Super 8 Owners Form an Independent Franchise Association;
Why Is There a Bible in Every Hotel Room?
|By Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC
1. Super 8 Owners Form An Independent Franchise Association - A group of Super 8 Motel owners have a new franchisee association, citing escalating fees and what they say is a lack of representation in the company’s decision-making process.
So far, at least, the effort appears to be resonating. In less than three months, the Owners 8 Association has lured more than a third of the nation’s Super 8 owners into its fold- more than 620 franchises in all.
Super 8 is one of the nine hotel brands in the Wyndham Hotels chain. The Owners 8 Association is the first franchisee association in Wyndham’s 33-year history.
Previously, only a franchise advisory board with a limited number of members represented Super 8 owners. Jay Patel, interim president of Owners 8 Association, said the goals of the franchisor and the goals of the franchisees were different and led to the formation of the association.
Patel said about 70 new owners join the association each week, and that despite their differences with the company, the association plans to work with Wyndham in the future and hopes to resolve existing issues to improve the chain’s image and performance.
Franchise Times March 2008
2. Is It Green? If you want to know how seriously a hotel is taking environmental issues, here are six questions to ask:
3. Why is There a Bible in Every Hotel Room? Open the night stand drawer in almost any hotel room in the world and you will find a bible place there by the Gideon’s International. The oldest Christian business professional men’s association in the United States, the Gideons have been around for more than 100 years and have been placing Bibles in hotels rooms for almost that long.
The Association began in a hotel room on September 14, 1898, in Boscobel, Wisconsin. The manager of the Central Hotel there asked traveling salesmen John H. Nicholson of Janesville, Wis., and Samuel E. Hill of Beloit, Wis., to share a room in a crowded hotel, which was hosting a lumbermen’s convention. In Room 19, above the saloon, the men discovered that they were both Christians. They prayed and read the Bible together before settling down for the night. They talked about starting a Christian traveling men’s association but parted ways the next morning without any definite plans. A chance meeting the following May rekindled the idea, and on July 1, 1899, the two salesmen, joined by a third, William J. Knights, met in Janesville and founded the Gideons. The name comes from the Old Testament book of Judges. Today, the Boscobel Hotel, where the two founders met, is listed on the National Historical Register, and Room 19, where the idea of the Gideons was conceived, is marked with a special plaque.
The Gideons primary purpose has always been personal evangelization conducted by Christian business and professional men. As early as 1900, the organization considered putting Bibles at the front desk of the hotels its members stayed in, but it was not until 1908 that the association voted to place Bibles in all hotel rooms. Within 20 years of the first placement of a Gideon Bible in the hotel room, the association distributed one million Bibles. Because the Gideons so quickly became associated with hotel room bibles, the association has, at times, had to remind its members that the Bibles are but a means to an end, not an end in themselves. The sole purpose for the group is to win men, women, boys and girls to a saving knowledge of the Lord, Jesus Christ through personal witnessing and the distribution of Bibles.
Today, the association counts more than 140,000 members in 175 countries. According to its website (www.gideonsinternational.org), the Gideons distribute more than 56 million Bibles and New Testaments every year. This averages out to be one million books every seven days, or 107 per minute. Evangelical churches of many denominations financially support the Gideons’s work of distributing Bibles, not only to hotels but also to hospitals and doctors’ offices, jails and prisons, elementary and high schools, colleges and universities and military bases.
When the Bibles are taken or become too worn, the local camp of the Gideon will replace them at no charge. Often when a new hotel opens, Bibles are given to the housekeeping department which places one in each room. Some properties have begun offering other religious books in their hotel rooms, such as The Book of Mormon in Marriott properties or Buddhist religious texts in Nikko properties.
Last year Scandic Hotels announced it would remove Bibles from its 130 hotels. A spokeswoman said, “We have traditionally had the Bible\New Testament available at our local rooms. But all religions are welcome at Scandic so as of today we encourage all our hotels to remove the Bible from their rooms.”
In New York City’s Soho Grand Hotel, Bibles have never been offered. Similarly, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City declined to accept Bibles from Gideon.
On July 1, 1999, USA Today, in an article, “Gideon Bible Reflects How Hotels Have Fallen Behind The Times” wrote:
A lot has changed on the religious canvas, but this aspect of hotel decoration has not kept up. For example:
“Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his
Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC operates his hotel consulting office as a sole practitioner specializing in franchising issues, asset management and litigation support services. If you need help with a hotel franchising problem such as encroachment/impact, termination/liquidated damages or litigation support, call Stanley at 917-628-8549 or email email@example.com.
Stanley Turkel’s Speaking Schedule
• March 23: “Hotel Franchising: A Format in Transition” at the AAHOA
Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC
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