Indian hotel booking platform introduces option for unmarried couples

Unmarried couples are often judged when checking in. Pic: Pixabay

IN India, there is no law that prohibits hotels from putting up unmarried couples or guests of the opposite sex in the same room.

Despite that, the practice is considered taboo and many hotels take it upon themselves to implement moral policing.

According to Your Story, it’s common for hotel check-in staff to ask guests questions like “Sorry, but are you married? I don’t see a mangalsutra (a necklace a Hindu woman would typically wear to indicate her marital status) on her neck.” or “Can I see an ID that shows you are married?”

To make couples more comfortable with the idea of booking hotels, India’s hotel booking service and aggregator OYO introduced a “Relationship Mode” on its platform.

Guests can use tags to filter out hotels that are not friendly to unmarried couples; this way, they won’t be out in uncomfortable situations or denied a stay at check-in.

OYO defines couple-friendly hotels as those that don’t require proof of marriage, photo ID specifying the name of the spouse, or documents that attest the fact that the residential address of the customer is in a different city than where the hotel is located.

Kavikrut, chief growth officer of OYO, said, “A substantial number of our customers are in the age group of 18-30 years and this category could be served best with such initiatives.  With this launch, we are making sure couples can identify and check-in to their OYO without any hassle.”

He added, “We analyzed guest-feedback and realized that couple-guests were likely to face last-minute inconvenience on account of hotel-policies that were not communicated to them earlier.”

Meanwhile, CEO Ritesh Agarwal said, “OYO is a young and modern brand that was created to change the way travelers stay away from home. We have launched this new feature to convey that all guests are welcome at OYO.”

OYO isn’t the only platform for couples to book a night’s stay. The success of StayUncle, a hotel booking platform catered specifically to unmarried couples, has proved successful so far.

Since its inception in 2014, the platform has been backed up by some 10,000 members. StayUncle’s tagline reads: “Couples need a Room, not a Judgement”.

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