The last year at OYO has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every industry, the impact on the hospitality industry has, as most experts believe, been the worst. But as every situation is treated like a challenge at OYO, we used this as an opportunity to reinvent ourselves. We went back to our drawing board to start with the same question again – “How do we provide a better experience for our guests and our Patrons?” We revisited our offerings and worked at multiple enhancements to give better technology led tools to its partners.
“98% of check-ins happen through OYO’s in-house technology which sits at the front desk of our patrons across the globe,” said Abhinav Sinha, the Global Chief Operating Officer for OYO, in a recent interview with Phocuswire. He also described the multiple ways in which technology and products at OYO are helping our patrons with driving business through the pandemic. While demand dried up significantly, we found new use cases. Almost 3,000+ front line medical professionals stayed with us in the United States and 2,000+ in the United Kingdom. This has created value both for the patrons as well as the guests, and has helped OYO in adding over 280 hotels in the US in the last 2 years despite the pandemic.
Specific to the US, our revenue management and pricing algorithms have helped us in beating the STR trends for RevPAR as compared to our other competitors – since the beginning of the 2020. OYO’s RevPAR has increased by 31% – in turn adding much higher value to our patrons during these tough times. This has been made possible by launching multiple product led initiatives across OTA, Growth, and Pricing. These initiatives, varying from travel ads management to long stay promotion campaigns, have led to a 2x improvement in RevPAR on a YoY basis, giving more value to the partners. The team has also launched an automated bid management process to make the OTA relationship more robust.
Providing a great experience to our guests and patrons has been at the core of our business. The pandemic gave us some extra breathing space to have more closed interactions with guests and patrons. During the course of multiple discussions with our patrons – we understood that solving day-to-day customer concerns was taking a lot of bandwidth from our partners. To solve for its guests and partners, OYO launched Yo!ChatBot which now answers over 85% of our customers’ concerns and also helps with booking modifications. We are still thankful to our patrons and guests for providing great feedback on the product during its development phase. The product was initially launched in the US, and has now been launched globally. This, together with multiple other tech innovations to improve the guest experience, has led to OYO’s App being the third most downloaded App worldwide in Q4 last year, as per App Annie, after Booking.com and Airbnb.
One of the other exciting insights which came out of multiple customer surveys was about the need for longer stays during the pandemic where the willingness to pay was less. Hence, we redesigned the promotions in the US and conceptualised 7+ and 14+ day offers, both on OYO’s direct channels as well as other channels. OYO took an aggressive bidding stance for Long Stay keywords. This initiative led to a 1.5x improvement in overall online 7+ day bookings bucket. We also saw an improvement of up to 30% growth in daily booked room nights from online channels, which finally helped in more revenue improvement for our partners… which is just one of the small ways for us to show that we always put our customers and partners first!
Globally, we have been on our toes to ensure that OYO remains a trusted brand in the market. Across multiple geographies, one of the key concerns from customers was about the sanitization of the properties. OYO launched the product, Sanitised Before Your Eyes – where patrons work with us to sanitise the rooms right before the guest checks in, in front of the customers. This helped OYO and its partners build confidence and trust with its guests. We also launched VaccinAid in a few of our geographies. It’s an industry-first feature to show self-reported vaccination status of hotel staff across OYO. This has helped in bringing confidence back into travel recovery, especially when our surveys showed that 87% prefer hotels with immunized staff when they plan to travel again.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the hospitality industry, we, at OYO, have made sure that value is added to both our patrons and guests by taking these simple yet highly effective steps. Our aim is to enrich lives by enabling every stakeholder of OYO to dream, create, innovate, and realize their full potential.
As we emerge from the pandemic, we are excited for the return of in-person events and engagements. OYO is a proud platinum sponsor of the upcoming AAHOACON in Dallas, TX from August 3rd to 6th, 2021. Please visit us at Booth 601 to connect with our OYO USA Team and learn more about how OYO’s technology can empower your business.