Marriott Is Removing Bibles From Millennial-Focused Hotels

Filed Under: Hotels, Marriott

Marriott is unique among the major hotel chains, in that they have the Bible and Book of Mormon bedside at every one of their hotels worldwide (except in Muslim countries). That probably has to do with the company’s roots, though at the same time there’s no denying that Marriott has evolved a lot over the years.

That’s why it’s interesting to note that Marriott is slowly changing their requirements regarding religious materials in hotels. Marriott will no longer offer religious materials at Moxy and Edition hotels, which are two of their millennial-oriented hotel brands.

Here’s the explanation, per the Los Angeles Times:

“It’s because the religious books don’t fit the personality of the brands,” said Marriott spokeswoman Felicia Farrar McLemore, explaining that the Moxy and Edition hotels are geared toward fun-loving millennials.

This represents a larger trend, as throughout the U.S. the percentage of hotels with religious materials in rooms has apparently dropped from 95% to 48% over the past decade, at least based on surveys. What’s the reason for this change?

Among the reasons for the change, according to industry experts, is a need to appeal to younger American travelers who are less devout than their parents or grandparents and to avoid offending international travelers such as Muslims or Buddhists.

And then there is this practical issue: Many newer hotel brands install shelves rather than nightstands with drawers next to the bed, making it difficult to be discreet about offering a Bible. A copy of the Scriptures on a bedside shelf makes a more pronounced statement than a Bible slipped into a drawer.

It’s certainly an interesting trend, and if anything I’m surprised so many hotels still offer Bibles. I don’t remember the last time I saw one, though at the same time I don’t remember the last time I opened a nightstand. 😉

Moxy Hotel Milan Airport

Eliminating religious material at millennial-focused hotels seems a lot more rational than eliminating desks, though at least they’ve finally backtracked on that.

What do you make of Marriott dropping the Bible requirement at their millennial hotels? Do you think hotels should have religious reading materials, or no?

  1. ‘Younger generations are less devout than their parents and grandparents’. That’s the understatement of the year. Who is so religious that they require a bible at every hotel they stay at without carrying their own around?
    I thought the only time deeply religious people travel was for religious events (conferences, pilgrimages etc) during which time they would carry their own bibles anyway? Are they really staying at a W hotel for a crazy weekend away otherwise?

  2. As a Christian I support the fact that millenials are now digital readers, but some of the comments (Marco) are just ignorant. As to Ben, deeply religious may not just apply to the generic terms you here such as the Pope and pastors, other people can also be deeply religious, some of which live normal lives and occasionally splurging at the nearby W…

    Don’t object to what Marriott’s doing, though, I guess offending other religions is a pretty valid point.

  3. I noticed the same thing at the new Marriott AC Hotel in Minneapolis… both the absence religious texts and the fact that neither the desk nor the bedside stands had drawers.

  4. Sometimes hotels put their in room safes in odd places, so I occasionally check the nightstands. The few times I’ve seen bibles recently have all been in the so-called bible belt or very rural places.

  5. Like so many other religious matters, it does not hurt one bit to have them there. If you don’t want to read them, don’t. Someone hurting or in need might just crack it open and have a need met and start a relationship or renew an old one. But don’t use this as a marketing ploy, that is wrong.

  6. @Credit
    Some of their followers. Most in one that shall not be named.
    I think it should be at the front desk. No one wants to open one and find a terrifying verse in either the Bible, Torah or the Quran. There are plenty of them in every version.
    Deeply religious people would have their own religious texts. Others who are so inclined to read one should call reception for one.

  7. Airlines don’t include bibles in the seat pocket in front of you… why should hotels include bibles in their rooms? I never understood the reasoning.

  8. Good! Get those bibles out of the hotels. Kids grow up to realize that Santa isn’t real. Why can’t they figure out that God is fake too? It’s called science people. Sheesh….

  9. I think all hotels should be free of religious texts. We’re in a digital age where you can probably download it and highlight certain passages at will. Furthermore, if being able to access a religious text was such an important part of your hotel stay, bring your own.

  10. It doesn’t make any sense to provide religious text in any hotel.

    Even among Christians there are various versions of the Bible that some favor over others. Then there’s the obvious reality that there are many other religions, and of course it’s obvious that Mormonism is a cult founded by a con-man and criminal.

    If you’d like religious text with you, you can take a religious book with you on a trip, download a digital copy onto your phone, tablet, e-reader. The options are more diverse than ever before.

  11. If I am not mistaken, most of the Bibles in hotels are placed by third party organizations, namely The Gideons, at no cost to the hotel itself. This is more of a matter of product placement than active religious policy at a hotel chain. Most better hotel chains also have a book of information that may include religious places in addition to other commonly requested places of business of interest to a guest.

  12. On a related note, it’s kind of annoying not to have that discreet drawer next to the bed for non-Bible related items as well.

  13. Everyone should keep in mind that Marriott is founded and run by Mormons, so the Bibles weren’t there to push religion, they were there because Gideons, a 3rd party organization, pushes them on hotels. If Marriott was trying to push its religion on people then they’d have the Book of Mormon in every hotel. They are simply realizing now that people just don’t read them anymore and they are a waste to have in their rooms, and risk offending more people than they do bring in more customers.

  14. A true Muslim or Buddhist would never be offended by seeing a bible. What non-sense (Not to you Ben, but to the LA times).

  15. “…….explaining that the Moxy and Edition hotels are geared toward fun-loving millennials.”

    Political correctness again.

    There are plenty of Christian and Mormon millenials who are as devout as they are fun-loving, compromising neither their fun nor their faith.

  16. Like @Zach says it makes sense to offer bibles and every other major religious book at a front desk. If people would like to read them they can just ask and it would be a convenience the hotel offers. I don’t think this needs to be some hotly debated issue when their is a simple solution I believe anyone would agree with.

  17. Unbelievable how many haters are posting on this subject. Really? Is there that much animosity against Christianity that a Bible in a drawer is causing so much anxiety? Please people… ease up. It is not like you are paying extra for the room.

  18. As an atheist millennial, I LOVE this. I was kind of turned off by the Mormon connection to Marriott, but Marriott has also seemed quite progressive in the past despite the religion of their founders/owners and it’s nice to see them being progressive on this too. A hotel isn’t the right place to proselytize. In fact, anywhere outside a church is the wrong place to proselytize. Will definitely be putting some more Marriott stays on my calendar in the future.

  19. As a Christian (believer in Jesus Christ), I think it’s appropriate to do away with religious-oriented materials in rooms. As others have noted, these are easily found/read online and hard copies can be kept at the front desk for [the relatively few, I would imagine] guests needing one.

    @Richard (re “Why can’t they figure out that God is fake too? It’s called science people. Sheesh….”) — God is just as real as gravity is. Just because you can’t see something (someone) doesn’t mean that it (He) doesn’t exist. Just because gravity wasn’t posited from a scientific standpoint until ~1687 doesn’t mean that gravity didn’t exist prior to that. Science does nothing to prove or even indicate that God is fake. If you are familiar with the scientific concept of entropy, then you can already see indications that God exists. The real question isn’t whether God exists (it’s obvious as daylight that He does), the better question is *which* God (offered by the dozens if not hundreds of religions of the world) is the correct one. Satan does his best to confuse the matter, and in that regards, he’s been very successful.

    Most religions lay out what you need to do for God. Christianity is only religion that preaches and offers evidence that God loved/loves you enough to have died for you (when it should be the other way around). You just need a heart that is open enough to believe and accept it.

  20. I agree, Ben, that 48% is still surprisingly high. The only place I still consistently see bibles in bedside tables is a Quality Inn near my grandmother on the Jersey Shore. I usually check all the drawers when I first get to a room,so it’s not as tough I’m just missing them.

  21. @Richard “Kids grow up to realize that Santa isn’t real. Why can’t they figure out that God is fake too? It’s called science people. Sheesh….”
    That is the most idiotic thing I may have ever read. Either you know nothing about science or nothing about religion. Science has never disproved religion. You may believe that religion is full of nonsense, and that’s fine, that’s your belief but don’t confuse it with facts.

  22. I’ve never really understood why the Gideon tradition has been carried on through all these years in hotel room distributions. Most devout Christians I know always carry their own bible just about everywhere. Probably the correct decision.

  23. Thing is, they weren’t really put there for religious reasons… They were put there because hotels are the number one place people run to commit suicide. They found that by putting bibles in the rooms, a percentage of those people would change their minds.

  24. @J
    For something to be disproven; it has to be proven first. Since it hasn’t been proven, it can’t be disproven. Religious explanations for phenomena have been replaced by scientific explanations all the time. Just food for thought.

  25. I’m sure Marriott would be happy to add many other religious texts to their rooms. It’s refreshing to see a company willing to make such an offering.

  26. I love that we have a bunch of tolerance camp staff in our midst.

    For those defending your religious views… sorry, but the athiests have it… it is not incumbent on them to disprove your beliefs, it is incumbent on you to prove them.

    Thus they have the privalage of being self-righteous and superior d***weeds and you should probably just stay out of it.

    How I know I’m a millenial… because the neighbor called the cops on my dad for spanking me as a 5 year old, and so I went down the path of growing up to be an entitled ahole since he couldnt do anything about it. (Luckily I snapped out of it in my late teens)

  27. @John
    So those Christian or Mormon millennials should bring their own bible/download one/ask from the front desk.

  28. Joyce… your comment doesnt follow the traditional athiest mantra that it is incumbent on someone who makes a claim to prove it.
    Something does not have to be proven first to be disproven. A claim that someone murdered another does not have to be proven before it is disproved.
    Your second point is valid.

  29. @J… you dont HAVE to prove anything. But if you are going to claim that there is a God, it’s on you to prove such a claim. It’s not on the Athiest to prove there is not one.

    Regardless, I’m not here to argue about whether there is or is not. I dont lean either way. People who think they have the answer (Athiests and Christians alike) annoy me.

  30. Let’s replace the bibles with lifestyle magazines and catalogues since consumption is the new religion anyway. Frankly, I think it’s a lot easier and less exerting to just sit in our rooms and buy stuff on our smartphones in between Netflix binges.

  31. @joe again … that is literally the opposite definition of faith/belief. Atheists don’t have to disprove God and religious/spiritual people don’t have to prove it. Not everything in life has to be explained, some things are just known or some things will just never be known. Tons of things out there that science knows but can’t explain. How are there animals that have evolved in the Mediterranean sea that no longer need oxygen? Science can’t figure out why since it makes no sense but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
    There is no “right” answer out there for every question. It’s what people believe it to be (atheists and religious alike).

  32. That’s wonderful. I am tired of putting stickers indicating the belief in its contents are a danger to your health and life (go to the ffrf website, good stuff). I don’t care if you are a christian, jew, muslim, Jehovah witness, scientologist, Mormon, buddhist, hinduist, and so on. Do what you want to do in your home and your church. It is not warranted to have your views in a public space shared by others.

  33. I find it very sad and unfortunate that they are removing Bibles placed in the rooms. Just as the TV in most hotels contain things I think are offensive, if you find the Bible offensive you don’t have to pick it up. Many of you all have posted negative comments (and some downright mean spirited). I would challenge you to actually read the book before you criticize it. you might be surprised what you find.

  34. As an atheist I’m displeased and borderline disgusted every time I find a bible in my hotel room. Why christians have to be so privileged to have their own religious material? I demand a book on scientific atheism next to every bible!

  35. Lock this thread, it is spiraling downward and nothing contributory is being added at this point.

  36. @j… again, nobody HAS to prove anything, you are correct. In terms of argument sake, the Athiest rhetoric has been that theists are essentially stupid because God = flying spaghetti monster and a claim that God exists is irrational and baseless and must be proven. Yada yada yada, the bible promotes hatred and bigotry and is a fairytale.
    But you are right, we dont KNOW anything. Many people have the illusion that they do.

  37. Given the history of Gideons, the Bible is not there for those who are already religious, it is there to proselytize, so the comments asserting otherwise are off-base.

    This brings up the question: is it still appropriate for a hotel to be a partner in the proselytizing business? Methinks no.

  38. @Dale F you will probably be surprised to know this but most atheists have read most every religious book, not just the King James Bible (there are many versions of the ‘new’ testament, that is usually the one most people mean when they mean ‘the Bible’). Having been raised Jewish I was already quite familiar with the ‘Old’ Testament/Talmud. I read the Christian book. I’ve read most of the Koran and a number of other books. I have my opinion formed mainly by reading these things. I actually wish more people really read their own text. I mean, really read it like literature, not rely upon their pastor/priest/etc to select pieces and impart their own spin/take on it. I find the Christian bible to be the most horrific in that the violence and perversions and contradictions are completely disregarded by those of that faith. I find many muslims acknowledge their text and are willing to openly discuss it. So in my own experience, in America specifically, I find Christians the most difficult to openly discuss these things with. I find jews the easiest, but I’ve been having those conversations since I was a pre-teen and was able to make my own decisions after being indoctrinated by my parents in how they thought I should think. So, no, I don’t think a christian bible should be in a hotel room anymore than I want to see a koran or the Torah. I would like you to consider some of this with an open mind, including how you’d feel if you found scientoogy literature in most hotel rooms you stay in. If I ran a hotel I wouldn’t keep Darwin fish in the rooms either….

  39. Are folks really offended by a book in a drawer? How about the fact that most hotels in Muslim countries include a qibia, an arrow indicator showing the direction of Mecca? Tools for proselytizing and aids for religious practice exist all over the place. You can either feel judged by them or ignore them. Or stay somewhere else.

  40. P.S. If Marriott were really concerned about making Mormon religious beliefs felt by guests, they would not offer alcohol, coffee, or pay-per-view porn. Instead the offer in-room coffee and either mini-bar or room-service booze to go with the porn.

  41. Most people weren’t saying they were offended by them. Just thought they weren’t needed. In Muslim countries the arrow probably makes sense.

  42. “It’s because the religious books don’t fit the personality of the brands.”
    BOY ain’t that the truth! After attempting to under-deliver and overcharge for my brother’s wedding reception and still trying to straighten the mess out, I won’t ever stay at a Marriot again. This brand is not trustworthy.

  43. dang! I have always enjoyed throwing the book of mormon (moron) in the trash in every Marriott I’ve stayed in over the last ~ 20 years !

  44. This is my first time to experience finding anything other than a Bible in a hotel. Today I found The Book of Mormon. After using my device 🙂 I learned that Marriott is a Mormon owned firm. I did notice that the TV Channel list was shorter than most, but didn’t think anything of it. So for the first time in years, I am also staying in a hotel that does not provide access to porn.

    I understand that placing a Bible is a proselytizing strategy by The Gideon Society, but it was also meant as an offering of comfort to anyone on the road. I understand that it is the choice of this hotel to place whatever it likes in its rooms. Today, it is The Book of Mormon.

    I understand that I may find Holy Beads in some places where I travel or a Prayer Cloth. I would not think of disposing of these things. I respect the beliefs and the rights to believe of the people who placed them there and I am just passing through THEIR establishment.

    I am 67 years old which makes me an elder. Today, I am in New Mexico, and I just came from the Navajo where many, varied traditions are kept and choices are made and respected. As an elder I would pass to you to respect another’s beliefs, to lower your eyes and respect books and items and places that are held to be holy by your neighbors.

    Chibanda. Namaste. Peace and Shalom and Ya’at’eeh.

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