Amid the growing spat between India’s biggest hospitality chain OYO and various hotel associations, several customers have now complained of being denied accommodations by hotels even after their bookings were confirmed through the OYO app.
The allegations come in the middle of a face-off between hotel associations based in Bengaluru and Delhi and the start-up, with the former accusing India’s youngest billionaire and OYO chief Ritesh Aggarwal of fraud, stating that the company has increased booking fees without taking their consent.
At least two such First Information Reports have been filed against Aggarwal in Karnataka alone. "I was travelling with a group of friends and had booked a room through the OYO app. I also paid online, but on reaching the hotel premises, they denied us the accommodation and said they are no longer taking the bookings through the OYO app," said Sunitha, an IT professional based in Bengaluru.
Sunitha later approached the customer care service of OYO who offered an alternative accommodation and initiated a refund, but couldn’t take the matter up with the hotel owner who denied the rooms. Meanwhile, Pune-based Abha said she faced similar hassles when she was travelling with her friend to Rajasthan, being simply denied accommodation by the hotel she had booked through OYO. "The hotel owner offered no reason for the same," Abha said.
In another instance in Jaipur, an inter-faith couple also accused a hotel owner of denying them the accommodation after they had booked the room through OYO due to religous grounds. "We will take up any isssue the customers have faced with the hotel owners. If there are any complaints against the hotel or its owners, we immediately take it out of our lodging list or proceed with the other action. As far as number of hotels walking out of our partnership goes, it is miniscule in comparison to the new tie-ups we have made," a top executive at OYO told the New Indian Express.
OYO’s founder Ritesh Aggarwal recently consolidated his stake in the company by pumping in USD 700 million as a part of the recent USD 1.5 billion fund raising round.
OYO has faced mounting opposition from hospitality players, with the company which has partnered with more than 10,000 middle budget hotels across the country disrupting the segment significantly by offering alternatives to those travellers who look for affordable, but quality accommodations.