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SoftBank-backed OYO adds revenue stream with paid membership programme

SoftBank-backed OYO adds revenue stream with paid membership programme
Shah Junaid/VCCircle

OYO on Wednesday announced the launch of a paid membership programme in a bid to boost revenues as the Ritesh Agarwal-led firm continues its rapid expansion.

According to a company statement, OYO Wizard will reward frequent customers with the best prices for highly-rated and curated hotels.

The programme, which offers benefits such as guaranteed discounts and upgrades, is currently available at an early-bird membership fee of Rs 99.

Members will get a 5% instant discount on current bookings and instant rewards in the form of OYO money.

These benefits are available across OYO’s offerings including OYO Rooms, OYO Townhouse, OYO Home, SilverKey, Capital O and Edition, the statement added.

“With 95% of our revenue coming from repeat and organic customers, we knew it was time to give back.” said Maninder Gulati, chief of strategy at OYO.

With its new offering, OYO will look to replicate the success of membership programmes launched by other internet companies such as Amazon (Prime), Zomato (Gold) and MakeMyTrip (Black and Double Black) as Indians warm up to the idea of paying for subscriptions.

Backed by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, OYO is currently operational in more than 160 cities across India, China, Malaysia and Nepal.

Operated by Gurgaon-headquartered Oravel Stays Pvt. Ltd, the startup initially aggregated hotel rooms under the OYO brand and blocked a few rooms in partner hotels. Under this model, OYO had around 70,000 rooms under its umbrella in just three years. In India, OYO has a hotel chain comprising more than 100,000 exclusive rooms.

OYO has been on an acquisition spree of late, snapping up three startups in six months — online marketplace Weddingz.in, Internet of Things (IoT) technology company AblePlus Solutions Pvt. Ltd and service apartment company Novascotia Boutique Homes.

Multiple media reports in the recent past have suggested that OYO is close to raising a fresh funding round that would value the firm at more than $2 billion and make it one of the country’s most valuable startups.

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