HOW LOVE HOTELS ARE TAKIN OVER THE WORLD
"CNN International " | 30/05/12 | Published in the website cnngo.com
Now so-called “love hotels” are making the move out of Asia into the West.
This month Dayuse Hotels launched a London section on its website, providing amorous couples with the chance to book hotel rooms by the hour, and Thibaud d'Agrèves, 30-year-old French co-founder of Dayuse Hotels, says he’s not stopping there.
“In the next five years we should expand our concept in Italy, which should be open in the next two weeks, then Germany, Russia, Spain, Brazil and Asia,” he says.
Launched in November 2010, the Dayuse site already rents out rooms in around 250 hotels across the United States, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Ireland.
And it makes no bones about it -- the idea is, at least partly, to provide places for people to have sex.
This is small-fry compared to the mature markets in Asia. An estimated 25,000-50,000 hotels operate as by-the-hour love hotels in Japan, and more than 30,000 in Seoul.
But the idea is growing in the West and d'Agrèves says it could be the start of a “love hotel movement” in Europe.
In Paris, 65 percent of bookings through Dayuse Hotels are for “romantic time,” d'Agrèves says. In New York and London it’s around 25 percent, the remainder taking a room for either work or rest.
Faith in the unfaithful
But while Asian love hotels often provide a private place for young couples to get together away from their parents, there are concerns in the West that this is making cheating easier.
“Maybe in a way it is encouraging people to be unfaithful, but they don’t need us for that,” d'Agrèves says. “We also see some couples who re-connect by our services; we help couples to boost their relationship, it is just a question of perspective.”
Nevertheless with a tagline of “la discrétion” and no credit card details required prior to arrival, Dayuse Hotels clearly has a certain customer need in mind.
Hotels on the Dayuse site are “high-end, boutique, charming three-star and superior four- and five-star hotels,” according to d'Agrèves.
Rooms can be booked in three- to seven-hour slots at rates of £75-200 (US$117-313) (in London).
The amenities available to guests are exactly the same as provided by the hotel normally -- such as free Wi-Fi -- but guests can also request a “sexy box,” which contains condoms and “other sophisticated articles to stimulate and boost couples’ romantic times.”
D'Agrèves is convinced his customers are a cut above the regular hotel guest. The website attracts 50,000 unique visitors each month, and 55 percent of bookings are made by women.
“Our guests are affluent, well-traveled, well educated and high earners. Business owners, doctors, architects, lawyers … the feedback from our hotel partners is that our clients are more civilized then their normal international clients who were looking for the cheapest promotional price,” he says.