Even as industry experts wrote obituaries for start-ups like Oyo, the company’s founder and CEO said that it is in a good place and looking to stay ahead of the curve.

Ritesh Aggarwal – Founder and CEO of Oyo Hotels and Homes (India Today image)

Founder and CEO of Oyo Hotels and Homes Ritesh Aggarwal on Wednesday said that his company was in a good place even as industry experts wrote its obituaries due to the heavy losses incurred during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Perseverance has been the defining factor of our company. This is probably the fourth time now that people are trying to write an obituary [of the company]. But my responsibility is primarily towards my customers, partners and stakeholders so that we can keep executing plans in the right direction. I think we are in a good place,” Ritesh Aggarwal said.

Experts cast aspersions over the success of the room-aggregator-turned-hotel-chain after its fourth funding round when Ritesh Aggarwal had bought back a sizeable chunk of company shares by borrowing money. The coronavirus outbreak has not helped the hospitality start-up’s future projections either.

In an exclusive conversation with India Today as part of the E-Conclave Brainstorm Series, Ritesh Aggarwal said while his decision to borrow $ 450 million to raise his own stake in the company may not have been the best financial decision he has made, “but I do feel that it was the decision I feel good about as an entrepreneur because I am backing my company and the team members I work with for the long-term success.”

Ritesh Aggarwal said that his company is trying to focus on changing industry trends to beat the losses incurred during the coronavirus outbreak. “The coronavirus has impacted 1-2 quarters of our growth trajectory. We are now focusing on new kinds of travel, weekend travel which requires driving rather than flying,” he said

“Coorg will be the new Switzerland, Goa will be the new Thailand. If we predict these trends correctly, while market size may shrink, we will have a good opportunity to use our model.”

Ritesh Aggarwal, however, said that going forward Oyo Hotels and Homes will have a more measured business aspiration. “It is very hard to predict a growth plan until the world comes back to normal. We are reviewing and evolving our plans. In times like these, people look back home. We will focus on our core markets like India, Saudi Arabia, Europe and even the US,” he said.

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