OYO plans big focus on serviced apartments for corporate clients

SoftBank backed budget hospitality firm OYO has set its eyes on the relatively untapped segment of serviced apartments. The company has branded its service apartments as OYO SilverKey, aimed to cater to corporate clients.  

The move follows the acquisition of Novascotia Boutique Homes, a Chennai-based service apartment company, by OYO last month. Novascotia's 350 furnished accommodations that have now become a part of OYO are being rebranded as SilverKey. These 350 apartments are spread across 14 properties in five cities including Chennai and Hyderabad.  

Ritesh Agarwal, founder & CEO at OYO, said it has a large and growing base of corporate clients that use different segments of OYO properties. "A large number of these guests have a project related longer period of stays. While the old school box type hotels are good for short stays, those coming for longer stays look for comfort of a home and lot of common area”, he said. OYO counts RIL, ITC, Godrej, Dabur, E&Y and PwC among others in its list of 5,000 plus corporate clients who use OYO B (its corporate booking solution) to book OYO rooms.

Agarwal said SilverKey will look more like a home than like a room in a hotel. There will be a cluster of 30-40 one BHK serviced apartments in one building, located in a peaceful residential area but not very far from corporate offices. “There will be library, TV room (besides the TV in the apartment) and gym besides other amenities in the building for the guests,” said Agarwal.

OYO, which raised $250 million in September last year from investors including SoftBank, plans to expand SilverKeys to twelve cities by end of 2018 by marking a presence in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Kolkata. Agarwal said SilverKey is a new segment designed especially for the corporate clients. It has eighteen active clients as of now including TCS and Cognizant.

These corporate executive spaces promise to offer the privacy, security, care and comfort of a home. It will have luxury amenities and cool features – but without the formality, rules and rates of a hotel. The tariff for these apartments will be in the range of Rs 1,600-3,000 per night. A complimentary breakfast, wi-fi and toiletries will be offered to guests. These apartments will offer round the clock housekeeping, and on-demand lunch, dinner, laundry, ironing and dry cleaning services. OYO said focus will be on ensuring the safety and security of residents through a round the clock patrol team comprising of ex-military and police personnel.

 
OYO will be taking these apartments on lease from builders who in many cases own a number of apartments in a building or can get apartment owners together for lease. Agarwal said all SilverKey apartments will have standardised features, look and facilities to offer an integrated brand experience. On fund raising, Agarwal said the company has over $250 million cash in its books even after months of the last fund raise of $250 million. There is no immediate plan to dilute the stake further for funds, he added.