‘Corporate travellers form almost one-third of our business, mainly across metro cities’

Rohit Kapoor, CEO, OYO India & South-East Asia (INSEA) talks about OYO’s journey from the start of the pandemic till now.

The year 2020 was a test of resilience and slowly adapting to an environment where health and hygiene was of paramount importance both for people and businesses in general. “2020 tested our resilience, but it also accelerated our pace of innovations, pushed us to think outside the box and lead with technology,” says Rohit Kapoor, CEO, OYO India & South-East Asia (INSEA).

On being asked about how OYO innovated and opened up new revenue streams to attract more heads to beds in 2020, Kapoor explained, “We broke away from the one-size-fits-all approach and instead, embraced a customer-centric and individualistic approach. To ensure new revenue streams, we partnered with industries that most needed quality accommodation at affordable prices during such times, including Media & Entertainment (film production houses), Healthcare (Pharma, Hospitals), Logistics, Construction, IT, EdTech and Government, thereby accelerating business recovery as well as enabling India to get back on its feet.

Elaborating further, he said that as they were witnessing green shoots, Ministry of Home Affairs restarted film production with stringent guidelines during the earlier phases of Unlock 2.0. OYO offered end-to-end convenience for a safe and hassle-free stay to the production houses including the likes of Dharma Productions and others. 

OYO undertook various efforts which included partnering with COVID testing labs, rolling out contactless check-ins, tying up with cab and shuttle aggregators across India, enabling F&B requirements including in-room dining facilities among others, and served 20,000 guests from the media and entertainment industry.

Citing more examples on how they opened up new revenue streams, Kapoor said, “Small & medium enterprises are the flag-bearers of business resurgence in the past few months. Many entrepreneurs travelled for business and required affordable and safe accommodation, with in-room dining facilities, and wi-fi access. We also offered quarantine and COVID-testing facilities for thousands of blue-collared workers, who were returning from India to the middle east and gulf countries, served IT/ITeS employees with work from anywhere, and project/turnkey based organisations with institutional quarantine stay facilities, among others.

In India, OYO’s occupancy has returned to 55 per cent to 60 per cent of pre-covid levels. Most of this recovery comes from small business owners who are travelling again and are a big part of OYO’s loyal customer base. 

Talking about corporate travel and what is driving its recovery, Kapoor said that for corporate travellers and SMEs, proximity to work locations and affordability are two of the topmost consideration factors while booking their stays. “Most of this demand stems from working-class professionals such as CAs, service or retail, jewellery, construction sector, engineers, local transport vendors, pest control providers, people involved in contracting business, small business owners and traders, among others. This demand channel will continue rising month-on-month, especially with technology enabling people to ‘Work From Anywhere’, as long as they are connected, in turn, boosting customer confidence among corporate travellers.”

Commenting on the contribution of corporate travel in 2019 vs early 2020 in OYO, Kapoor explained, “Corporate travellers and SMEs contributed up to 27 per cent of our business in 2019 and early 2020. However, today, corporate travellers, including SMEs form almost one-third of our business, mainly across metropolitan cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi, Chennai, and Mumbai. This is a testament to the fact that corporate travel is not only making a strong comeback but also holds the potential to drive very high demand in comparison to pre-covid times.

OYO had recently launched the Equal Partner Policy for asset owners to establish a deeper connection and trust. Elaborating further on this, he explains, “In 2020, we used our time to understand and connect with our partners better. With Equal Partner Policy (EPP) and our rewards & recognition programme Club Red, we have significantly improved our partner relationships. Over 96 per cent of our partners use OYO OS as a one-stop-solution to support hotel operations, check-in guests, access simple reconciliation statements, make pricing changes, and training purposes. We have also improved our NPS linked with transparent policy and quick resolution, especially with regards to reconciliation. Our weekly payout modules have helped partners with their working capital needs. As a part of our simplified deal structures in EPP policy, nearly 60 per cent of hotel properties are now onboarded on simplified deals - Crystal Deal - with a brief, and three-line reconciliation.”

Talking about the OYO B app, Kapoor concluded, “Our OBA (OYO Business Accelerator) channel focuses on identifying innovative demand generation from different corporate and customer segments, helping us garner the majority of innovative revenue streams. Furthermore, thinking from a long-term and sustainable perspective, we rolled out Discover OYO  - our multi-stakeholder initiative to optimise value for consumers and partners. Through Discover’s technology, we are enabling customers to experience their first OYO stay at a minimal price, as well as enabling hotel owners to acquire new customers while filling up their dormant inventory to improve future business.

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COVID-19 Pandemic


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