In India, booking hotels for an unmarried couple can be a daunting task. Along with the the judgemental eyes of the receptionist asking for valid proofs of marriage, follows moral policing. While hotels held a big red cross sign for hook-up couples, StayUncle and OYO, offering rooms for both married and unmarried couples, came as a relief. With such initiatives challenging the taboo, other online hotel booking platforms started going lenient on this front.
The B2C online travel aggregator, Goibibo in a recent social media post introduced its couple-friendly rooms. The decade-old online travel booking brand providing range of choice for hotels, flights, trains, bus and cars for travelers, on Facebook posted: “Why search for nooks and crannies to steal a private moment, when you can get yourself a delightfully affordable and completely safe place? Book couple-friendly rooms with Goibibo.”
This, however, is not the first communication by the brand to highlight its 'couple friendly' feature. In an ad film, released last year, the brand had used Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone and actor Vicky Kaushal to communicate the message that the brand has open arms for unmarried couples.
There is no law in the country that prohibits hotels from hosting unmarried guests, or those who belong to the same city as the hotel’s location. This decision is at the discretion of the hotel manager or the owner. A report published by OYO, shows that the demand for couple friendly hotels has increased in the past couple of years. Also, 60 per cent of the couples looking for hotels belong to the same city of their stay.
The MakeMyTrip acquired subsidiary, Ibibo Group competes with global players such as Nasdaq-listed Yatra, Priceline-owned Booking.com, and Expedia, along with newer entrants such as Treebo, BreviStay and FabHotels.