Key to staying relevant in the changing market

OYO says they put in extra efforts to understand guests and believe this to be a key differentiator. The brand has now shifted to a revenue share model.

Starting from one hotel in Gurgaon in 2013, OYO today is India’s largest hotel network with 7,000 hotels across 200 cities and is poised to become the next unicorn of the start-up world. The online hotel aggregator records nearly a million room-nights booked every month and is seeing a very steady, healthy growth, informs its Founder & CEO RiteshAgarwal. “Today, we offer 70,000 rooms across 7,000 partner hotels in 200 cities spanning India and Malaysia,” he says. “Our focus on delivering exceptional customer-experience, building strong partnerships and opening up new market opportunitieshave been key facilitators for our growth while our strategic investments in customer service, technology and supplier acquisition have further supported this.” OYO’s popularity is highest in Delhi, Bengaluru, Gurgaon, Hyderabad and Chennai for both corporate and leisure travel. One of the most recent innovations is ‘Sunrise Checkin’ that provides assured early check-ins as early as 6 AM, leading OYO to become the first hotel brand in the world to offer guaranteed early check-in to guests. Agarwal explains, “This is keeping in line with major shifts in consumer behaviour. Customers from Ahmedabad to Amsterdam are increasingly used to an on-demand model, where brands cater to their unique preferences and needs – as and when they arise.” OYO’s self-serve platform ‘OYO for Business’ offers rooms to especially cater to the needs of corporate travellers. The platform offers ease of creating bulk bookings via the web and mobile app along with the added convenience of travel-expense management. So, what does it take to stay relevant in this everchanging market full of disruptions? “Our size and agility gives us the advantage to test different models, make changes to optimise resources and efficiencies, while continuing to be focused on the big picture.” Partners’ operations including training staff, conducting regular property audits and collating guest feedback, are of equal importance, he said. Initially, the group offered minimum guarantee of occupancy to partner hotels during launch phase, a strategy to help onboard hotels in the early growth stage. “This is now redundant, so we shifted to a revenue-share model earlier this year.”

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