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For $1 to Stay in a Hotel Room, Would You Let the Internet Watch You?

For $1 to Stay in a Hotel Room, Would You Let the Internet Watch You?
Jackie Reddy

The manager of a Japanese inn was seeking a way to increase business when he was inspired by a YouTuber who livestreamed most of their stay. From then on, Tetsuya Inoue offered guests who were willing to stream their stay in the property’s room number eight the chance to sleep for ¥100 ($0.91) a night.

Everyone likes a bargain and what a bargain, indeed, to find a hotel room at an incredibly discounted rate. When it comes to a deal, one traditional ryokan or inn in Fukuoka, Japan might just be offering the best rate going. As CNN Travel reports, Asahi Ryokan is offering travelers the chance to stay and pay just ¥100 ($.91) a night.

As with most great deals, there is a catch…and it’s a creepy one. In this case, those who plump for this option must agree to have their time at the inn livestreamed.

According to the outlet, this business model was the brainchild of Tetsuya Inoue, whose grandmother owns the inn. Inoue, who took over the premises last year, had noted that the property’s No.8 room was the least popular with travelers and was looking for a way to drum up business.

The Inspiration Behind a Great Deal

Taking inspiration from a British YouTuber who streamed most of their stay at Asahi Ryokan, Inoue decided to try and harness the potential of the Internet in order to increase revenue.

Speaking of his inspiration, Inoue said, “This is a very old ryokan and I was looking into a new business model. Our hotel is on the cheaper side, so we need some added value, something special that everyone will talk about.”

“Young people nowadays don’t care much about the privacy. Some of them say it’s OK to be [watched] for just one day,” he explained.

Personal Privacy and Bathroom Rules

But as the outlet explains, there are some limitations on these livestream broadcasts. For example, the feeds only broadcast video and guests staying in room No.8 can turn the lights off. For the truly camera-shy, Inoue has also explained that the bathroom is not filmed.

When the room isn’t occupied, Inoue simply livestreams himself working from the inn’s office. When he’s away from his desk, there is signage in both English and Japanese to alert users to his absence.

All footage captured from Asahi Ryokan’s room No.8 can be viewed on Inoue’s YouTube channel, One Dollar Hotel.

A Gimmick With a Long-Term Goal

While stays in this room are obviously sold at a loss, Inoue is hoping that this gimmick will pay off in the long-term. At present, his YouTube channel has over 3,000 subscribers and once it achieves above 4,000 view hours, Inoue will be able to place advertising on the channel, thus further boosting his business.

From a marketing standpoint, Inoue’s timing is incredibly canny. CNN Travel has just nominated the city of Fukuoka as one of its must-see destinations for 2019.

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