The last couple of months have seen a lot of hue and cry. I received forwarded messages where OYO partners can be seen binning PMS Tabs that OYO provides, some partners are seen sitting in ‘dharna’ in OYO office. The best part is that every time such a video is doing rounds, I receive it through multiple channels, my dad, fellow hotel owners, OYO employees I know etc.
It’s not that I advocate that the OYO system is foolproof, and nothing as such can happen. I also acknowledge that there are shortcomings in the system (or sometimes they have situations, where there are no pre-framed policies even) either because the people are not able to foresee the impact of a scheme from hoteliers’ perspective or there are people in the system who are trying to run the engine on an entirely different track, with the vision that no hotel company has ever had.
I also reiterate that despite the problems I may face, all my issues are always resolved in time and every time I had a reason to tell myself that the protests that my fellow hotel owners are taking part in are inordinate and can be avoided.
I have been avoiding writing a post on the subject as people judge these to be company sponsored, but a recent incident changed that.
I had an argument with an OYO staffer who asked if I could be trusted for honouring the bookings if they are billed to company. This forced me to get into the mud in support of OYO, which in spite of helping enormous number hotel owners succeed, is unnecessarily being shown in a bad light not only by the partners but also sometimes by its own employees who have lost confidence.
Why do I think that OYO is the best bet for budget hotel owners?
To quickly get into the organised hotel space: By an organised hotel space I mean leaving the cocoon and being able to adopt best practices, being aware of the industry bench marks, and riding on the road in the right direction.
To unlearn the (foolish) regionality that we have infused into a truly global business: It is more like learning from the lion how to hunt. OYO has grown exponentially and has gained huge experience from varied market environments. There is no harm in learning from them and having a piece from the cake.
As the corporate demand has already shifted: Undoubtedly OYO has the largest, and brilliantly structured offline sales network. The GST wave has opened up doors of opportunity for OYO to lure big organisations to tie up with them for centralised billing.
I have met many people at my front desk who now are told to stay only at an OYO on their official trips.
To reap the benefits of being in the huge network of hotels with worldwide brand recall: Right now, it can be termed as a boon for us budget hotel owners, getting our hotel branded similar to that of a hotel in Las Vegas or Bridgton Street without undergoing the burdensome refurbishment demands that many chains ask for.
OYO is much quicker at allocating capital and manpower than the larger chains. It is already the world’s third largest hotel chain, behind only Marriott and Hilton. Hopping on the bandwagon seems rational to me.
To shift the selling-the-inventory headaches, and focus on growth: Learn, improve, and build further is what my partnership with OYO has taught me. For last 18 months, the topic of my discussion with my father has shifted from ‘EOD occupancy’ to ‘what can we further improve / build’ and OYO has definitely played a role in the positive change.
So here is my advice to fellow hotel owners: stop cribbing and enjoy riding along.
Partnerships in businesses are like marriage; you also need to love and support your wife to have a peaceful and happy married life.
- OYO has set standards, use them as a tool to keep a tab on your employees and to build a hotel where guests' expectations are met correctly.
- OYO has a brilliant but often incognito offline sales network, which performs awesomely well once guests start checking out of your hotel satisfied and happy. Improve your GX score to reap the benefits.
- OYO does not decide your price. It is the amenities, service and demand of your hotel that suggests to the algorithm the price your hotel can fetch. Keep improving.
Lastly I can’t help but say that it is the right time that hotel owners get above petty ego issues of not letting go of their hotel name or brand (which anyway conveys trust to a very few outside of their family) and embrace the fact that the industry, which earlier used to be only for people with big investments and huge properties, has now opened its doors to all.
En passant, hospitality is a serious business to be in, unlike a popular belief. To succeed, hotel owners need to work, be present at the property and know their guests’ needs and experience.
Amol Dhir is a member of OYO’s Partner Advisory Council.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)