South Asia’s leading online budget hotel booking platform, OYO, has acquired AblePlus, a Mumbai-based Internet of Things (IoT) firm, the company announced on Tuesday.
The deal will boost OYO’s vision to bring about a technology-based transformation of the hospitality sector in the region.
Confirming the development, Anil Goel, OYO chief technology officer, said, “We are delighted to announce our acquisition of AblePlus towards pioneering the application of IoT in Indian and global hospitality segment...”
“With the introduction of IoT into the basic precincts of hotel management, we aim to enhance customer and partner experiences by roping in the best of technology capabilities that are changing how India sees hospitality today,” he added while welcoming AblePlus founders Akash Goel and Bonish Gandhi onboard.
“Through partnerships like this, we envision a smooth road ahead for building the world’s largest technology-enabled hospitality brand,” Goel added.
The deal amount, however, remains undisclosed.
The India-based hotel aggregator, which was founded in 2013 by 23-year-old Ritesh Agarwal, has been trying to ramp up its services using technology-enabled solutions.
In 2017 the company became the first to introduce a digital arrival and departure register which has since been adopted by the state governments of Haryana and Rajasthan.
In addition, OYO also makes use of machine learning (ML)-based algorithms to personalize the user journey. With each repeat usage of OYO’s offerings, via mobile app or desktop website, the platform acquires intelligence which helps it anticipate a user’s perceived needs better.
Of late the company has also started experimenting with gamification, where users are asked simple questions aimed at increasing the overall awareness about new hotels and destinations on its site and app that others can explore.
With the introduction of IoT-based operations, its services are expected to take a quantum leap, providing users with exciting facilities such as self-check-ins supported by a digital arrival and departure register, self KYC with Aadhar and IoT server-managed smart locks.
These new tech-based services are also expected to ensure better tracking of assets across properties and reduction in wastage of electricity.
Revealing details, Goel further said, “Through increased technology intervention that enables the remote monitoring and management of rooms across properties, we will be able to achieve improved operational efficiency, thus creating a superior stakeholder experience.”
“As one of the first start-ups that is an early adopter of IoT-powered technologies, we look forward to delivering new, advanced applications for key vertical markets that will offer elevated customer experience. This will take OYO a step closer to consolidating its vision of creating beautiful living spaces across India,” he said.
The company is also planning to implement a comprehensive guest entertainment programme that will include fitness, gaming and augmented experiences.
The company also plans to launch several other integrated technology solutions including enhancing its OYO Asset Management to make it easier to partner with it.
Strengthening its international presence, last month OYO had announced its foray into China. Currently, OYO Hotels operates in more than 160 cities across India, Malaysia, Nepal, and China.
With over 5,000 exclusive hotels in its chain and 100,000 rooms, OYO works closely with its asset partners while exercising full control over the hotels.
Backed by leading investors, including the SoftBank Group, Greenoak Capital, Sequoia India, Lightspeed India, Hero Enterprise and China Lodging Group, the company launched the OYO Total Holidays package in 2016 which provides a one-stop travel solution, including hotels, domestic and international tourism facilities, sightseeing, guided tours, catering, air tickets and visas.
In the years to come, OYO hopes to introduce voice-based assistance inside hotel rooms and enabling automation of appliance controls besides rolling out other services.