Oyo Rooms – an Online Hotel reservation company, that pre buys rooms and then sells/offers at a heavily discounted rates, has been in the news for good and bad reasons; But that is neither there nor here.
In the past 10 months I have had occasion to visit a couple of places on business and I decided to try and check them out myself.
Given the fact that I am from the industry, always prefer derisking myself particularly in matters of Travel, I did not trust only the website, but verified the location and called the hotel, checked the rates and then booked via the Oyo App.
First time, booking was smooth, communication was perfect, followed instructions, reached the hotel late but good room, service, with nice branding so overall comfortable stay. A couple of additional meetings meant I need to stay an additional night, checked the App and saw similar rate still available. And a better rate for a hotel next door so decided to try it out.
The owner of the hotel got talking and upon knowing my need said, book via another website where also Oyo offers but there is a better rate. Booked, got it at 20% cheaper. (Basically the hotel gaming the system, similar to a Uber or Ola driver).
All happy and done. A couple of months pass – another visit, same place, decided same hotel.
Booking, communication perfect. Travelling by road took longer so called the hotel who said, we have cancelled your booking and now the rate is +30% or you rebook via Oyo.
Checked the Oyo app which did not have rooms, called them up directly with reference nos, explained everything, took a little while but they reinstated the booking and I got a confirmation. Upon calling the hotel again, they agreed that the rooms were being held.
Reaching late night, barely OK rooms, no branding, different floors, and a variety of other problems.
Over breakfast the next day morning, overheard the staff talking about Oyo and why they did not like to accept bookings.
- Payment and commitment issues; earlier Oyo used to block floors and pre pay, now they would take a couple of rooms and pay post booking.
- Earlier the replenishment for brand used to be Oyo supplied and audited, now that had stopped.
- Listing of so many hotels in the same city, led to decrease in business.
- Earlier publicity and people staying in the hotel call directly and if regular give them a discount so they book direct.
- Oyo booking, service recovery was pretty good.
- Loyalty worked for the repeat booking but may not continue.
- Other offerings were being added that may be a good thing.
- The brand elements were missing from a consistency perspective.
- Loyalty factor takes a serious beating
- No attempt to complete the customer journey mapping which may result in repeat
- Ramp up at the cost of loss of old
A huge opportunity to tighten the relationship – customer and hotel; using data & audit to get fair amount of consistency in place and create competitive value add.
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
Recommendation: 3/5 The seamlessness consistency with product and service needs an improvement.