Hospitality startup Oyo to focus on Europe, SEA, India as travel restrictions ease

The logo of OYO, India's largest and fastest-growing hotel chain, installed on a hotel building is seen through wires in an alley in New Delhi, India, September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

Hospitality startup Oyo will focus primarily on European markets, Southeast Asia, and India for fresh bookings as these regions open up domestic air travel and hotels, said a top company executive.

Rohit Kapoor, chief executive India and South Asia at Oyo, said its focus markets in the next few months will also depend primarily on country-level occupancy rates and on other parameters including the extent of spread of covid-19 in each geography.

The hospitality unicorn has suffered significant damages because of the pandemic, forcing it to cut back expenses and lay off thousands of employees across markets, including Japan, China and its home turf in India as well.

“Impact on our business is also directly dependent on the scale of lockdown in each country. Some countries like the US have gone into different phases of lockdown and we don’t see any recovery soon in US since the occupancy rates have not bounced back ever since March,” Kapoor said.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that Oyo permanently shut its offices in several Japanese provinces, including Sapporo, Sendai, Nagano, Hiroshima and Omiya at the end of June. It is also downsizing operations in the capital Tokyo.

The hotel aggregator furloughed salaries of most of its US staff in June to conserve cash even as the market showed some signs of recovery. In an e-mail to employees, seen by Mint, Oyo’s chief operating officer Abhinav Sinha said the startup will be laying off majority of the furloughed staff in US.

Both US and Japan layoffs are a part of Oyo’s global downsizing process that was announced in April. At that time the startup said it plans to cut around 5,000 jobs world over, reducing employee size to 25,000. Mint reported last week that Oyo also ended minimum business guarantee contracts with around 250 hotel owners in India as part of the downsizing operations.

However, Oyo has seen some recovery in hotel bookings in India due to institutional demand for self-quarantine facilities. Mint reported on 25 June that the online travel segment including hotel and domestic flights have seen some demand emerge.

“Although the corporate travel segment is slowing, customers who own small and medium businesses are travelling currently because these are businessmen who want to visit their warehouses or vendors. We have been providing our hotels to nurses, doctors, and travellers from the Vande Bharat international flights from abroad for rates starting from 1,500 to 2,000 a night,” added Kapoor.

This article was first published on livemint.com.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.