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hospitality | IST

CEO Sentimeter | ‘Consolidate and evolve’: Founder Ritesh Agarwal on how OYO tackled COVID-19

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Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO of OYO Hotels and Homes spoke to CNBC-TV18 about startups and innovation on July 30. Agarwal said that in a way the pandemic enabled the firm to relook and prepare for the future. He said when the pandemic struck, the OYO’s view was to respond to it with the perspective of using it as an opportunity to transform the company instead of taking incremental steps.

Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO of OYO Hotels and Homes spoke to CNBC-TV18 about startups and innovation on July 30.
Agarwal said that in a way the pandemic enabled the firm to relook and prepare for the future. He said when the pandemic struck, the OYO’s view was to respond to it with the perspective of using it as an opportunity to transform the company instead of taking incremental steps.
“Consolidate, make sure that you have the right capital, and evolve. Those were the three things that we thought about,” he added.
Agarwal said the firm’s growth was highly driven by getting new hotels and homes to join the platform because the more supply it gets, the more consumers choose it over a period of time.
Speaking about margins, the OYO founder said, the company’s underlying unit economics rapidly improved because it simplified the business model. “Simplicity in business improved out gross margins substantially due to which I think even though our revenue has not fully recovered, our gross margins have fully recovered from that of the pre-pandemic levels,” he explained.
Agarwal said that even in the pandemic, India remained profitable from December 2020 to March 2021. He asserted that the country did suffer losses in April, May and June due to the impact of the second COVID-19 wave but a very small dollar amount.
On collaboration, he said, “Fundamentally, from OYO perspective, we see that long term, doubling down and creating technology-based products, which makes a difference in the lives of our hotel owners and customers, is always going to create multifold impact.”
For the full interview, watch the accompanying video.