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‘IT powered OYO to 2nd place in China in 18 months’

OYO Hotels and Homes is tapping into technology solutions as it rapidly expands into new markets. It is using Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Internet of Things to power its business. Pilot projects are on to integrate these into its products and services.

And, the hospitality start-up has developed its own IT solutions in-house.

Talking to Anil Goel, Chief Technology Officer at OYO Hotels and Homes, it would be easy to assume he is talking about an IT company.

“Unlike most of our peers, we have developed our own IT solutions to power the hospitality business. Most in the field use third-party IT solutions,” Aniltold BusinessLine.

He heads a team of 1,000 engineers out of OYO’s total base of 17,000 employees.

Recently, the start-up emerged as the second-largest hospitality player in China – one of the toughest markets for foreign companies.

“Technology helped us achieve this mark. Our solutions help us acquire rooms in just 30 days after we enter a new country. In China, we became the second largest with a network of 4,50,000 rooms – all in 18 months,” he said.

Using data that it generates from user preferences, demand, inventory and other parameters, the technology back-end does 60 million micro-optimisations in a day on the website.

Six years since its inception, the startup has 7,00,000 rooms in 800 cities and claims to be the largest chain in South Asia, second largest in China and sixth largest in the world.

Local resources

The firm entered the China market in November 2017 and relied on local human resources to understand the market nuances.

“We have 350 engineers operating in China, hired locally. We are operating like a local company there,” he said.

“There are some specific user preferences. For example, they expect all the information that they need on the home page. Most of the traffic for players like us come on a mini App within WeChat,” he said.

Anil added, “We are adding 64,000 rooms every month and 4.50 lakh guests staying with us every night.” In order to improve guest experience and cut costs, OYO is working on solutions deploying AI and IoT.

Intellectual property

Anil said that it is always a question of having patents and maintaining secrecy. “For now, we would like to hold it with us. A number of them are under consideration (for claiming IP). We might consider offering the solutions to other players in the sector,” he said.

Source: The Hindu