The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Monica Patra, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has tied up with OYO Rooms, India’s largest branded network of hotels, continuing its recent streak of partnering with innovative start-up ventures. The partnership aims at offering standardized accommodation and a convenient booking platform to train travelers and symbolizes the growing leverage of synergies between the government and homegrown Indian businesses to drive the next wave of innovation. The partnership is expected to provide a more user-friendly hotel booking window for train travelers, as OYO Rooms will show their available inventory of rooms through the IRCTC website itself, along with the promise of offering standardized amenities to the train passengers. This means that very soon, travelers will be able to prepare their entire itinerary by booking both the train tickets and the preferred type of accommodation through a one-stop window.
Surprisingly IRCTC’s website continues to list various budget hotel, retiring rooms, lounges etc., but has added a button for IRCTC OYO Rooms. Clicking on the button on IRCTC, redirects to OYO Room’s page for IRCTC, where users can book regular OYO Rooms. Also, OYO’s page also lists links to tour packages, flights, cab/buses and tourist trains, all of which link back to various features offered by IRCTC.
The IRCTC-OYO Rooms partnership will offer as many as 45,000 hotel rooms spread across 170 cities in India. All of these rooms will have certain assured amenities, including air-conditioning facilities, complimentary breakfast, Wi-Fi access, and 24-hour customer service support.
The IRCTC has been desperately trying to modernize it’s offerings by tying up with multiple food delivery companies to let users order food while on the go, as well at train stations, introducing e-bedroll, a paid service where train passengers can book the bed-sheet top, bed-sheet bottom, pillow and a fabric pack for their journey at Chennai and Trivandrum Central Railway Stations, tying up with Tata Teleservices’ mRupee to enable users to use its wallet to book tickets. Let’s hope that with bio-degradable toilets, Wi-Fi and CCTV camera enabled stations we see a new face of Indian Railways.