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Despite Pressure from Conservative Groups to Eliminate Adult
Films in Hotel Rooms, Most Hotels Not Changing their Ways
By Sue Stock, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.McClatchy-Tribune Business News 

August 24, 2006 - Despite renewed pressure from conservative groups to eliminate adult films in hotel rooms, most Triangle hotels that carry them are refusing to change their ways.

Hotel owners say they are giving customers an option that is in demand and that the films boost the bottom line.

Customers can always choose not to watch the films, said Brian McGee, vice president of the Triangle Area Hotel Motel Association. And many hotels provide parental controls to block access.

"It's a choice the guest has," he said. "We're dealing with supposedly responsible adults who know what they want to do and what they don't want to do."

But the coalition of 13 conservative organizations behind the push to remove adult films from hotel rooms nationwide says the films are offensive and too easily accessed by children.

The group went as far as running full-page ads in newspapers such as USA Today this month to ask the Justice Department to investigate whether the content of such movies is obscene. The group also is promoting an online directory of pornography-free hotels, www.cleanhotels.com, which lists several Triangle-area hotels, including the Clarion in downtown Raleigh and the Days Inn on Hillsborough Road in Durham.

"We've heard stories of children turning on televisions where there was a hard-core movie in progress from the previous traveler," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, spokeswoman for the Family Research Council, which is one of the 13 coalition groups. "Some research suggests that as many as 40 percent of hotels offer hard-core pornography."

Some area hotel owners abstain from selling such films because they personally believe it is wrong.

Ramesh Patel, president of Durham-based Park's Hotels, doesn't offer any pay-per-view movies at his four North Carolina hotels, which include the Comfort Suites on Page Road in Research Triangle Park and the Country Inn on Airport Boulevard.

"I'm very conservative," he said. "I don't encourage anyone to partake in those kinds of things."

Patel said he doesn't believe the absence of adult entertainment hurts his business.

"It doesn't bring business or hurt business," he said. "It's not a selling point."

But saying no to the extra income is harder for others.

Adult movies are usually the highest-priced in-room movies at a hotel, sometimes selling for $15 or more per viewing.

Last year, the adult "video-on-demand" industry -- which includes adult movies watched in both hotels and in-home -- was $282 million, according to Kagan Research, an independent media research firm in California. This year, the industry is expected to grow to almost $347 million.

Industry magazine Adult Video News estimates that 55 percent of all video-on-demand purchases in hotel rooms are adult movies.

Customer demand always dictates the amenities hotels offer, McGee said.

"They're going to follow what their guests are driving them to do," he said.

Nationally, major hotel chains such as Marriott have defended the offering, saying customers can always block the adult films in their rooms.

Even if hotels don't offer adult entertainment, guests who are determined will find a way, said Dave Nunamaker, manager of the Candlewood Suites on Buck Jones Road in Cary.

The hotel has a DVD and VCR player in every room, he said, and offers customers a variety of movies they can borrow for free. But none of them are pornographic in nature.

"Most of the time we find that if the guest wants it, they'll get it," he said. "Sometimes you'll find their X-rated movies in the trash can because they bought it to view but are ashamed to take it home."

Staff writer Sue Stock can be reached at 829-4649 or sstock@newsobserver.com.
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Copyright (c) 2006, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.

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