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The pandemic has been detrimental for the hospitality industry as people were barred from traveling for more than a year. This has prompted companies to adapt themselves in order to survive, and this time, hospitality start-up Oyo entered into a “multi-year strategic alliance” with Microsoft in order to develop new travel and hospitality technologies fuelled by Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure and AI.

This comes after it was revealed that the US firm had been in talks to invest in Oyo, and it looks like Microsoft has followed through. The companies announced that they would be focussing on the improvement of the digital capabilities of small and medium hotels, as well as homestays. Microsoft has already made an investment in the Indian start-up.

Backed by prominent names like SoftBank, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Greenoaks Capital and having a valuation of $9.6 billion, the eight-year-old Oyo has been one of the leading names in the hospitality industry. It is present in India, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the US and was one of the many names to have been hit hard by the pandemic. “We built something for so many years and it took just 30 days for it to drop by over 60%,” CEO Ritesh Agarwal had said.

Oyo has had its fair share of criticisms as well, especially its decision to lay off thousands of its employees globally during the pandemic. As it is starting to recuperate from the pandemic effect and is exploring an initial public offering (IPO) in the coming weeks (it increased its authorized share capital yesterday), the start-up has a goal of expanding its presence and capturing a larger portion of the fast-digitizing global hospitality industry.

With this alliance, Oyo will be switching to Oyo will switch to Microsoft Azure for its cloud-based needs and co-develop solutions with Microsoft in order to “benefit patrons who operate the small and medium hotel and home storefronts.” “As part of this alliance, OYO will develop Smart Room experiences for travelers on the OYO platform, such as premium and customized in-room experiences for its guests. Using Microsoft’s Azure IoT, the experience will include self-check-in supported by a digital register of arrivals and departures and self-Know Your Customer (KYC) along with IoT-managed smart locks and virtual assistance,” the firms said.

“Combining the power of Azure with the tech and product stack developed by OYO, we are looking forward to accelerating innovation in travel and hospitality,” said Anant Maheshwari, President of Microsoft India, in a statement. “It is inspiring to see how the Microsoft cloud is empowering digital natives like OYO to accelerate industry transformation and innovations, turning the challenges of a post-pandemic era into opportunities for the future.”