For Valentine's Day, Rooms by the Hour

PHOTO: DayUse logoDayUse recently launched in the U.S. The site provides reputable hotel rooms during the day for a few hours at a time.

Still not sure what to get that special someone for Valentine's Day? How about a spur-of-the-moment, mid-afternoon tryst?

In the past, you would have to pay a full night's rate, regardless of how long you used your hotel room. No longer., which has websites in eight countries and recently launched its first in the U.S. in New York City, pairs hotels with those in need of a daytime place to . . . crash.

"It's about fifty percent couples," said Yannis Moati, Northeast Regional Manager for Dayuse Hotel.

There's still a stigma about rooms by the hour in the U.S., Moati said. So much so that the company purposely gave its first U.S. site a more businesslike feel than its European sites. "In Europe we really play with the coupling aspect," he said. "In America there's a different standard."

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The site has 18 New York City hotels among its offerings. Moati said that the average price is $100 for a New York hotel for three hours. A check of the site found that a few of the hotels are near the airports, but there are a few in Manhattan as well. For example, you can get a room at the Hotel Indigo Chelsea from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $129. The Hotel Verite near Union Square is available for $135 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"It's hush-hush, but hotels receive walk-ins all the time," he said. "And it's a problem for the hotel because they know the rooms are sold for that night but they have no idea when the walk-ins will leave. This provides a strict check-out time, which gives the hotel time to clean the room for that night's guest."

Dayuse said if the idea catches on in New York City, it could mean an untapped money source for hotels. For the 18 hotels participating so far, Moati said $35,000 in new revenue has been generated.

Offering hotel rooms for a few hours during the day, said Moati, solves a problem for both the hotel and the customer. "Ten percent of guests check in late, and 10 percent check in early [on a typical nightly reservation]," he said. "So there are always some rooms empty."

Maybe not for long.