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OYO: Your Stay Provider

Consumer VOICE, editor, Sharmila Das in conversation with Aditya Ghosh, CEO, India & South Asia, OYO Hotel & Homes

Hotel and hospitality brand OYO first opened its door in 2013 with a single property. Up till now, surely it traversed a long path. As in 2019, OYO now hosts guests from around the world in over 23,000 hotels, in over 1 million rooms, and more than 125,000-holiday homes. Riding on the growth curve, it adds over 80,000 rooms every month, globally. The impact it created over the years is better understood with the fact that every night almost 500,000 heads rest on a pillow in OYO properties. In a freewheeling chat, Aditya Ghosh, CEO, India & South Asia, OYO Hotel & Homes talks on consumption patterns, the lull economy and more.

What's your contribution to the Indian hotel and hospitality industry? Do you feel, before you, there was a lack of pocket-friendly accommodation?

Millions of people around the world, to date, have to compromise on location, quality or price when they want decent accommodation. Many, therefore, either stay at a sub-standard hotel or pay high prices to find a good quality hotel. We at OYO, are uniquely placed to solve this problem, as we have the zeal and the capability to create beautiful living spaces wherever this issue exists. We want to solve the problem of quality living spaces for the common man in every country, city, and neighborhood to address the demand-supply gap in the hospitality industry that leads to guests from middle-income groups comprising on the quality of their stay or sometimes actually reconsidering their travel plans itself, as good quality hotels are not affordable. We are currently present in over 800 cities around the world, but what is important to note is that we still have over 3.2 billion middle-income people worldwide who deserve better living spaces. This presents a huge opportunity for us.

Today, OYO is a leading player of choice with ~12x plus the size of the second-largest player in the Indian hospitality market. We are certain that this region will see continued growth while staying true to the core mission and value proposition for customers and asset owners.

In that way, do you feel, OYO has democratized the hotel and hospitality industry for its consumers?

We started on the belief that everyone deserves a beautifully designed, chic and comfortable living space. And everyone deserves a better life. We knew we could change the way people live. We did that by upgrading bland, generic spaces and places and designing them with next-gen chic and design moxie and offering them at hard-to-ignore prices.

OYO has revolutionized the fragmented and legacy-driven budget hospitality space by empowering small and independent asset owners with the operational capabilities and technology that enables them to compete with big hotel chains and achieve high occupancies and therefore yields. We are proud that every country we have opened OYO hotels in, we have increased the occupancy from 25% to 65% in less than 3 months on an average with as high as 90%+ consistent occupancies.

We offered a standardized service and excellent experience including amenities and in-room experience at affordable and predictable prices to travelers and city-dwellers who were forced to compromise on location, quality, and price. We did this by leveraging innovative technology solutions to enable travelers to book their perfect space at the tap of a button.

Who is a happy consumer for you?

For us, a happy consumer is a guest who has had a smooth experience end-to-end, right from finding the most suitable OYO for her needs to be able to book it, check-in and have a smooth stay experience. Rating us with five stars validates that experience! We are very particular about customer feedback after every trip. We are glad to share that about 90% of our business comes from repeat and word of mouth customers and this can be attributed to a seamless product experience, efficient operations, and solid distribution capabilities all powered by innovative technology.

Having said that, in the service and hospitality industry, one needs to be constantly evolving to meet changing consumer demands. From a customer standpoint, the guest experience is of utmost priority for us and the 20+ apps used across the OYO ecosystem are aimed to ultimately ensure a great experience for our guests.

Have you felt any hit on consumption in the last quarter due to a slow economy?

India continues to be a supply-constrained market when it comes to hotel accommodation. There are over 4 million hotel and guest house rooms in India and we are less than 5% of the total unbranded hotel and guesthouse market in India and there is massive headroom for growth now and in the future. Hence the opportunity for growth continues to be immense in India.

OYO has traveled a long path. In this journey, what are the top trends you've observed in the consumer segment in India?

A few key trends that we have observed in the Indian hospitality industry have been outlined below:-

  • The Indian consumer is increasingly seeking more value and is willing to pay a premium for it. However, the ability to provide value, quality offerings at affordable price points is going to be increasingly important. The demand from customers for high quality and affordable accommodation will continue to see an upswing.
  • The majority of customers are millennials and hence technology adoption has increased in a big way in the Indian hotel industry.
  • Increased connectivity and rising appetite among Indian millennials for travel will help growth momentum to continue. Government initiatives like Smart City, Swadesh Darshan, and Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD), friendly e-visa schemes and the likes, will also boost business and religious travel into tier 1 and tier 2, 3, 4 cities and towns.
  • Co-living and student housing will see massive growth in the coming years. OYO LIFE, our long term managed rentals business is seeing phenomenal growth and aims to reach 1 lakh beds by the end of 2019.
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