We, as a responsible hospitality chain, have been striving hard to provide safe and sanitised stays to our customers and have also helped our partners with demand generation as the pandemic created multiple setbacks from time to time over the last year. From supporting individuals with quarantine and self-isolation facilities to providing safe stays for our front-liners, we stepped up to the community at large in the time of need, under the aegis of ‘OYO Care.’ We also supported international tourists and repatriated Indians as part of ‘Vande Bharat Mission’
2020 was also a time of introspection, where we, with the help of our stakeholders learned to adapt to the new normal focussed around safety and hygiene.
Continuing the journey of being a responsible company, we understood early on that people wanted to go out and travel but were apprehensive about various government led Covid-19 regulations and also about their health and safety.
Further, to understand our customers better we launched “Project Hello” where our employees had detailed one-on-one conversations with our customers. We spoke to customers about their expectations, worries and travel related issues. This was the starting point for charting out a plan which shaped the next 3-4 months, comprising various activities and taking decisions that ultimately culminated with the peak December season.
Let’s take a deeper look into all these activities and their impact on demand surge.
Preparing for Leisure Travel revival
‘Sanitised Before Your Eyes’ – Having launched earlier last year, we realised our ‘Sanitised Stays’ initiative and the partnership with Unilever were a hit among our customers, but still they wanted to ‘see it to believe it’ to be fully assured of our sanitisation efforts. Keeping this in mind, we designed the ‘Sanitised Before Your Eyes’ initiative which practically enhanced our hygiene and sanitisation efforts across hotels. The guests could now raise a request to sanitise their rooms in front of their eyes. Before check-in, the hotel ground staff would sanitise high touch spots or frequently touched surfaces, and guests could enjoy a safe and secure stay. We partnered with reel and real-life hero and an OYO hotel partner, Sonu Sood, to reiterate our campaign slogan, “Pehle Spray, Fir Stay”
|OYO Sanitised Before Your Eyes||7.95 M|
Contactless Check-in – While the world was grappling with maintaining social distancing, we put on our thinking hats and delved over the idea of digitising the whole check-in process and removing physical touchpoints altogether. As it was also one of the top concerns amongst our customers, the risks associated with physical contact in today’s world were not to be taken lightly. Mapping the entire customer journey – right from entering through the door till the point guests check into their room, the check-in process is usually full of exchanges, including ID verification, filling details, handing over of keys etc. What if the whole process was made contactless, eliminating the need for a physical check-in process on arrival?
Lo and Behold, we launched Contactless Check-in. Guests now had an option to check-in on the OYO app from anywhere, right after the booking. Once guests arrived at the hotel, they were only required to pick the sanitised key card at the reception desk, allowing them to directly head to their room. This simplified process solidified social distancing and reduced the risk of infections while checking in.
|Contactless Checkin||4.5 M|
“Chal Pahad” – In October, we were seeing travel coming back, across hill stations and other leisure hot spots in India. People were fed up with their mundane daily routines and constant WFH schedules. They were looking to step outdoors, take a break, and explore places through road trips and staycations. Another important trend that emerged from ‘Project Hello’ was that people wanted to explore destinations that were closer to home, a drive away within 300-400 kms, or even exploring off-beat destinations in an attempt to beat the crowds. This was also fueled with ‘work from anywhere’ arrangements and relatively flexible work hours. Itineraries now were not constrained with school calendars and this led to rising demand for leisure travel. Resonating with this consumer sentiment, we launched a “Chal Pahad” campaign.
|Chal Pahad!||1.16 M|
Mega Sale (Ghumo Firo): During the month of November, OYO gifted a mega sale to its customers post Diwali. As the festive season had just passed, we realised that people had a strong intent to break the routine and use the upcoming December vacation time to explore some hidden gems of places nearby and hence giving a boost to domestic travel. The sale had various aspects including weekday/weekend discounting, Mystery Box – where first 100 bookings were awarded at a flat price every few hours, pre-booking offer for December etc. The response from our users was overwhelmingly positive with 8% increase in Daily Active Users (DAU) during the campaign.
|This winter, #GhumoFiroOYO||1.3 M|
“Chal Beach Chalein” – Come December, besides rising customer interest, and post many Locks and Unlocks X.0, since October 2020, we started seeing that there was a considerable jump in demand for leisure destinations driven by local travel agents or the offline channel. To avoid the chills of the wintery month and to enjoy the Christmas and New Year holidays, the vast beaches of Goa, Kochi, Vizag and Pondicherry were on the top of the mind of many weary souls. Understanding this desire to travel to beach destinations we hustled and launched the Chal Beach Chalein campaign, to encourage our customers take a break and enjoy a guilt-free and safe vacation at the top beach destinations.
|OYO – Chal Beach Chalein||1.13 M|
Sweet December in Numbers
All the actions and initiatives that we undertook made December 2020 a really sweet one for many of our customers and partners alike. An astounding 4.9L guests stayed with OYO Hotels in December 2020 with over 1 Million room nights. On the partner side, numerous hotel owners witnessed 100% occupancy on at least 5 days in the month. Top destinations were Jaipur, Goa and Kochi. Also to the industry’s relief December 2020 saw a 47% Occupancy recovery vs February 2020.
Abhishek Bansal is the Chief Revenue Officer for OYO India & South Asia. He is responsible for driving demand, delivering RevPar to our asset partners. He also leads the customer loyalty program, OYO Wizard. Prior to OYO, he has worked with early-stage startups in leadership roles, and as a consultant with Bain & Company. He is an ex-IIMA and IIT-D alumni.