Taking its competitors head-on, budget hotels aggregator, OYO Rooms is venturing into food technology and on-demand housekeeping service to expand customer base.
With OYO Café, the company will aggregate the kitchens of its listed hotels to prepare food and sell under its own brand. OYO Care will facilitate on-demand housekeeping service in its listed hotels.
Maninder Gulati, head of strategy and corporate development at OYO, stated,“As in any food business, we noticed that our partner hotels’ kitchen have excess inventory. So, the idea is, if we can utilise that and use food tech platforms like Zomato or Swiggy to distribute the food, then that’s a revenue generation potential for our partner.”
The measures come as OYO aims to build a sustainable and standardised long term brand. With the budget hotel aggregator offering discounts on most of its properties to attract customers, adding new services to its folio becomes imperative as it aggressively moves to achieve the target of 50,000 rooms in 5,000 properties by the end of 2015.
Post raising $100 Mn, in a funding round led by SoftBank, this August, it has expanded its network to 30,000 rooms in over 3,000 properties across 130 Indian cities and towns. Recently, OYO also partnered with hyperlocal mobile messaging app Lookup in order to allow guests to discover and book OYO hotels by just texting.
The new services come in the wake of intensifying competition in the branded hotel marketplace with MakeMyTrip launching its own brand of budget rooms through Value+. In September, Goibibo had launched its own platform GoStays, to facilitate booking budget accommodation.
Earlier in October, MakeMyTrip, GoIbibo and Yatra jointly blocked OYO Rooms and ZO Rooms from listing and marketing hotel properties on their websites. They unanimously stated the reason that OTA sector in India has become the highest margin category, and they don’t want to help rival companies while taking a hit on their own business. As per industry estimates, the budget accommodation space has nearly 1,00,000 accommodations and a market size of 1 Mn rooms, thus making it a hotbed of activity and intense competition among players like OYO, ZO Rooms, Treebo Hotels, Fabhotels, Wudstay, Zen Rooms, Zip Rooms, Vista Rooms and RoomOnCall to name a few.
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