Tech start-ups changing the rules of the game

Tech start-ups changing the rules of the game

Technology is redefining the way the travel and hospitality industry has been operating traditionally, and in this game, technology start-ups are emerging as game-changers. In recent years, travel and hospitality industry of the country has seen many technology-based start-ups coming up with innovative services and scripting their success stories. Most of these successful start-ups are founded and led by tech-savvy young entrepreneurs. These companies are bringing efficiency in the system, easing the process and saving cost and time for both service providers as well as consumers. Automation is replacing manual and archaic techniques. TnH speaks to some of the founders of such start-ups to know their vision and success mantra.

‘Genuine ideas will always have takers- believe in your idea, have a long-term play’

OYO Rooms was founded to offer a standardized experience (something which was lacking in the budget category segment) to guests at affordable prices. Ritesh Agarwal, CEO and Founder, OYO Rooms believes that technology can play a crucial role in providing this standardized experience seamlessly. “Technology is at the center of the relationship that we maintain with our hotel partners and our customers – bringing in operational efficiencies in our everyday interactions with our hotel partners as well as redefining the way the customer interacts with the brand,” said Agarwal. A few examples on how OYO Rooms does this include – a new-age app which enables quick room booking as well as ordering room service at the snap of your fingers; tablets at properties which sync with centralized reservation system; feedback collection and redressal mechanisms of customer grievances and applications to monitor operations/audit the properties.

Shed light on his long-term vision, Agarwal said, “We have identified a problem and we are striving hard to address it. There’s still a long way to go before we achieve everything we have set as goals for ourselves. The growth we have seen (1 hotel in 2013 to more than 750 hotels today) till date can be attributed to three factors: our awesome hotel partners and customers who have consistently placed their faith in us, our dedicated work force and our assetlight business model (along with streamlined processes) which helps us scale rapidly.”

Agarwal informed that OYO Rooms aims to be present in 50 cities in India with 2500 hotels and 16,000rooms by the end of this year.

According to Agarwal, traditionally, consumers have been slow to accept new products and technologies. “I remember the OTAs having a tough time when they started off around 15 years ago. Moreover, travel used to be a well thought out and much pre-planned affair. But this is changing rapidly,” said Agrawal, adding, “You see a lot of innovation in this space today – trip planners, aggregators, standardized stay providers like ourselves etc. Also travel is becoming more impulse driven and last minute. People are looking for complete, affordable and quality travel solutions. The start-ups in the travel/hospitality space have given birth to cater to this demand.”

Agarwal believes that “a genuine idea will always have takers – believe in your idea, have a long-term play and be super confident in your pitches to investors. “Our approach to investors included four components – showcasing a massive problem in the hospitality sector, our unique approach to solve this, integration of technology and our growth vision,” said Agarwal. “The very fact that this business model was distinctive and highly scalable helped us garner investors.”

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