OYO to launch Hospitality 2.0 in GCC market to meet the 'new normal'

The initiative is aimed at offering greater peace of mind to guests and ensuring standardisation in sanitisation procedures

The features will include use of voice and intercoms for room service orders and sensor-based remote diagnosis and maintenance of all critical room equipment, such as air-conditioners, TVs and bathroom fixtures.

OYO Hotels & Rooms is set to launch Hospitality 2.0 in the GCC market to transition its facilities to the Covid-induced ‘new normal’ in the industry, which will see the global hospitality firm unveiling a host of technology and human-driven safety features to promote ‘sanitised stays’.

The key changes under the new initiative will include setting up of ‘airline-style kiosks’ for minimal contact check-in and check-out processes, hyper-emphasis on sanitisation across functions and a new portfolio of value-added services, a senior executive of the company said.

“At the end of the day, while each travel market and individual government does what it feels is best to keep its people safe and its economy running, the hospitality industry too must actively work on defining Hospitality 2.0 in the new normal,” Manu Midha, head of OYO’s Middle East operations, told Arabian Business.

“For OYO, we believe that technology combined with human commitment is the key in making all of this possible.”

Midha said the company is currently in the process of working with its partners in the UAE and Saudi Arabia for faster implementation of the new initiative to prepare its properties ‘sanitised stay-ready’ to meet the expected rise in demand in the coming months.

“We are seeing pent-up demand from travellers fuelling travel demand around the region in the next few months, as more countries lift domestic and international travel restrictions,” Midha said.

New features

OYO’s proposed automated, contactless check-in, check-out facilities will feature machines verifying guest’s identification before assigning a room number and dispensing a room keycard, which could be a disposable paper card with a barcode for unlocking the room.

As for robotisation of guest services, the features will include use of voice and intercoms for room service orders and sensor-based remote diagnosis and maintenance of all critical room equipment, such as air-conditioners, TVs and bathroom fixtures.

“Sanitised stays will be the new norm whereby they are offered as a premium hotel feature,” Midha said.

“The measures for this could include intensive screening of guests during check-in, the duration of the stay and check-out, disinfecting luggage and supplies delivered to the hotel, training staff on Covid-19 awareness and management, mandatory use of PPE by all hotel staff, monitoring of social distancing practices, strong SOPs around F&B, laundry and usage of guest facilities and limiting visits by non-residents,” Midha said.

The OYO executive said the proposed new portfolio of value-added services will include hotels offering hygiene packs of masks and hand sanitiser, transportation options where all vehicles are thoroughly sanitised between passengers or even a hotline to arrange for Covid-19 testing for concerned travellers.

“The Hospitality 2.0 initiative is aimed at offering greater peace of mind to guests at OYO hotels and ensuring standardisation in sanitisation procedures,” Midha said.

He said OYO also launched the ‘OYO Sanitised Stays Certification Programme’ for its accredited hotel partners to ensure adherence to all health and safety guidelines in each market.

OYO, which entered the UAE market in October 2018, has achieved a footprint of 4,461 keys in 310 hotels and homes by the end of last year.

The SoftBank-backed Indian start-up unicorn is currently present in about 800 cities in various countries.

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