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Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 38
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Super 8 Owners Form an Independent Franchise Association; 
Why Is There a Bible in Every Hotel Room?
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By Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC
March 2008

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:

  • Does it have renewable energy sources, like small hydro, solar, wind or geothermal systems?
  • Does it avoid using harsh chemicals, such as scented laundry supplies, carpet cleaners and air fresheners?
  • Does it donate things to charities, like food scraps and old sheets and towels?
  • Does it practice energy conservation: long-life light bulbs, energy-efficient appliances?
  • Does it support local causes and community conservation efforts?
  • Does it try to educate its guests about being green, either on its website or through material provided in the room?
      New York Times 2008

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:

  • Detroit has one of the largest Muslin populations in the United States.  Yet, both the Ritz Carlton and Hyatt Regency Hotels place only the Gideon Bible in their drawers.
  • Middlesex County, N.J., has seen one of the highest influxes of Indians and Pakistanis in the Northeast.  Their religion is generally Hindu or Muslim.  Yet, neither the Sheraton nor the Clarion Hotels in Edison, N.J., stock the sacred religious literature of Muslims or Hindus.
  • Major hotels in the metropolitan New York region, with a Jewish population equal to that of Tel Aviv, generally provide only the Christian version of the Bible.
4.  Quote of the Month

“Behold the turtle.  He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.”
                                    James B. Conant, Ex- President of Harvard University



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 stanturkel@aol.com

Stanley Turkel’s Speaking Schedule

• March 23: “Hotel Franchising: A Format in Transition” at the AAHOA Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
• April 3: “Guest Service Improvement” at the YMCA of Greater New York.
• April 7: “Fair Franchising is Not an Oxymoron” at the CHOC Owners Summit in Dallas, Texas.
• April 16: “Great American Hoteliers” at the New York University Osher Institute.

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Contact:

Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC
917-628-8549
stanturkel@aol.com

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Also See: Nobody Asked Me, But No. 37 / Remember the Savoy Plaza Hotel?; Is Economic Disaster Imminent; Cuba at the Crossroads / Stanley Turkel / February 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 36 / What the Advertisements for the Largest Hotel Franchise Companies Never Mention - Also Measuring Hotel Brand Value / Stanley Turkel / January 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 35 / Casino Expansion Has Transformed America, Exercise Awareness / Stanley Turkel / December 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 34 / IHG’s Great Idea, Sound-Proofing Hotels, Best Western Enters the Upper Midscale Segment, How to Convert Confusion Into Order,  Sign at a Tarrytown, NY Inn, 1798 / November 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 33 / 1957 Murder at the Park Sheraton Hotel; How Much Does A Franchise Really Cost?A Marriage Made in Heaven?; A Good Night’s Sleep at the Benjamin Hotel / Stanley Turkel / October 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 31 - Rhode Island Improves Franchise Rules, What’s Up With Canada? Conversion of a Jail Into a Hotel, The Richest (and Poorest) Places in the U.S. / Stanley Turkel / September 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 31 - Blackstone's Acquisition of Hilton, The Art of Groveling, The Origin of Franchising / Stanley Turkel / August 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But…. No. 30 / Impertinent Questions In Search of Pertinent Answers: Carbon monoxide detectors, exterior-corridor properties / Stanley Turkel / July 2007
How American-Owned Can You Get?, ISHC's CapEx 2007 Report, The Bowery Hotel / Stanley Turkel / June 2007
Hotel Franchising and State Laws, Is Immigration Important? Save the Biltmore, The Good Old Days, Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / May 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 27 / Hotel Franchise Agreements: Mediation, Arbitration or Litigation? / Stanley Turkel / April 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 26 / Energy Usage and Potential Savings; Great Art in Hotels; Lifestyle Hotels; The Minimum Wage Issue; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / March 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 25 / Guestroom Design & Amenities, Get a Human, Best Luxury Hotels in the U.S., Turnpike, The Pineapple as Symbol of Hospitality, Fair Franchising / Stanley Turkel / February 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 24 / Loose Cannon, Fair Franchising, Manhattan Hotel Profits, Hotels of the Future, Interesting Miscellany, Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / January 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 23 / Biting The Hand That Feeds You?, By The Numbers, Shortage of Hotel Rooms, There is No Free Lunch, Iron Laws of Business Travel, Happy New Year / Stanley Turkel / January 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 22 / Smart Elevators, Tony Marshall’s Memorial, Women in the Hospitality Industry / Stanley Turkel / December 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 21 / The Drake Hotel in New York, Fair Franchising is Not an Oxymoron, By the Numbers, Another Secret Underground Shelter, Passing of Anthony G. Marshall / Stanley Turkel / December 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 20 / Turnabout Is Fairplay, Secret Underground Shelter, By the Numbers, Genuine Fair Franchising/ Stanley Turkel / November 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 19 / International Society of Hospitality Consultants, Great Miami Hotels, Reduce Carbon Monoxide Emissions, Turn Gray Into Gold / Stanley Turkel / November 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 18 / John Q. Hammons, Save the Belleview Biltmore, Chinese Tourism, CFLs, Ernie Byfield, Guestroom Entertainment in 1905 / Stanley Turkel / October 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 17 - AAHOA's 12 Points of Fair Franchising, Protected Territories, / Stanley Turkel / September 2006
The Newest Independent (and Oldest Partially Independent) Franchise Association in the Hotel Industry / Stanley Turkel / September 2006
In Hotel Franchising, Reality Trumps Wishful Thinking / Stanley Turkel / August 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 14; Impact Studies, Stretching Segments, Short-Stay Rentals, Smoke-free Marriotts, Franchising in China, Save the Belleview Biltmore Hotel / August 2006
The U.S. Population Age 65 and Over is Expected to Double in the Next 25 Years; What Does this Mean for the Hotel Industry? / Stanley Turkel / July 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 12; Portman, Women Homeowners, Minimum Wage, Tipping, Brooklyn Bridge, Chinese Tourism, Impact Studies / Stanley Turkel / July 2006
Do Hotel Franchisees Need Independent Franchise Associations? / Stanley Turkel / June 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 10 / Chinese Tourists, Gasoline Prices and Alternatives, GLBT Segment, Travel Agents, FAC's, Manhattan's Record Breaking Year, Impertinent Questions / Stanley Turkel / June 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 9 / Blang, Bathtubs, Best Green, Arbitration, Best Western, AAHOA, State Franchising Laws, VFR / Stanley Turkel / May 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 8; Bathtubs, Smokefree Hotels, Maps, Saving Water, Nevada Revenues, H.P. Rama, Ritz-Carlton, Statler Service Code, Mother’s Day / Stanley Turkel / April 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But….No. 7 / Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC / March 2006
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