From ‘No Rooms’ to OYO Rooms For Unmarried Couples

Apps like Stay Uncle and OYO Rooms are bringing about social change, one hotel room at a time.

3 min read
Hindi Female

“No room for unmarried couples”

This is the policy most hotels seem to work on. Although there is no law that prohibits unmarried couples from staying together, they are regularly denied rooms. At best, the reasons are flimsy and lack logic; at worst, they are judgmental and moralistic.

“I am sorry, but you do not look married, your wife does not have mangalsutra, I don’t think we can arrange a room for you.”

“Why does your surnames differ if you are married?”

“Ma’am, you have a local id, we cannot give you a room.”

OYO rooms have come to the rescue. Their app features a ‘relationship mode’ which helps users find hotels that are couple-friendly, that is, they allow unmarried couples even with local ids to check in without any hassles.

Apps like Stay Uncle and OYO Rooms are bringing about social change, one hotel room at a time.
OYO rooms have this feature in their app. (Photo: Screenshot)

The Logic Behind Relationship Mode

After the progressive Stay Uncle app was launched, their “Couples need a room, not a judgment” tagline created a lot of buzz. Most people welcomed the gesture, but some self-appointed custodians of ‘Indian culture’ said that it was against ‘tradition’.

Kavikrut, the Chief Growth Officer for OYO rooms, told The Quint that when they came up with this feature, their aim was just to make the process of booking a room easy.

A lot of our customers reached the hotel and then realised that they could not check in due to the hotel policies. It was embarrassing for them to be denied a room and to have to look for another hotel. All we did was let our customers know which hotels welcome unmarried couples.

He told us that each hotel has a different policy on the matter. “When we tie up with hotels, we know their policies, but the customers don’t, and that causes problems.”

Apps like Stay Uncle and OYO Rooms are bringing about social change, one hotel room at a time.
The relationship mode in OYO lets unmarried couples check in without any hassle. (Photo: Screenshot)

By not making it their USP, Anurag Gaggar, VP Product for OYO rooms told The Quint that they have not digressed from their proposition of predictability, availability, accessibility and affordability.


What It Means For India

Moral policing in Indian culture is something that we cannot ignore. Even today, couples are humiliated for hugging in public and police raids in hotels are very common.

However, Delhi Police chief spokesperson Taj Hassan told The Quint that there were no restrictions on people for staying together, with whoever they wanted to.

Unmarried couples can be in a live-in relationship, check in to hotel rooms and do whatever they want. There are no laws and restrictions on it.
Taj Hassan

Kavirut told us that they have also received positive feedback and that customers are thankful for this feature.

There might be some narrow minded people who know of it, but we have not received any backlash for this. Our customers have accepted the move with open arms.

Although the number of people using this feature is not very large, the few people who have used it, gave very positive feedback.

I just wanted to spend time with my girlfriend. I accidentally discovered this feature on the OYO app and tried it out. It was really easy to use and the rooms were also neat and clean. I really liked the experience and we were able to check in without facing any humiliation.
Abeer Abbas, Customer
Apps like Stay Uncle and OYO Rooms are bringing about social change, one hotel room at a time.
Unmarried couples and local ids are allowed at some of OYO hotels (Photo: Screenshot)

OYO’s move is a progressive one. Whether it will be effective against people who refuse to open their minds is yet to be seen. It is, however, a defiant answer to the ever-growing moral police, and for that, we are grateful.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Delhi   India   Relationships 

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