Taboo – With or Without Condom?

Posted on September 4, 2010

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This remains one of the biggest taboo question in the hotel industry and I have to admit that I have actually hesitated for some time before publishing this post.

Should hotels provide condoms in the rooms?

We know that in some cases hotels already have them for sale as part of the mini-bar but the question here is more whether it should be provided as a bathroom amenity among other hygienic items such as a soap, shampoo, tooth paste, shaving kit or sanitary napkin.

Just raising the question generates embarrassment or giggles in the room…

To be totally frank with you I’m of two minds on the subject.

WITHOUT – Condoms do carry a controversial image and independent hotels or hotel chains should not be associating their brand with sex matters, extra marital affairs or Aids. Also, parents do not want their children to be exposed to such amenity. These two respectful arguments have kept condoms away from bathrooms so far and I have regularly advised hoteliers against it for these exact reasons.

WITH – Chen we consider the brutal facts, there is no reason why a condom should not be provided in a hotel room as part of the bathroom amenities in a neutral packaging. It:
1/ Contributes to guests hygiene
2/ Can be provided at a very low operational cost
3/ Is part of some people needs
4/ Is often needed in a hotel room

So?

As I said, I never managed to have a firm and definitive opinion about it, however I am persuaded that the first hotel brand that decides to make the move and provide it free of charge in the rooms as part of the bathroom amenities set-up will get massive publicity and support. Of course it will be controversial, it will raise concerns, people will laugh, it will generate negative press as well (any publicity is good publicity) BUT is a battle that can only be won on the medium/long-term. And always good to be the world’s first..

Doing it symbolically for a day (eg: December 1st) to increase awareness could be an idea to “test the water” and generate short-term publicity.

So, I’m inviting you, regular or occasional readers, to share your point of view on the matter and finally address this taboo question. For or Against, this forum is yours.

Fabrice Burtin – September 2010

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