifts in customer cultures and needs, streamlining housekeeping and the increased use of digital access to Scriptures as reasons for the decline.
“We do not have much resistance [from hotels], as Bibles are still a service,” says Craig Warner, executive director of The Gideons International, which has been providing Bibles to hotels since 1908. “It seems to be the exceptions that draw the media.”
Warner says the decision to include Bibles in guest rooms is left up to individual hotel owners in most cases and not dictated by parent companies. Gideons expects to distribute 97 million Bibles this year to schools, colleges, medical facilities, the military and hotels, with hotels representing less than 5 percent of that total.