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When it comes to sex outside marriage, unmarried couples still face social stigma. By introducing ‘Oyo for couples’, Oyo has taken an effective step in breaking this stigma.
Even after the Supreme Court pronounced, that live-in relationships are ‘neither a crime, nor a sin‘, the social stigma attached to sex outside marriage and the moral policing of live-in relationships are still widely prevalent in India. Hence, it comes as a welcome move when Oyo, the Indian hotel room aggregator, decided to introduce the ‘Oyo for Couples’ feature on its platform.
The feature that started as a pilot around 2 months back, allows unmarried couples to check in at selected hotels across India. After the bookings are completed, couples can get rooms by simply showing their local ID proofs in the hotels. The couple friendly rooms are available in around 100 cities including all the metros and top tourist attractions in India. Oyo has an inventory of around 70,000 rooms across 200 cities and 60% of its inventory is said to come with this booking feature.
According to Kavikrut, the Chief Growth Officer, at Oyo Rooms, “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. We are not catering to a niche audience, neither is this a gimmicky marketing tactic. As a customer-focused business, we are identifying and solving problems that can impact the stay-experience. With this launch, we are making sure couples can identify and check-in to their OYO without any hassle.”
Even though no law stops travelers from checking into hotels as unmarried couples, however, because of the social stigma still attached to premarital sex in India, many hotels refrain from taking such bookings. Delhi based startup Stay Uncle took the bold initiative to address the problem last year. Oyo’s prominent brand value and wide reach in India definitely gives this issue a lot of weightage.
As we must have noticed by now, a court merely legalizing something doesn’t remove the biases from people’s minds. The law has to be put to practice, society needs to be sensitized about sex before marriage, and the whole brouhaha about a woman’s virginity needs to tone down. The slut shaming and rape culture prevalent in the society can only be reduced if stigmas attached to sex outside marriage are removed from people’s mind. Kudos to Oyo, for leading such a huge social change in India.
Additionally, a lot of times unmarried couples don’t get a safe space to spend time in India. Whenever such couples want to spend the day or night together, they might need to book shady hotels that are prone to police raids or the attacks of anti social elements.
Acknowledging the fact that couples whether in a marriage or not, need to spend intimate and quality time together, and that is in no way a crime to be looked down from the high pedestal of moral judgment, is indeed a progressive step. We appreciate Oyo’s progressive initiative and hope that more companies follow suit in the future.
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