Budget hotel marketplace OYO Rooms recently launched its first television campaign in an attempt to reach out to potential consumers in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. Launched two years ago, OYO Rooms is now present in 118 cities across the country. The earlier communication by the brand was restricted to digital, through short films. Its campaigns such as Jai Hind and Father's Day Celebration has fetched it over 1 million views on YouTube. This is the first time the company is launching a television campaign, as increasing competition stare in the face. OYO Rooms remains the front runner in the budget hotel aggregator segment, though new players such as Zip Rooms, Treebo, Zostel, FabHotels and Zen Rooms among others are nipping at its heels.
Abhinav Sinha, chief operating officer, OYO Rooms, says, "We have reached a stage where we are present in more than 118 cities and have 3,200 hotels on board. So we felt it was important to communicate to a larger set of audience about our value proposition. We decided the medium has to be TV. Television has a reach that goes beyond digital in India at this point in time. It also helps a brand stand out like no other medium."
Consumers face the problem of predictability and accessibility when it comes to budget hotels, says Sinha, adding, "We are solving the problem of lack of predictability of experiences across budget hotels."
The commercials highlight this idea with a dose of humour. Conceptualised by BoringBrands, the television campaign consists of two spots that portray situations in which an OYO room emerges as the best possible solution.
The first TVC depicts a young man who has no place to sleep in his own house after a party and the second campaign shows an ailing man who needs to be taken to an expensive city for treatment. In both the situations, the message is conveyed in a humourous way, highlighting an OYO Room's ease of booking and the availability of standard amenities.
Anshul Sushil, CEO & co-founder, BoringBrands, said, "The idea is to keep the communication simple and grounded. We wanted the campaign to connect with consumers emotionally. An OYO is not a hotel, it is a set of standardised services offered to consumers. So through the TVCs, we wanted to communicate to people and highlight the various use cases. We took the humour route because it sells well and people connect with it easily."
"The tagline '#AurKyaChahiye' encapsulates the notion that OYO Rooms provides users with everything they need for a comfortable stay," adds Sushil. It is a three week campaign and is shown on general entertainment (English and Hindi) channels, sports and news channels. The digital leg of the campaign is being run on YouTube, Twitter, Instagarm and Facebook. "YouTube and Facebook are the most dominant platforms so far," says Sushil.
According to industry estimates the cost of the campaign is around Rs 15 to Rs 20 crore.
The OYO Rooms business model is based on the premise of delivering highly predictable experience in the budget hotels pace. It has a 90-point checklist, which has to be followed by every hotel on its platform.
"The hotels have to incur a cost to standardise the property and bring it up to the OYO mark. Only after that they become eligible to be part of our platform. The deal with the owners is that we drive business to them through our strong marketing channels and take a cut at the topline. Our share is in the range of 25 to 30 per cent, depending on the stage of the business and evolution of the CRM," says Sinha.
Currently around 3,200 hotels are present on the OYO platform.
OYO Rooms has a dynamic, analytics-driven platform. "Our reconciliation platform is seamless. We price properties dynamically depending on the location and quality of the property. We use analytics for forecasting demand and accordingly open and close inventory for the owner. This ability creates value in the ecosystem," says Sinha.
However, the budget hotel space is still very fragmented. And there are properties ranging from 10 rooms to 200 rooms. Standardising different types of properties in myriad locations remains a challenge. "Our approach is about solving problems using technology. Four months back we launched a property management system that offers an end-to-end property management solution on a tablet. We provide each hotel this tablet to manage their inventory and services," says Sinha.
But this requires training of the hotel staff. "The hotel owners are tech savvy but people who are running these properties, such as the front desk managers, needs training. We train them and also design training programmes, which can delivered on an android app," says Sinha.
OYO Rooms has recently launched OYO WE, a chain of hotels exclusively for women travellers in Tier-I cities. These properties are run by all-woman staff.