OYO's Townhouse budget hotel format is tailormade for millennial guests
The friendly neighbourhood hotels check boxes of good infrastructure, pleasant neighbourhood and upbeat design
Instead of heavy wood, rich colours and exotic detailing, what immediately strikes you as you enter OYO’s aptly-named Townhouse is the functional yet aesthetic feel in the clean and crisp lines of the space. Designed to function as social hotspots that cater to the new generation of outstation guests, as well as locals who seek an alternative workplace, this new category fulfils its guests’ desires to experience global cuisines as well as access the lounge and retail store. Comfort, efficiency, convenience and affordability are its four pillars. Unlike the cookie-cutter approach of traditional hotel chains, every Townhouse is visualised to complement its neighbourhood.
The Indian hospitality landscape is wide and varied with luxury hotels mushrooming in the fertile soil of a growing economy – but where millennials are concerned, a combination of price, convenience and differentiation usually make the cut. OYO Townhouse (OTH) has a contemporary design aesthetic that appeals to millennial guests through an innovative and understated elegance. Aligned to the minimalistic concept, the number of SKUs and inventory-sets in the hotel, lobby and café are restricted to functional utility without compromising on aesthetics. The first Townhouse was launched in Gurgaon in December 2016 (OTH 001), followed by Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Today, these Townhouses are operating in over seven Indian cities.
Describing the Townhouse as “literally your house in town,” Bhumika Rajda, head - Interior Design, OYO, adds that the site selected ticks all the boxes of good infrastructure, pleasant neighbourhood, and a place where people can live, work, play... and generally hang out. All the teams came together to brainstorm on the different elements that could get millennials to connect with the space. “We wanted to create a place that is not shackled in conventional expectations of what a hotel should be like,” she explains. “We wanted to equip it with services and features that truly complement the way millennials live. With OYO Townhouse, we have created a space where everything works in a simple and efficient way.”
Efficiency, modernity and friendliness characterise the vibe at the OTH 002, which is in the middle of all the action of the distinctive neighbourhood of Safdarjung Enclave. After studying the existing architecture, requirements such as community space, gym and conference room were situated in the basement along with the lounge. A separate common area was created, which can be used by anyone from the neighbourhood without causing disturbance to other guests. There was also a need for kitchenettes in a few rooms – for travellers who stay for longer durations, and a specific area within the room was designated for the same.
Since the cookie-cutter approach was rejected, colour was used to reinforce the brand identity. “The goal was to be able to fit the same look in a number of existing properties, while making them stand out and become brand identifiers. The colour scheme was kept neutral, so that it could be at once impactful from the outside and calming from inside,” discloses Rajda. “We chose a timber flooring, as we wanted something that would be easy in application – and yet durable. Red was chosen as the highlight colour, as it reflects the vibrant energy and spirit of our customers as well as our own company. Metal is a material that is used in various forms in the design, as it is durable and also helped create the visual that we wanted for the space.”
Working with a highly talented and specialised set of partners and OYO team members, rather than a typical client/architect model, the designer found it easy to convince the client as they shared the same vision. But this did not mean there were no challenges. “One of the bigger challenges was to design and operationalise such a space,” recounts Rajda. “Ensuring the right neighbourhood at an affordable price-point has also been an interesting exercise. We have been picking up pace – in the first six months of the year, we launched over 10 Townhouse hotels in five cities. We want to ensure a comfortable, efficient and affordable offering for travellers, while ensuring that it doesn’t replicate or carry over some older or wasteful practice.”
Art plays the most important role in bringing the concept of Townhouse to life. “Art defines the vibe of the place and also acts as a differentiator, as it is a one-of-a-kind design. It helped us in building the proposition – a friendly neighborhood hotel. It is simple, easily replicated and brings a smile to our guests’ faces,” explains Rajda, disclosing that the response to OYO Townhouse has been positive and overwhelming.
Since most guests are enamoured by the simplicity of the place and how the design elements make the hotel stand out, Rajda believes that the design philosophy makes them feel comfortable the moment they step into the property.
Definitely, less is more in this case.