The COVID-19 pandemic has created fundamental shifts in consumer behaviour especially related to travel and hospitality. Higher hygiene standards, minimal contact service and enhanced credibility top the list of consumer requirements while planning travel after the lockdown. OYO, one of the world’s leading hotel chains, is taking several measures and initiatives to minimize the impact as well as innovate to meet the new standards of good quality travel and hospitality experience and operate around circumstances that we now call the ‘new normal’.
These include customer, asset partners and employee-centric initiatives to identify challenges and operate in the post-lockdown hospitality sector. In the first phase, OYO plans to implement these measures in 1000 hotels within the next 10 days and as the lockdown relaxes, aims to implement the measures in all 18,000 hotels in the country.
Several property-level actions will be taken to ensure customer and hotel employees’ safety. OYO also understands that there will be drastic changes in customer needs in a post-lockdown world. Therefore, to operate in the given circumstances, OYO has devised measures to manage and deliver on customer expectations.
Sanitised Stays with minimal touch
Check-in & check-out: To ensure social distancing, OYO is in the process of revamping guest check-in & check-out to a minimal touch process. The hotel chain is in the process of acquiring the required approvals for guests to upload their IDs, use a QR code etc. to complete their formalities at the hotel
Minimal contact service: To ensure social distancing at all customer-facing touchpoints, OYO will introduce minimal contact room service and will train the housekeeping staff on the same
Sanitised Stays Tag: All OYO properties listed on the platform will display the level of sanitisation on the booking page. Hotels will go through regular background audit checks for sanitisation, hygiene, and protective equipment. Out of these, properties that have cleared the background check will display the ‘Sanitised Stays’ tag on the booking page. Furthermore, a guest audit will be conducted on the properties regularly to ensure that feedback, reviews, and recommendations are taken into consideration to ensure continuity of the ‘Sanitised Stays’ tag
Training of on-ground teams: The new training module will incorporate SOPs on the changed operating procedures across functions like:
Health screening for guests as well as staff
Proper sanitisation of the space frequently with the placement of hand sanitisers at the reception and the increased need to wear safety gear at all times
Encourage in-room dining
Distance marker signs painted on floors to highlight the correct physical distance people must maintain in order to social distance correctly
Guests will be requested to handle their own luggage as far as possible (unless the guest is a senior citizen or has a physical impediment)
Policies for dealing with outside suppliers and contractors complying with health advisories and government regulations
Property management to oversee the property’s housekeeping practices
COVID-19 related helpline numbers and awareness material will be displayed at the reception and all prominent places along with emergency contact numbers and details of the nearest hospitals
OYO will also continue to communicate regularly at all stages of customer interaction, on the do’s & don'ts via the app, email confirmation, WhatsApp message / SMS confirmation
OYO is also educating asset partners and creating awareness on post-lockdown initiatives via detailed written/visual instructions and emails on precautions for COVID-19
Commenting on OYO’s preparedness for the post-lockdown world, Rohit Kapoor, CEO, OYO India & South Asia said, “Customer behaviour is seeing changes across the hospitality industry with hygiene, safety standards and minimal-touch SOPs soon to become the norm. As a responsible hospitality chain, we at OYO, are working towards welcoming guests, post-lockdown and maintaining health, hygiene & well-being as our topmost prioritites for all our stakeholders including our guests, partners & OYOpreneurs. Given the situation, our teams across the length and breadth of the organization are innovating new ways to ensure safety and hygiene to welcome all our guests. We would like to specially thank our asset owners who have joined forces with us to boost sanitised stays across properties to welcome our guests.”
Shreerang Godbole, Vice President, Global Operations and Customer Experience - OYO Hotels & Homes added, “We are in the process of implementing minimal-touch SOPs for services while focussing on creating awareness through clear and transparent communication, during times like these. We are leveraging our technology toolkit to reach out to our large network of asset partners to conduct training programs and enhance their preparedness. Furthermore, in the next couple of days, we are set to display a ‘Sanitised Stays’ tag for properties that clear background audit checks for sanitisation, hygiene, and protective equipment. We are also in the process of building a crowd-sourced capability to capture consumer feedback. With such proactive preventive measures, we hope to not only provide safe and secure accommodation for every guest when they are ready to travel again but also offer a stress-free and pleasant atmosphere.”
OYO has also set-up a COVID-19 War Room to monitor and take immediate action on cases that require faster resolution and implementation during the crisis. OYO’s platform has also enabled Corona Concierge to offer assistance to guests, hotel partners, and employees across the globe on all COVID-19 related issues and queries.