Love motels: oriental phenomenon or emergent sector?

Matthew Alexander (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)
Chien Chuan Chen (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)
Andrew MacLaren (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)
Kevin D. O'Gorman (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Publication date: 9 March 2010



This paper aims to explore the “love motel” concept by examining the changing attitude of consumers in Taiwan. This will increase knowledge of the sector and define love motels.


The literature review charts the development of Taiwanese love motels from a dual origin: American motels and Japanese “love hotels.” This is followed by an empirical qualitative study consisting of a two‐stage collection strategy: focus groups of hospitality and tourism professionals to gather a wide range of opinions on the subject area, followed by semi‐structured interviews with consumers.


The findings split into three interrelated areas: growth of Taiwanese love motels due to more liberal attitudes towards sexual practice; a change in the public perception of motels due to increased standards and an increased satisfaction with the personal consumption experience; these hotels are designed for couples.

Research limitations/implications

The empirical element of the study is an exploration of consumer experience in Taiwanese love hotels. Because of the sensitive nature of some of the data that were gathered a qualitative approach has been adopted.

Practical implications

The sexual associations with this product appear almost coincidental. If the love motel product is considered in its purest form it is simply a hotel product that provides complete anonymity for its guests. Therefore, despite its application in South East Asia, this hospitality concept has potential to be applied in a variety of guises.


The phenomenon of “love hotels” is absent from the hospitality management literature; the paper begins to fill that gap by beginning a discussion on this possibly controversial sector.



Alexander, M., Chuan Chen, C., MacLaren, A. and O'Gorman, K.D. (2010), "Love motels: oriental phenomenon or emergent sector?", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 194-208.

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