Doubling down its focus on technology ahead of its IPO, SoftBank-backed Oyo is piloting a self sign-up service that will allow hotels to list properties on the platform in just 30 minutes, according to sources privy to the development.
The move is expected to shore up the number of hotels on the platform which saw a massive decline because of the pandemic.
Any hotel owner can just open the website, select from the options of home, hotel or life, a category Oyo has built for long-term stays. The person will be shown the estimated revenue it can earn by joining Oyo, based on local competition and demand patterns including the location of the property, according to one of the sources quoted above.
Oyo will likely charge a base rate of around 20 percent, besides service fee and GST, among other costs. It will also take control of 100 percent of room inventory at the property and the pricing of the rooms.
Once the owner joins in, all the details of the hotel including photographs and location will be synced on Oyo from the publicly available information of the property, including other online travel agencies.
But the biggest question is how will the company control the quality of inventory being onboarded, something for which it had to face huge criticism in the past.
According to one of the sources mentioned above, while the hotels will go live in 30 minutes, Oyo will take about 14 days to put up its signages and branding on the property. During this time, it will do all the due diligence required.
It will also focus on user-generated audit forms, which will be triggered to all the customers within 60 minutes of check-in. The responses will be used to make necessary changes to the properties.
Oyo offers its hotel partners revenue management suite, data analytics services and demand generation, among other things.
The company has increased its investment in technology, including human resources by over 60 percent in the last two-three years, said the source quoted above.
Last year, Moneycontrol had reported that the company had offered its technology team increments and promotions after the first wave of the pandemic, besides full variable for the period of July 2019-June 2020.
This month, it also announced plans to hire over 300 technology professionals including software development, engineering, product managers, designers, data scientists across entry-level to senior leadership roles.
The expanded design, product and engineering teams will be responsible to build long-term capabilities for Oyo from scratch and update the current tech stack.
The development comes soon after the company signed up global IT leader Microsoft as a strategic investor. Microsoft has invested $5 million at a valuation of $9 billion.
Moneycontrol had reported about this deal in July.
Oyo claims to be having a base of 170,000 small hotels and homes who work with them across the globe. A lot of the hotels it works with are less than 75 rooms in size with most of the properties being in the budget and economy domain.
While the company doesn't give an India specific number, in a recent interaction with Moneycontrol founder Ritesh Agarwal said that the growth of the company was driven by getting new hotels and homes. "The more supply we get, the more consumers choose us over a period of time," he said.
The company is gearing up for an initial public offering and its audit committee and board has asked it to be ready for the public market event by the end of this year.
Oyo did not respond to queries for this story.