In an attempt to attract a large set of young and unmarried customers, hotel aggregator OYO Rooms has introduced a new feature that allows such couples to make bookings at some of its properties.

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Across India, it isn’t uncommon for conservative hotel owners to deny a room to couples who cannot or don’t want to furnish proof of marriage. However, there is no law making such checks mandatory.

“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 ex perience. With this launch, we are making sure couples can identify and check-in to their OYO without any hassle,”

said Kavikrut, chief growth officer, OYO Rooms, which is backed by Japanese telecom and internet giant SoftBank, and emerged as one of the hottest and most well-funded local startups last year.

OYO says that according to a rough estimate, 60% of the 6,000 hotels in 100 cities they have tie-ups with have been found to be couple-friendly. A customer can search for a couple-friendly hotel by logging into their account, clicking on the relationship mode in search preferences and then proceed to searching. They can also search for all the hotels in a city and filter the results by selecting the OYO for Couples option.

The introduction of the feature is in keeping with the age group of OYO’s customers, 35% of whom are between 20 and 30 years and 25% between 30 and 40 years. “Our whole point is – we will ensure you feel welcome, and we will respect your privacy and freedom,” Kavikrut said.

OYO will be competing with StayUncle through which guests can rent rooms in hotels in 11 cities in 12-hour morning and evening slots. They are priced between Rs 1,400 and Rs 5,000. Delhi-based StayUncle, started this year by Sanchit Sethi, is a similar budget hotel launched exclusively for unmarried couples.There is a bunch of startups which is looking to target the youth, be it singles or couples.

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Sangeeta Ghosh

Sangeeta is an engineering graduate and is passionate about painting and music. She is always blooming with new ideas and is a real go to person when you are searching for one. Exploring good dining places across the city is her favourite off-field indulgence. At KnowStartup, she is an integral part of the editorial team.

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