The number 13 is considered unlucky in many cultures. In fact, there is even a disorder called triskaidekaphobia that means fear or dislike of the number 13. So why do some hotels skip floor 13, going from 12 to 14? It’s because a sizable segment of the population would not stay in a hotel room on the 13th floor due to their superstitious beliefs.
A 2007 Gallup poll found that 13% of Americans said they would be bothered if they were given a room on the 13th floor. Some were so bothered they said they would request a different floor or not book at all. Regardless of whether or not superstitions can be scientifically proven, it is important for hotels to meet the needs of their guests.
In many cities, it is illegal to alter the numbering of floors and removing floor 13 is one way to avoid this problem. For example, in New York City you will notice that most buildings have 13 floors but they skip the 13th floor on elevator buttons and go from 12 to 14. This is done to ensure the safety of first responders.
Despite the legal issues, many high-rise buildings do not skip floor 13. In Tampa Bay’s building boom, it is not uncommon to see elevator buttons that start at 12, skip 13 and go from 14 to 22. The reason for this is that some tenants, especially those with triskaidekaphobia, may be bothered by having a 13th floor.