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Understanding Love Hotels in Japan and How they are different from Brevistay

Did you know that Japan has love hotels which provide hourly stays for couples to be intimate somewhere other than their homes?[1] No matter how bizarre it sounds to us, given the cultural differences between India and Japan, they surely do exist and currently hold bigger market share in Japan than their globally recognized phenomenon- Anime![2] Today we explore the differences between Love Hotels and what we offer through our website and application – Brevistay.

Without further ado, let’s explore these differences.

1. Meaning and Origins

While love hotels exist in many parts of the world, but the phrase is only used in the context of hotels situated in Japan offering short stays to its customers for the purpose of allowing guest privacy for sexual activities.[3] The term originates from “Hotel Love” in Osaka, Japan which was built in 1968 and had a rotating sign.[4]

On the other hand, Brevistay is a start-up by a team of young entrepreneurs who offer room booking service on hourly basis in major cities across India. Brevistay is derived from two root words breve (Latin for ‘short’) and stay (meaning to reside in a place).

2. History

The history of love hotels in Japan can be traced back to 17th Century when establishments appearing to be inns or teahouses with particular procedures for discreet entry or secret tunnels for discreet exit in Japanese cities of Edo and Kyoto were established.[5] In the aftermath of the second World War, Japan was occupied by allied forces for quite some time (1945 to 1952 to be precise) and as prostitution was legal in Japan, it gave rise to “bring along inns”, which were later popularized as love hotels.[6] In 1958, when Japan banned prostitution, these hotels boomed after moved underground and are still in function till date.

On the other hand, Brevistay is the brainchild of Indian entrepreneurs Prateek Singh, Nikhil Pathak and Aditya Naithani who faced several problems during their Manali Trip to find a hotel for shorter stays with budget friendly prices. The company registered itself in India in 2016.

3. Purpose

As the name suggests, Love Hotels in Japan are primarily intended to serve couples looking for a private space to spend some quality time together. The Love Hotels are generally themed (Yes! You can select from a wide range of options be it spaceship themed, beach themed, or if you are into dinosaurs, Jurassic Park themed!) and often offer costumes and toys to their customers.

Brevistay, on the other hand, intends to not only serve couples but also people who are in dire need of a hotel room in the middle of the night by breaking the chains of traditional check in and check out timings. It serves its customers in middle of their flights when the layover is too long, or when their train has been delayed. In contrast to love hotels, Brevistay serves a larger section of people whether they are looking for a private space to spend some quality time with their partner or to freshen up before a big presentation before an investor.

4. Legality

The legality of love hotels in Japan remains unclear yet due to their cultural impact, they still largely remain functional through their underground network. While Japanese laws allow for sexual autonomy of consenting adults, yet the shady origins of Love Hotels in prostitution may land the customers in trouble.

Brevistay is totally legal and is registered as a company under India’s Companies Act, 2013. As per Indian laws, there exist no provisions which stop hotels from offering their rooms on hourly basis and with flexibility in check in. It is also worth noting that under the Right to Privacy as enshrined by our Constitution, no one can interfere in the private space of two consenting adults (whether married or unmarried) and their sexual autonomy.[7] 

5. Organization, Ownership and Pricing

Love Hotels in Japan generally are unorganized and independent of each other.[8] They are generally owned and operated by the same group of people. Their pricing depends on what time of the day it is. For example, day bookings are generally cheaper than overnight stays and the prices hit the ceiling during the weekends.

Brevistay does not own hotels. It collaborates with them after performing a rigorous quality check and due diligence. Brevistay acts as a facilitator between the owners of the hotels and the customers in order to maximize the benefits for both. The rooms listed on Brevistay are operated by the hotel owners. The pricing of Brevistay doesn’t fluctuate like love hotels as it is generally controlled by the owners who list their hotels on our portal and the underlying market forces.

6. Staff Interaction and Premium Experience

Love Hotels in Japan keep interaction between staff and the customer minimum as there is secrecy involved which sometimes allows for anonymity in check-ins which is illegal as per Japanese Laws.[9] Also, as Love Hotels are generally independent of each other, customers don’t have a wide range of options to choose from.

Whereas, at Brevistay the staff interaction is just like a normal hotel where customers are required to check-in using their government approved identity cards. As Brevistay currently has over 4000 hotels in over 70 cities along with some premium hotel chains for an unparalleled experience at budget friendly prices.

7. Offerings

Love hotels in Japan generally offer room for a minimum of one to three hours during the day, called a “rest”, or for the whole night, called a “stay”, which usually starts after 10 pm. Brevistay offers rooms on 3-, 6- and 12-hours basis. We are now looking forward to expanding to 24 hours segment as well. Brevistay also offers flexibility in check-ins which allows customers to book hotels as per their need as opposed to the whims of traditional 24-hour check-in cycle.

8. Target Market

As per a 2009 report, the love hotel industry in Japan is large with 500 million visits to its 37000 love hotels accumulating around 40 bn USD in annual revenue.[10]

While there are no assertions as to the size of hourly hotel industry in India, it has started to find traction with Indian consumers lately. Hotels are also getting onboard to improve their occupancy rate.[11] Brevistay creates a win-win scenario for all the stakeholders in the industry by solving a long due optimization problem in the industry.

Wrap Up

With a larger market to serve, along with better offerings and prices, Brevistay intends to become the largest name in hourly hotel booking industry in the world. While love hotels in Japan mostly resemble “Hotel Decent” from Bollywood cult classic “Jab We Met”, Brevistay offers a decent, legal, safe, and secure hourly rooms which respect your privacy and make sure that everything is in place to enhance your experience.

[5] Ihara, Saikaku (1964). The Life of an Amorous Man. Translated by Kengi Hamada. Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Company. pp. 113–114. ISBN 978-0-8048-1069-2.

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