There was a time when OYO rooms were the standard bearers on the budget hotel rooms industry.
Every time I booked a place, OYO rooms was at the top of my priority list. I have been to Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Aizwal and Guwahati and I searched for OYO room to stay. Not anymore!
The last time (which is around 6 months ago from the time of this writing) I booked an OYO room in Hyderabad, I was filled with disgust after inspecting the room. It was in Anand Nagar area of Hyderabad.
The manager could not explain the directions of the Hotel properly. Then there was this language barrier which I could not overcome easily.
On inspecting the bathroom I wanted to puke. The condition was a mess. Cockroaches were roaming around and the geyser was not working. The room smelled badly and there were electrical wires cut which hanged out openly.
I somehow managed to stay the night and on checking out the next day the manager kept insisting that I give a good review!
Not only that, after that incident the other 3 – 4 OYO rooms that I checked out were more or less in the similar mold.
What is going on OYO?
I think the problem is fast expansion. They are including rooms fast without the due diligence needed. Any room can get in, it just needs to be in a proper location. In some cases that criteria is also waived to show the growing numbers.
The inevitable fallout is the standards. They have now rooms that do not stick to any standard at all. Customers are suffering and slowing looking for alternative. I know because I was once a customer myself!
OYO should halt their plans of expansion now and focus on raising or maintaining standards. The main issue here is the room owner. They should interview the guy /gal properly before they allot placement.
There are behavioral issues with people who fail to maintain standards and it is easy to evaluate such people with trick questions or psychological tests.
OYO should verify the owner with such rigorous methods first and then allocate.
Second, they must form a team of inspectors for sudden visit of property. There should be huge penalty or spot cancellation of license for non- adherence to guidelines.
Third, they must make sure that the owner has the required team to carry out the tasks associated with being a member of the OYO family. The team members of the hotel must be inspected too to make sure that hygiene and cleanliness rules are maintained.
Fourth, training the owner and the staff is super important. To be part of a growing family, they must follow a strict set of rules and for that they need to be trained first. There should be no room for cutting short this training period. If the staff does not get it, then re-peat the training.
Fifthly, and I am not sure if it done or not internally, there must be a mechanism to input the customer grievances midway through the stay. This will help to see the problems in real time and contact the manager or staff to correct the mistake.
OYO is a big chain the CEO is quite competent. But then allowing these mistakes to continue will allow other competition to eat his lunch. These are just basic mistake which can be corrected with appropriate measures. After all who does not want to save money that OYO allowed us to do when travelling!