Bibles, bed scarves and other things many guests don’t care about

Industry insiders and typical hotel guests are convinced you’re spending money on many unnecessary amenities and elements in hotels.  

Part of me is pretty shocked, while another part of me is saying ‘of course.’ There are so many things we take for granted as being essential, but they are not really what your guest cares about.

Last week I wrote a column called “Four things hotels must change to shave expenditures.” In it, I posited there are places money is being spent where it needn’t be. It got such great traction I sought through my social media channels more elements that are unnecessary. I didn’t engage Quinnipiac, so this is not a scientific poll. But it does provide plenty of insight into what your guests and fellow hoteliers are thinking.

As a special mention, people once again roasted the hotel industry for what they feel are ridiculous resort fees. I, too, feel they are insanely obnoxious and dishonest and you can read my screed on that here.

Here’s some things to reconsider having a part of the guestroom experience:

The Bible

Seems as if people responding to my poll feel this is a relic of a bygone era. Though it’s not costing hoteliers money, several see the book as an intrusion to their personal belief system and exclusionary for people that do not believe in a Christian God. I’m drawer-phobic so I never open the drawer and look through one.

According to, the first Gideon bible was given to a hotel in Superior, Mont., in 1908. Since then, more than 1.8 billion bibles have been distributed in U.S. hotels.

I would love to hear from hotel owners about why they do or do not want to have a Christian Bible in the guestroom. I am also curious if anyone has copies of The Koran or Bhagavad Gita in their guestrooms. If so, has it been well received?

Bed Scarves

This design flourish seems to have had its day, according to readers and commenters. An overused design element, it doesn’t improve the guest stay experience and costs hoteliers employee time and money. It’s the first thing tossed off the bed, and housekeeping is stuck in an endless cycle of returning it to the bed daily.

Lately, I have been seeing faux bed scarves stitched as a pattern into the comforter. That’s an improvement, but I think we can agree the time has come to move on from this trend. Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t make it a great idea. Isn’t that right, floral bedspread from the '80s and '90s?

Decorative Pillows

Falling into the same category as bed scarves, these accoutrements are just unnecessary. Perhaps Big Pillow is behind this one, because if you think about it, they’re giant germ collectors. I’ve never heard a story about how they’re washed often, so essentially they’re collecting the essence of everyone that touches them. Or leans on them, or does unspeakable things on or around them. Ick. And frankly, I am suspicious of that long and narrow pillow thing, too. I am not convinced it even wants to be a pillow and would be happier on the Island of Misfit Amenities to hang out with Floral Bedspread.

I have some more crowd-sourced gems lined up for my next column, so we will continue with this list. But I want to get more of your feedback. Also, what would you put in a hotel that guests really need but aren’t getting access to currently?

Do you agree with the list? What would you eliminate or cut back on that won’t actually hurt guest experience? Drop me a line here at [email protected]. Or find me on Twitter @TravelingGlenn.

Glenn Haussman is editor-at-large for HOTEL MANAGEMENT. His views expressed are not necessarily those of HOTEL MANAGEMENT, its parent company Questex Media Group, and/or its subsidiaries.