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Indecent Proposal: Free Hotel Stay If You, Um, Perform for the Cameras

Porn mogul Berth Milton Jr. is pushing hotels to offer free board to sexual exhibitionists. Ladies and gentleman, this is a glimpse of our future, as the digital age leans more on the content creation of the consumers themselves. Milton's idea just might work, too.

According to the New York Post, the concept is simple:

  • Offer two or more people a free night's stay
  • Film them having sex
  • Sell the content to customers in the hotel and online
Judgments aside, the idea is no different than Twitter and Facebook, or YouTube and I Can Has Cheezeburger. For social networks, customers are given a free platform to express themselves and their expressions are what drive more customers to the site and, ideally, propel their ad-based model. (To paraphrase a chilling line in The Social Network, "We don't have to steal their information because they are going to voluntarily give it to us.") Similarly, upload sites like YouTube or I Can Has Cheezeburger give virtual kudos, in the forms of views and votes, for the "best" of the bunch. It isn't impossible to imagine some couples taking pride in making one of the most ordered or highest ranked videos.

Milton says hotels could make as much as $43.8 million in additional revenues from implementing the idea, and while the porn industry is infamous for inflating numbers, there is definitely a neglected profit center here.

First, hotels already make a killing on traditional pornography. According to Eric Schlosser's excellent subculture economics book Reefer Madness:

Indeed, about half of all the films rented in hotel rooms are porn films. The leading hotel chains -- such as Hilton, Holiday Inn, Sheraton, and Marriott International -- get a cut of up to 15 percent.

Second, to my knowledge, no mainstream hotel has actually made its pay per view content available online. As noted in the CBS News documentary Porn In The U.S.A., most hotel chains are understandably sheepish about revealing how much they depend on pornography, but a rebellious upstart -- like a Southwest or JetBlue of hotels -- could totally revolutionize the traditional revenue model. The only thing on the line would be their reputation.

Third, it's already happening on a smaller scale. According to Museum of Sex curator Sarah Forbes, the Prague-based brothel Big Sister (link not safe for work) has been successfully using a similar online distribution model for profit.

It's hard to see Milton's model working well within the United States aside from, perhaps, places like San Francisco, New York, Miami, New Orleans, or Portland, where sex norms are more liberal and experimentation is expected. It could very well thrive in the rest of the world, however, and its viability makes it more than just another gimmick.

Photo courtesy of kalleboo // CC 2.0

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