budget hotel (1)

Budget hotel rooms service Oyo Rooms has launched a women-exclusive brand called Oyo WE with all women staff and facilities curtailed to suit women-specific needs, reports ET. Oyo said that it considered launching ‘We’ since women travelers made up for up to 40% of its total customers. Oyo has also hired Deepika Gupta as head of the We hotels.

The company plans to expand Oyo We to 10 cities by the end of this year and has purchased 15 properties with investments of Rs 1.5-2 lakh from the property owners to convert them into We rooms. It will also look at converting existing properties into the We brand and sign up new properties. Currently, Oyo WE is operational only in Gurgaon.

The hotel’s amenities include automated door locks, hair dryers, iron and full length mirror in rooms, library with women magazines, doctor and beauty services on call and cab services.  As of now, the company is present in more than 70 cities and claims to have 12,000 rooms.

Oravel Stays, which operated the online short stay accommodation booking site Oravel.com shut down the website in June last year to focus on its budget hotel chain OYO Rooms which was relaunched during that time. Most recently, Oyo Rooms customers could pay through Ola Money via the Zipcash wallet

Last month, the company raised $100 million in a funding round led by SoftBank group with participation from existing investors Greenoaks Capital, Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed India. In March, it secured $20 million in a funding round led by Greenoaks and other existing investors.

Copyright issues
In April, The Delhi High Court issued a stay order against online hostel aggregation platform Zostel, based on an alleged copyright material theft complaint filed by OYO Rooms.  OYO Rooms alleged that Zostel’s recently launched hyperlocal hotel rooms booking platform Zo Rooms is based on data copied from them. Apparently, OYO Rooms produced emails and CCTV footage to claim that some of its employees stole proprietary software from the company, and left to join Zostel.

Interestingly, In March, Stayzilla and OYO Rooms had a nice Twitter slugfest on trademark infringement. OYO Rooms had used Stayzilla’s trademark and brand name for Google Adwords copy, which was a trademark violation as well as against Google’s advertising policy. However, the companies sorted out the issues on Twitter.