A silver lining is that key stakeholders in this space such as OYO, Swiggy, redBus, among others remain bullishly invested in the travel and hospitality segment and are staying committed to the well being of their staff and other stakeholders.
Amidst the second wave, OYO, Swiggy, redbus roll out life-saving initiatives! India’s travel and hospitality industry has been hard hit by the second wave. More so, those working in this segment are badly hit and struggling to recover. A silver lining is that key stakeholders in this space such as OYO, Swiggy, redBus, among others remain bullishly invested in the travel and hospitality segment and are staying committed to the well being of their staff and other stakeholders.
Notable initiatives, such as SwiggyGenie delivering free meals to COVID warriors, OYO rolling out bereavement packages and redBus launching vaccinated bus services, would come as a blessing for those who have been hard hit by the pandemic.
The one true challenge, though, is that the travel and hospitality segment needs more of its own to come on board with similar initiatives. Simply put, walk the talk.
Are other stakeholders also keen to roll out initiatives that bring no money to their table? Let’s find out.
Prioritising safety of customers is key
Prioritising the safety of customers is now an essential component of all services in the travel and hospitality segment. Notably, in the bus transport sector, redBus launched a commendable initiative in the form of vaccinated bus services across 600+ major routes across the country.
This guarantees that the passengers of an intercity bus will travel only with vaccinated crew and co-passengers. For booking a ticket using this service, it is mandatory for travellers to have taken at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and they must submit proof at the time of boarding. Those who are unable to provide proof will not be permitted to board.
Further safety measures taken by redBus include ‘Safety+ program’, deep cleaning of buses after each trip, mandatory masking, hand sanitisation and thermal screening of its crew and passengers.
Delivery of free meals for COVID warriors
Swiggy Genie, which is Swiggy’s pick up and drop service, has delivered to over 500 COVID warriors over 40,000 free meals and essential packages across Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Jaipur. Through Swiggy Genie’s timely meal deliveries, several restaurants increased their volunteer base to provide COVID-affected patients with free meals.
According to Rashmi Chandra of Extra Portions, Gurgaon, “We helped over 80 families with 4000 to 5000 free home meals during the second wave of the pandemic.”
Chennai’s Vogue Kitchens also delivered over 10,000 healthy meals to COVID-19 affected patients through SwiggyGenie.
FE Online had earlier reported notable initiatives by The Burger Company India with its ‘MEALOFJOY’ initiative, whereby over 1500 children living on the streets were fed food. In the first seven days of the launch of the initiative, the company had served over 5000 meals to homeless children.
At the time, Neelam Singh, founder of The Burger Company India, informed Financial Express Online that over 20+ outlets across the country are teaming up to take forward the initiative and help at least 50 children living within 5kms range of each of these outlets on a daily basis.
Sustaining grief stricken families with bereavement packages
Most recently, OYO has rolled out a welfare-oriented, bereavement scheme with varied benefits for the families of its home owners and hotel partners. Earlier, OYO has teamed up with MediBuddy to provide a 24/7 healthcare line with free consultation for its partners.
In cases related to COVID-19 related deaths, OYO’s bereavement support will broadly include the following:
OYO’s bereavement package for deceased partner’s family
Survival and livelihood are interlinked components, which is why a bereavement package becomes critical for families that have not planned ahead for such tragic circumstances. OYO’s bereavement scheme is implemented by transferring three months of commission of take-rate to the property’s OYO Secure Wallet, which is simply a digital wallet for hotel and homeowners, to provide them with real-time visibility of their own earnings. Adding to this, OYO has also waived off any pending dues against the property.
Education of partner’s children
This will be done for up to two children for a period of five years.
Medical coverage up to 5 lakhs
OYO has decided to extend its medical coverage as part of its hotel partner bereavement support for up to five lakh rupees for up to two children for a period of five years.
OYO Mentorship and Internship Opportunities
As part of its bereavement package, OYO has rolled out mentorship and internship opportunities to the eligible members of the deceased hotel partners.
Enabling timely access to COVID related resources
OYO has been enabling supportive and verified information related to COVID-19 to its community of home and hotel owners. From verified details pertaining to facilities, medicines, oxygen supply and vaccination against the virus, the company has got its hotel partners and staff vaccinated through ‘VaccinAid’ initiative spanning more than 2500 plus hotels. Notably, this number is increasing every day. Further, vaccination camps are also being organised in multiple cities.
How badly COVID-19 hit India’s travel and hospitality sector?
During the second wave, the lockdown restrictions surfaced again and only emergency travel became permissible. Following this, the lack of job opportunities in the travel and hospitality segment has emerged as one of the biggest fallouts of the current health crisis that the nation is grappling with. The commendable spirit of human resilience is evident when even struggling stakeholders in both travel and hospitality sectors walked the extra mile to help and serve those who were affected by COVID-19.
Chirag Sarin, Head Operations Services at Massive Restaurants informs, “When the entire country was suffering, many came forward and volunteered to help and serve communities in the best way they could. At Massive Restaurants, we provided healthy meals for COVID affected persons and medical assistance. SwiggyGenie facilitated the deliveries at just Rs 1, which we are grateful for as we could extend our help to those who needed it.”
Tackling financial uncertainty during the second wave
While restrictions have eased out gradually in most states, jobs in the travel and hospitality segment are getting harder to maintain in the pandemic era. This poses financial uncertainty for those employed in the industry to plan a secure future.
Highlighting the importance of vaccination as the company’s “#1 people priority” , Rohit Kapoor, CEO, OYO India & South East Asia (OYO INSEA) acknowledged the selfless contribution of OYO’s independent, small hotel partners and home owners who stepped forward to support the country with quarantine, self-isolation and accommodation requirements.
Some of these hotel partners lost their lives while serving the society and guests.
Terming the bereavement package as OYO’s ‘small contribution’ to acknowledge their selfless efforts, Rohit Kapoor further stated, “Together, with our partners, we stand stronger and we will continue to make a difference as the country unlocks in phases and the economy revives.”
It’s not just Swiggy’s free meals and OYO’s bereavement packages alone that made a difference on the ground – it is their empathy and compassion when combined with action that tilts the scales for those in need.