Brand Summit Buzz- Interview with Burhanuddin Pithawala, OYO Hotels and Homes

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Burhanuddin Pithawala is currently the VP, Growth & Conversions for OYO Hotels and Homes and was one of the speakers at the Bengaluru Brand Summit & Hot Brands 2019. Read his thoughts on what it takes to make and keep a brand HOT!

  1. What is the one factor that took your brand from good to great?

At OYO Hotels, our focus has always been to ensure that every customer checks out completely satisfied with their experience. Our customers are at the centre of all our innovations and initiatives. Our definition of growth goes beyond acquiring customers to understanding their needs and requirements which allows for the delivery of a stellar experience, with OYO becoming their preferred choice of accommodation.

Currently, we get over 93% of our demand from direct channels viz. the OYO App, Web, Call Centre, and Offline Channels, of which approximately 70% are repeat customers. Within a span of five years, we have transformed the global hospitality scenario while also expanding our footprint to China, Malaysia, Nepal, UK, UAE, Indonesia and the Philippines with over 450,000 exclusive rooms. This is a testament to our passion for building the world’s fastest-growing hotel chain and the trust our guests have in us.

2. What role does technology play in making and keeping a brand hot?

Globally, technology has emerged as the biggest business disruptor of all times across sectors. Digitization is transforming marketing strategies and industries have witnessed a dramatic shift in the way brands are marketing and advertising their products and services. The role of technology will continue to grow and use of new-age technologies like AI, Data Analytics and visual search that help us understand consumer preference will take these strategies to higher orbits.

Omnichannel engagement is a necessity in today’s hyper-connected world and will be the only way to succeed in the future. Besides personal contact through real-time or telephonic interactions, there are platforms, such as social media, e-mails, in-app notifications, chat-bots, etc. that have made their presence felt on the global radar. The list keeps growing, as brands and marketers look for newer ways to engage with customers.

3. How has data become the essence of business/marketing?

Today, data has taken center stage in nearly all marketing endeavours. The solution lies in how we can leverage our systems to synthesize Big Data and actually generate intelligible insights from it. Big Data solutions enable businesses to make data-driven decisions – for example, running campaigns on target demographics with razor-sharp precision (For example- show hotel ads only to people aged 25-30, currently working in a city which is not their hometown), as well as, intelligently manage their room inventories and pricing, that are carefully aligned with market conditions. Big Data Analysis needs us to invest smartly to monetize the information that is generated daily as part of running the business.

4. What are your thoughts on the need for digital transformation?

Over the past few years, with the influx of technology, the way a business is run has undergone a seismic change. Almost every industry is undergoing a technological transformation. In fact, not only companies but everything from business to personal to social now depends on technology. With the ease of internet connectivity and mobility-facilitated transactions, many new trends in the consumption pattern have emerged. As societies transform digitally, it has become critical for brands to capitalize on this profound change. Digital transformation will help brands in increasing their customer base. Here, the first tactic should be to automate marketing patterns to make sure that we are able to engage with customers more meaningfully. Marketing now needs to go beyond being the brand awareness vehicle and use the technique of personalisation to engage and convert the target audience.

 

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