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How is OYO catering to the changing needs of Millennials

Ritesh Agarwal, ‎Founder & CEO, OYO Rooms

Jul 19, 2016 16:19

As we see one of the largest generation in the history move into the earning and then spending stage in their lives, it is imperative that marketers understand the behavior shifts in this new set of young consumers. Nearly 60 per cent of the 1.2 billion Indians are under the age of 30. That’s more than the 503 million residents of the European Union and double the US population! As a prominent player in India’s hospitality sector that caters to the young and the mobile, we need to adapt to their changing needs in order to meet their expectations and deliver the best experience.

Millennials have continuous access to unlimited information on the Internet- they are always looking for something better, cheaper & faster. The generation today is not driven to travel by the same factors as the previous generations - now they also travel to gain experience and knowledge. This is a generation that goes on frequent trips, and recognizes the value of money when it comes to choosing their accommodation, and like every other aspect of their lives, even travel is greatly influenced and aided by technology.

In the past couple of years, Indian hospitality industry has undergone some major transformation. Before OYO’s inception, there was no minimum set standard for budget hotel accommodation in India, and the degree of distrust among customers was high. We have tried to change this by introducing predictability, availability and affordability in this segment.

The youth also prefer to travel to offbeat destinations and are not limited to planning holidays to conventional tourist spots. They travel to chase their own personal interests ranging from food, wine to outdoor activities. Recognizing this, one of the key goals for us at OYO is to be present in each and every destination in the country to ensure the availability of standardized high-quality stays to visiting travelers. Today, we are present in more than 170 cities —from the major metros and mini-metros to holiday hotspots such as Goa, Manali, Gangtok and Mahableshwar, from unconventional traveller-haunts such as Diu, Coorg and Mirik to pilgrim favourites such as Benares, Tirupathi and Ujjain. Our launch in the North-East should be a market-moving prospect, since this is a destination with immense potential just waiting to be unlocked. So many Indians want to explore this part of the country but lack of adequate infrastructure support plays spoilsport. With an OYO nearby, their accommodation needs will be well take care of.

Not surprisingly, millennials are also the most spontaneous travelers of all generations. Their idea of a getaway is spunkier and more impulse-driven. College students and young professionals making last-minute weekend getaway plans is a common occurrence these days. Hence at OYO, we wanted to build the scale and depth of inventory that would make it possible for good-quality last-minute options to be available. OYO’s mobile app has disrupted the discovery and booking process – it takes just 3 taps (and less than 5 seconds) to book the nearest OYO. Now, 30% of our bookings are for same-day check-ins. Out of our under 12 hour bookings made, 80 percent check-ins are under 6 hours.

OYO is not only enabling millenials to meet their travel aspirations but has become a lifestyle-partner. From booking an OYO to avoid a late-night commute, to planning a night-out at an OYO – our young customers have identified their unique needs and how OYO can best serve them.

We want to be a part of our customers’ journey at every step, and be available for them through all possible channels round the clock. In the extremely dispersed travel industry, it is of utmost importance to be present on every channel – to enable access via a preferred channel. Thus, brands cannot ignore the significance of Social Media in understanding the behavior of these customers, as well as in addressing their concerns and questions. After all, this is a generation that takes pictures of their food before eating it!

OYO’s Online Reputation Management team is the most responsive in the hotel industry. With an average response time of 5 minutes and a resolution time of 30 minutes, and Facebook page rated “Very Responsive” by Facebook itself - our team solves 95% of customer queries within 30 minutes or less.

The most important thing is to continue innovating and keeping pace with the customers’ changing lifestyles. Attracting and retaining loyalty of this segment is not easy, but if you can become their preferred partner, the rewards are high. They are highly driven by peer endorsements, very active and vocal on social media and fierce advocates of the brands the prefer.