We will see most Indian couples using love hotels because many traditional hotels restrict unmarried couples from getting rooms together. In India, unmarried couples get an instant judgment from society, hotel management, and even from their family members even in 2022.
Pooja, a Mumbai-based PR executive, tells an incident from 2016, where she was checking into a hotel with her boyfriend, the hotel management asked them to cancel their booking even though they were adults. And we all know that this is not a new thing in India that we unmarried couples face. Many people in Indian society live with their families so they have to make decisions about going to the hotel rooms for privacy.
Denied from the hotel is not only the problem which unmarried couples face in India, sometimes they have to go through worse conditions. In India, we have constantly seen that couples get arrested by police and on the other hand there are many religious groups such as Bajarang Dal that attack couples celebrating festivals like Valentine’s Day.
In a country where society believes that roaming and PDA of an unmarried couple are not good for the environment, some companies have seen a huge business opportunity in this scenario. These companies made hotels for unmarried couples which are different from traditional hotels and are meant to offer a short duration of stay to the couples which are called “Love Hotels”
Concept of love Hotels.
Some people are not familiar with the idea of love hotels in India because it is a relatively new concept but for the world, it is very old. For example, In Japan, there are more than 30,000 love hotels that can be found in every big and small city. Japan has reported that the love hotel industry is worth more than 40 billion dollars.
In 1968 after the second world war people used to live with their extended families and at that time first love hotel was introduced in Japan. So Japanese couples started using love hotels as an alternative for having some private moments. And in 1960 the introduction of automobiles in Japan gave this concept a great push.
Love hotels in Japan were not only offering privacy but also integrated themes into their business. In 1973 Meguro Emperor was the first theme castle-style love hotel that opened.
And in today’s time, we can experience a lot of varieties of love hotels it can be the underwater theme or a Ufo theme-based one.
As we have earlier discussed the biggest advantage of these love hotels is privacy. While check-in in love hotels in Japan couples don’t have to face hotel staff all things can be done through screen whether it’s rooms or facilities with all cost included.
All you have to need is to select your desired room and you get access to the room. Even hotel management will cover your vehicle’s number plate to keep the identity safe.
Now some will argue that it’s only possible in western and advanced nations and India, these things don’t exist. But seeing opportunities in this industry many companies making efforts to set up Love hotels in India.
The Indian Version of Love hotels.
Startups like Stayuncle, Brevistay, MiStay, Bag2Bag, and Oyo’s relationship mode are examples of love hotels in India.
StayUncle’s cofounder shared his experience, which inspired him to start this startup. He stated that the startup’s initial model was to target business travelers, which come to cities for very few periods.
But they used to receive 99% percent of inquires from unmarried couples and seeing this and after analyzing demand in this industry they pivoted their model and started giving priorities to unmarried couples. And their tagline became “Couple needs a room, not a Judgement.” He further said that after changing their model hotels were not signing up on their platform, as hotels owners were concerned about society as this was going against their culture.
Later on, just within a few months, many hotels realized that this industry has huge demand and this is the best opportunity to get into this, which resulted that the startup Stayuncle has now more than 1000 hotels and operating in more than 40 cities which also includes cities that are socially conservative like Patna and Bhopal.
Statyuncle usp is that they provide rooms to couples for a short duration of time as their need. Other than this they also provide couples free love kits, which have several items for example condoms.
When asked from Stayuncle’s CEO Amit Sharma, why do they provide this love kit what is the reason behind this strategy he said that ” We are not in the hotel business but we are in the freedom of expression business”.
He also said that adopting this strategy wasn’t easy for them. They have been receiving many threats on social media. But the success of Stayuncle shows that there is a huge demand for such hotels in India.
Now let’s understand the reason behind the success of love hotels. The first and foremost obvious reason is that these love hotels have opened up gates for unmarried couples and provided them privacy and freedom. In India now also in 21 century, the love marriage is considered as a bad influence on the culture.
According to a survey conducted in urban India in 2018, just 3 % of the people said that they had a “love marriage “.
We can see that how society is against love marriage and unmarried couples roaming around for example in Hyderabad popular Indira Park’s management put a poster stating that ” Unmarried couples are not allowed inside the park”.
We can also see that many popular platforms like cleartrip and Makemytrip allows customers to book rooms but their T&C specifies that couples who are unmarried could be denied entry by the hotel.
We have seen many young were harassed by people publicly. One such incident came from Kolkata where a young couple was reportedly harassed by co-passengers in the metro because according to people they were “too close”. These love hotels try to challenge and change such mentality of society.
According to Sanchit Sethi, in our constitution, no law prohibits unmarried people from renting a room together. As long as they have all the necessary documents.
Many couples also try new options part from these love hotels. 23 year old shared her Airbnb experience and said that they didn’t need to prove that they are married when they rented the room in Mumbai. They stayed there with a Marathi family who respected their privacy.
The second reason why these love hotels are rising is that they are
Breaking Premarital relationship Taboo
We have seen the taboo of premarital relationships in India is getting normal in recent years. Employment is also one of the thriving dating environments in India as people move from their native place to big cities. As they move far from their families this makes it easier to date. In recent years dating apps also made a major impact.
While the above two factors can be the reasons for couples to make use of the services of Love hotels, but on the other hand, this made an atmosphere of tension between the old generation and a new generation.
Impact on Indian Society
In 2019 in Coimbatore, the members of the All India Democratic Women’s Association marched into collectors’ office with a complaint to shut down an Oyo hotel that was providing rooms to unmarried couples. The next day government officers sealed that property and couples were sent to the local police station, whereas Madras high court had given the order to release them and canceled this order. They had also released a statement that a live-in-relationship between two adults does not count as a crime.
As we can see that despite if having cultural restrictions the demand for love hotels is growing this shows the culture change gradually.
A Delhi-based businessman in the hotel industry said that Stayuncle is changing the mindset of the public, but even now there are many hotels or properties owners, who don’t want to acknowledge this change. This shows that there is a huge demand for love hotels that matches the societal change but on the other hand several people from the old generation or political groups are still rigid about changing their mindset.