Ruptub Solutions, a three-year-old start-up that owns and operates the Treebo chain of budget hotels, is revamping its brand identity as part of a strategy to expand the scope of its operations and diversify into travel-related services.
As part of the move, it has segregated its entire portfolio into three sub-brands – Trip, Trend, and Tryst and made Treebo a parent umbrella brand. The sub-brands will correspond to different levels of amenities offered by different properties.
The strategy will help Treebo - with close to 10,000 rooms listed on its platform - drive more business from corporates and improve the overall experience rating, said Siddhartha Gupta, co-founder and chief executive at Treebo.
“The core reason behind doing this is to forge a better, deeper relationship with customers to give them more transparency on what they can expect when they check into a Treebo property,” Gupta told Business Standard. While it is common for five-star hotel chains to have sub-brands catering to varied budgets, it’s the first for a budget hotel chain to segregate properties and create sub-brands. Treebo has embarked on a revamping strategy amid increasing competition from the bigger rival OYO that has over 100,000 rooms listed on its platform and is now the most valuable firm after Paytm.
The app-based hotel aggregator business is being fuelled by the proliferation of technology in India. Indians are increasingly using technology to plan their trips and navigate their destinations – 97 per cent of travellers used technology for this purpose in 2017, the highest compared in the region, and globally, VISA said in a Global Travel Intention report earlier this year.
The brand revamp, pointed out Gupta, is in line with Treebo’s plan of diversifying into travel-related services. In May this year, Treebo acquired Bengaluru-based travel start-up Events High, which operated an online discovery platform for local events and activities. Founded in 2014 by Abhishek Shrivastava, Arvind Batra, Nikesh Garera, and Parag Sarda, Events High now operates independently under Treebo.
With a presence in eight cities, it enables users to discover and book curated experiences and events, including trekking and camping, plays, concerts, group activities, and meet-ups, among others. “We wanted to use the capabilities we have developed as a hotel chain, to get into travel related services, and solve issues related to experiences one faces as a traveller,” said Gupta.
Meanwhile, depending on the amenities, room rent of each of the three brands will vary. While properties under the Trip brand will come at an entary price of Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500, Trend will come between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,500. The Tryst that will command a premium of Rs 2,500 to Rs 4,000 per night will have amenities like buffet breakfast, larger rooms and lobby, parking and a separate shower cubicle.
Presently, Treebo offers premium rooms under the Select brand. The properties under the brand after the revamp will move to the Tryst brand.
With this exercise, Treebo hopes to double the share of premium rooms in its overall revenue to 10 per cent and drive margins, said Gupta.
With the launch of the sub-brands, Treebo also hopes to boost its so-called online experience rating, from the current 7.6 upon 10 to 8 upon 10. Gupta claimed his firms’ rating is already higher than app-based budget hotel aggregators such as OYO and Fab Homes, but also traditional budget hotels, including Sarovar, Ginger, and ibis. The higher ratings, pointed out Gupta, will boost business by 15-20 per cent from corporates, who are frequent users of Treebo-branded properties and account for a third in the company’s total revenues. It will help them select the requisite properties for different grades of employees, said Gupta.
Touching upon the homestay business, a segment Treebo has recently forayed into, Gupta said the company has got an encouraging response, with 70-80 homes listed on its platform currently and it will scale it up further.