While preventive lockdowns have helped countries flatten the curve and break the chain, it has also impacted industries across the world, including travel and hospitality. COVID-19 has disrupted the way people go about their daily lives due to social distancing norms, thereby paving the way for digital and virtual offerings. Consequently, technology-led businesses have the potential to come out stronger. Understanding this, as India takes a step towards normalcy, OYO, the world’s leading hospitality chain introduced Yo! Help, a 24*7 real-time chat assistant for guests with a valid booking across OYO hotels and homes globally. Through this technology, OYO is set to enable seamless experiences throughout the consumer journey, right from the post-booking to post-checkout or cancellation phases. Technology is deeply embedded in OYO’s DNA. During such times, when the world is adapting to newer ways of living alongside the virus, digital and tech-based solutions play a significant role to minimize human contact and maintain social distancing norms. Therefore, with Yo! Help, OYO aims to enable guests with self-help and self-serve mechanisms so that they can seek answers to their queries at any time, and anywhere through a single tap of a button. Some of the key USPs of OYO’s Yo Help! are end-to-end automation and high-speed resolution which is completely built in-house with the ability to detect fraudulent cases. OYO’s realtime assistant, Yo! Help is educated with secure data to increase its intelligence and empathy quotients. The company has also worked towards gamifying responses in an effort to make consumer interactions more human and less transactional. The company invested nearly six months building the technology; thereby, ensuring its effectiveness and productivity. Additionally, through the company’s deeply integrated tech stack, it will also launch projects to personalize guest interactions rather than a neutral request-response mechanism. As a global organisation, OYO’s chatbot is built to provide different experiences for consumers across different countries, considering every geography’s unique challenges. Yo! Help leverages Natural Language Processing (NLP) to decrease the interaction time and bubble up relevant queries from the guests based on freely written text. This technology is also capable of personalising experiences for guests on OYO’s platforms. Commenting on the introduction of Yo! Help, Anil Goel – Group Chief Technology & Product Officer said, Typically, the hospitality industry is known as one of the most high-touch industries, relying mainly on human connections, be it the warm greetings at the reception, tikka on arrival, check-in, check-out formalities or room service among others. With COVID-19 spreading rapidly across the globe and social distancing becoming a way of life, the hospitality industry is at a pivotal point of transformation. The pandemic is ushering a digital-shift’, which is an opportunity for us to rebuild differently and strengthen our focus on tech-enabled experiences. We are, therefore, focussing our efforts on enhancing processes and doing more with less. This is a once-in-a-lifetime situation that can leave us completely transformed. He adds, At OYO, we believe in continuous improvisation as we aim to go the extra mile for our consumers. With Yo! Help, we are enhancing customer experiences and at the same time helping our business reduce costs without compromising on the customer service delivered to the end consumer. Over the past 6 years, we have built the world’s largest technology-driven hospitality chain and through this journey, consumer feedback has been very important to us. We have used our guest feedback to understand what’s working best and the areas that we could improvise. With Yo! Help, we have been able to resolve queries across India within an Average Handling Time (ATH) of 01 minute as compared to a call center’s ATH of 8-10 minutes. In terms of escalations, the average Turn Around Time (TAT) is 5-7 mins vs 2.5-3 hours, depending on the nature of the issue faced. Having said that, we also believe that human connection is important and we’ll continue to enable guests to chat with our agents in case a query needs to be resolved beyond self-serve mechanisms. OYO guests can access the Yo! Help on their existing OYO app or OTA booking through the following steps: OYO’s self-help tools can be reached on the link www.oyorooms.com/yo The guests will receive the link to OYO’s realtime assistant in their booking confirmation SMS as well as via other channels The guests can open the link on a mobile web browser or desktop and enter a valid booking ID and check-in date to authenticate their booking. OTA guests can use the Booking ID provided by the OTAs including Booking.com, Agoda, MMT and GoIbibo Once authenticated the guests can use Yo! Help to resolve their queries through an automated answer or by directly engaging with an OYO chat agent Recently, OYO also rolled out the Sanitised Stays’ initiative which involves the process of digital check-ins and check-outs through the app, offering consumers the flexibility of digital payments and sharing online feedback. In order to improve the efficiency of operations on-ground during the pandemic, OYO also announced multi-lingual support for Krypton, a mobile audit application in 12 languages for its asset partners. This will enable property managers from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities in India to operate the app in their native language. About OYO Hotels & Homes Opening its doors in 2013, OYO Hotels & Homes, a young hotel startup, today is the world’s leading chain of hotels and homes. OYO today operates in over 800 cities in 80 countries, including the U.S., Europe, U.K., India, Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Japan.