“A Brand can make or break the business. It is more than a name, a logo or a slogan!”
Over the years, the market around us and the brands in it have evolved rapidly. To a point where we are served with a variety of Brands on our plate that it gets difficult to choose from unless you are on a ‘Brand Conscious Diet!’ That being on a lighter note, there are Brands which make it to the top, also, are the powerful market players. In the end, Consumer is the King. When the brand serves what is the need of the hour, what do they get? The Right Consumer. Period.
Trusting the unknown and uncertain is the underlying seed of Marketing. Taking a leap of faith, OYO Rooms have entered the established Industry - Hospitality. To be precise, the Hotel Industry. However, they entered in a territory which hit the right note of the Middle class audience, the Working Professionals, the Couples, Students, and the passionate Travellers who are constantly worried about one aspect- the Budget! OYO, a visionary in the category of Budget hotels created a niche market for themselves with their right Segmentation-Targeting and Positioning.
OYO Rooms, which has become a synonym to the statement like, "Hotel book kiya kya?" is India's largest hospitality brand of budget hotels. Initially, two of their commercials, ‘Aur kya chahiye?’ rightly communicated the Pressing Needs of the consumer in one go - a hotel which was priced in the Budget, also, provided standardized amenities. Later on, their campaign for #OneForEveryone spread a clear message of wanting to change the way people stay away from their home by providing high-quality standard rooms at affordable prices. The communication conveyed the Brand Benefits of Functional and Emotional promise through the Consumer Insight i.e. whenever, a consumer visits a hotel with standardized amenities, they want to relish their child-like moments and feel like home but are conscious about their presence at that hotel as they fear being judged for their actions if they be themselves and they would want to come across as a person with good manners. Also, a consumer wants to experience a comfortable hotel stay at Prime locations like Hospitals but feels burdened by the high prices of a hotel with good amenities when they already have hospital bills to clear. Here, they smartly captured the underlying Tension of the consumer who is worried about the high prices of the expensive hotels.
The pace at which they penetrated into the Indian Market resulted in Line Extensions such as OYO Flagship- hotels at Prime Locations, OYO Premium- hotels at Prime location and premium amenities, OYO Townhouse- premium hotels for Millennial traveller, OYO SilverKey – Executive apartments for Business Travellers which are centrally located around corporate hubs with standard amenities etc. Exploring a Product looks easy but exploring a Service always has its grey areas. As OYO Rooms dived deep exploring the niche category, amazingly every step got interesting as a Brand and the service it provided which sowed a seed of curiosity to explore more of it.
As they say, what’s the fun without a competition, Hotel Industry as a business has its own market for competition. OYO Rooms too has its Core competitors like Treebo Hotels which provide quality stay at affordable prices and FabHotels which provide relaxing and refreshing experience for Millennial Business Travellers. The other hotel aggregators like MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip, Yatra.com, Goibibo, Trivago, Expedia also pose a potential threat. The Brand Opportunity OYO Rooms was going after was to grow the category of Budget hotel brand by catering to different segments i.e. OYOWE for female guests, OYO Premium with luxury rooms etc. Also, by adding over a million rooms globally (India, China, Nepal, Malaysia, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and the U.K)
Though OYO Rooms were pioneers in chain of Budget Hotels, they had their Challenges to deal with. To comprehend the Triggers and Barriers of the category, analyse the mind-set and behaviour of the Target Consumer. The trigger of the category was the desire to experience a comfortable and budgeted stay at a hotel with standardized amenities. As mentioned earlier, the trigger for OYO Rooms was the consumer’s need to relish quirky moments and feel like home at an affordable price, when away from home. Result of which the Communication Challenge they faced was to let the target consumers be themselves and have an affordable hotel stay at OYO Rooms with standardized amenities. In another communication, it was to persuade the target consumers that OYO Rooms offer a convenient hotel stay at prime locations with affordable prices.
OYO Rooms have been doing amazing so far by creating wonderful memories of travel with comfortable booking of an OYO Room at an affordable price. However, they can ace the brand narrative by addressing another Human Truth and the Tension any traveller feels when they first arrive at their destination. That is, the commute to the hotel!
Imagine, you booked an OYO Room at this beautiful location and you reach the place by Train or a Flight. How to do commute to the hotel? Simple, any traveller either books a cab or takes a local transport to their hotel. Now, is that easy as said? Certainly not! The scenario for any traveller is either pay whatever is asked by the local transport they choose or simply book a cab. The truth about booking a cab comes at a cost. As it’s a new place, availability, prices, waiting time are the concerns to be considered. While OYO has been working hard at providing a home like experience when away from home, they could just add a topping on the cake by Premiumizing its service. Ask how? Straight, either through its Line Extension of OYO Premium+ with an additional Car service called OYOCars for which the brand could charge an extra premium (i.e. a basic additional charge) from the consumer. OYOCars could be a premium service provided from the pick-up location (airport, railway station, bus stop) to the OYO Room they have booked. Also, from the OYO Rooms to their respective drop location. The ways in which they could increase the Value Perception of this offering would be many. To name a few, by showing the consumers the functional and emotional benefits they are getting of OYOCar by booking an OYO Premium+ or by showing them the balance between the benefits and the price i.e. how much disproportionately more they are getting by paying a certain extra price.
The Brand could be Re-positioned by having an all new extension of a new service of OYOCars. This would incubate the penetration and growth of the Brand into new spaces and would transform the way people experience travel by providing convenient and comfortable OYOCar service to and from OYO Rooms. Any traveller would want to experience a pleasurable travel to and from the hotel with assured transport, wants to relax at the hotel by reaching soon and not wait for longer duration for the cabs to arrive, also, wanting to experience a budget travel and not be worried about the high prices of the cabs. Hence, OYO Rooms could help consumers experience a delightful travel not only at OYO Rooms but also from the time they arrive in town by booking an OYOCar i.e. OYO Premium+ for hassle-free conveyance to and from an OYO Room at an affordable price.