India’s largest branded network of hotels, OYO, recently announced a strategic partnership with ItzCash, India’s pioneer and the largest player in the digital payments space, to tap the next 500 million underserved Indian consumer segment. The tie-up will facilitate effortless payments for hotel-bookings across 5,500 hotels in over 170 cities in India through ItzCash’s easy money transfer solutions. With this partnership ItzCash is going aggressive in hotel booking and aims to double its volume and clock Rs 400 crore by FY18. ItzCash is backed by Lightspeed Ventures, which is also an investor in OYO.

Recently, OYO strengthened its network in Gangtok and Darjeeling. OYO now offers more than 250 standardized rooms in Gangtok and Darjeeling, to meet a range of budgets – from as low as Rs 999 per night to premium rooms for Rs 2500 – Rs 4000 per night.

“While the North-Eastern region has gained visibility and appreciation among Indian travellers, it’s actual share of domestic tourist inflow in India is still less than 5%. A big factor deterring travellers is the lack of trusted and quality hotel accommodation. But in the last few months OYO has made significant investments to expand its presence in key tourist destinations such as Gangtok and Darjeeling,” a statement said.

The new partnership with ItzCash will help OYO tap potential consumers who do not have access to either a debit or a credit card. ItzCash is already a dominant player in travel segment, and will offer access to OYO via an online co-branded portal as well as offline outlets. Both partners also have existing synergies such as deep integration with IRCTC. ItzCash offers travel booking service through its strong network of 75,000 plus pan-India network of retail touch points

Elaborating on the partnership, Ritesh Agarwal, CEO and Founder, OYO said, “Our journey towards becoming India’s most loved hotel brand has been driven primarily by customers who engaged with us online or through their mobile devices. The partnership with ItzCash will enable us to reach the large traveller-base that transacts through offline channels. ItzCash is a trusted partner for these customers and this long-standing association will undoubtedly help them build preference and familiarity with OYO.”

Speaking about this new partnership Naveen Surya, managing director at ItzCash said, “With this integration, we aim to further strengthen ItzCash’s foothold on the digital stage. While we already dominate rail bookings; our focus in air and hotel bookings will drive the incremental growth in the next two fiscal for ItzCash. We aim to address the problem faced by a large section of society who is unaware of doing advance hotel booking at an affordable rate. Travel and hotel bookings account for 12 – 15 % of ItzCash business and with this association it’s going to be the fastest growing sector for us. It is expected to grow at 60% year-on-year.”

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