OYO adds 1,200 UK rooms as indie hoteliers seek new means of support

Tech-enabled hospitality company OYO Hotels & Homes has continued to sign new hotel partners across the UK throughout lockdown and beyond, with an additional 1,200+ rooms being added to the company’s UK portfolio since the start of April 2020.

More than 1,000 of these rooms are already live and available to book via OYO’s official website and app, with further rooms set to be added in the coming weeks.

Now in its second year in the UK, OYO has modified its value proposition for new partners in response to the current pandemic, concentrating on the services that matter most to hoteliers, offering simplified and flexible deal structures and lowering fees to take into account the current challenges in the market.

Paul McManus, Head of Supply at OYO UK & Europe, said, “Now more than ever, independent hotel owners are looking for ways to reduce their fixed costs whilst maintaining consistent levels of customer service and experience.

“Many of the developments that OYO has made to its proposition have come about as a result of partner feedback and we are now offering what we feel is a far more effective and attractive partnership during an undeniably testing time.”

OYO partners with independently-owned, small and mid-sized hotels to provide services including technology, revenue management, customer service and brand. Taking responsibility for these areas eases the pressure on many hotel owners who are currently operating on limited resources, including leaner staff bases.

Over the past six months, OYO has used its proprietary technology to onboard new partners using remote means to manage processes including property audits, business projections, contract signings and automated payments.

New revenue management technology has been developed to give hoteliers more control on pricing, whilst new self-help features on OYO’s owner app ensure owners have access to 24/7 support in addition to the in-person support they already receive from OYO team members.

Securing new demand
In addition to attracting back leisure and business guests through competitive pricing and enhanced hygiene measures since the hospitality sector re-opened in July, OYO was able to maintain occupancy at a number of its hotels throughout the spring lockdown by keeping them open for key workers and others in need of interim accommodation.

For many of the hotels that decided to partner with OYO during the lockdown period, this source of demand was key to their decision. Since the start of April, OYO’s partnership team has secured more than 200,000 booked room nights at its UK hotels for key workers in fields such as healthcare, oil and gas, logistics, manufacturing and construction.

In addition, OYO struck deals with local authorities, government departments and charities to provide accommodation for vulnerable individuals including homeless guests and asylum seekers.

Hotels that partnered with OYO during lockdown and received immediate occupancy for government-approved purposes included OYO Albert View in Manchester; OYO Maggie Jones Guest House in Cardiff; and OYO Marine Parade Hotel in Eastbourne.

Other hotels that have recently agreed partnerships with OYO include OYO Hampton Court Hotel, a nine room property near the historic palace in Surrey; OYO White Horse Hotel in Storrington, a traditional coaching inn on the edge of the South Downs; OYO Cedar Villa Guest House, a guesthouse in Inverness, the jumping off point for the popular North Coast 500 route; and OYO The Townhouse in Durham, which features individually themed rooms including some with private hot tubs.

In the six months from 1st April to 30th September 2020, OYO enabled hotels to maintain some level of revenue and remain operational, with an average occupancy rate of 53% across open rooms within the UK portfolio.

Ginni Singh took on his first hotel in February 2020 and operated it for just a few weeks before it closed due to lockdown. He used the lockdown period to begin some major refurbishments and decided to partner with OYO when his hotel, OYO Tamworth Arms, reopened this summer. “I started out offering fixed prices for our rooms and using paper-based systems to keep track of guest and booking information,” Singh explained. “Since partnering with OYO, I’ve found their tech-based system far more efficient; and moving to a dynamic pricing model has allowed us to price in accordance with market trends and get more people in. OYO also gave me advice on how to operate in a Covid-safe manner which gives my guests valuable peace of mind.”