For many years, hotel bibles have been a reliable, if often ignored, part of the furniture in your room. Yet a recent study suggests this is changing.
The United States has approximately 53,000 hotels and, although many of them are part of huge franchises, it is often up to the individual hotel manager or owner to decide whether to leave a bible in the room as part of the standard amenities. A recent survey by STR found that only 48% of hotels offer some kind of religious amenities in their room, a significant drop from 2006 where 96% of respondents said they did.
While the survey only covers a small percentage of hotels in the country, it does appear to reflect a nationwide trend. Marriott International has confirmed they will not be supplying any religious material in their two new hotel brands geared towards millennials. In all their other hotel rooms, they provide a bible and the book of Mormon.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is campaigning major hotel chains to ask them to remove the bibles from the hotel rooms. They’ve had some success in 2016, as hotels run by the universities of both Northern Illinois and Arizona State have removed them.
In 2007, the British hotel chain Travelodge made the decision to remove bibles from all their hotel rooms in more than 500 hotels in an effort to avoid any charges of religious discrimination, although there are still copies at the hotel desk should guests request them. It was not even widely reported until 2014.
Should any traveller wish to read the bible in their hotel room, they may be better off looking online as the same survey showed 98% of managers said their establishments had in-room Wi-Fi services.