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Ask Dr. Elia: Marriott hotels to drop pornographic videos

The Marriott hotel chain, one of the nation's largest players in the hospitality business, has made the decision to eliminate offering adult movies in their rooms.

It is a decision praised by groups who view the pornography industry as a threat to families, individuals and children. It is also well known that the Marriott family is LDS, and their rooms frequently carry the Book of Mormon along with the Bible.

Although I applaud their decision, I am disappointed by the reason behind it. The hotel chain says the decision is strictly based on economics: In-room porn profits have steadily declined because the porn industry has moved online. Hotels in general have seen business travelers bring in their own electronic entertainment in the form of DVDs or movies they can watch on their laptops (like videos from Netflix). According to Colliers PKF Hospitality Research, hotels now collect about 39 percent less for in-room pay-per-view movie rentals than they did a decade ago.

It is also disappointing to hear that this will be a phasing out process. The removing of the in-room pay-per-view pornography will take place over the next five years.

Now, some people may say that I'm being naive about this whole thing: It has always been about the bottom line, meaning corporate profits, and it will always be that way.

I beg to disagree, and here's why. Omni, with more than 50 hotels, is the biggest chain that has refused to offer so-called "adult entertainment" for their guests. When did they make that decision to go porn free? How about 1999, when it was considerably more profitable for them.

Omni spokeswoman Caryn Kboudi said, "The ownership decided that it was not a way they wanted to make money." There you go, pure and simple. I applaud their courageous stand, which was not dictated by economic factors but by plain decency. That's corporate leadership at its best!

I want you to know that personally and as a family we have stayed at numerous Marriott hotels over the years. Their level of customer service, friendliness, cleanliness and general accommodations has always been superb. I would encourage the Marriott Corporation, even at this late stage, to eliminate porn from their thousands of hotel rooms as soon as it's feasible. Five more years of porn is five years too many.

Sometimes our competitors, (Omni in this case), do get things right. Emulating them is not the end of the world. Life is not always about profits; it's about choices.

P.S. - I look forward to your thoughts.