On 31st December 2015, we announced the launch of OYO Malaysia through the inaugural post on this blog. As we close the year, we are launching a new feature series OPEN MIC – a platform where everyone at OYO can share their stories. In a carefully crafted coincidence, the first Open Mic feature puts the spotlight on Harshit Vyas and his experiences in OYO Malaysia. Harshit played an instrumental role in the launch of OYO Malaysia and we are sure you will enjoy reading through his recollection, as well as the other experiences we cover in future.
1. How was your experience of launching OYO in a new country?
Launching OYO in Malaysia was much like the launch of our first OYO property in Gurgaon. I felt a similar sense of excitement, faced somewhat identical challenges, but had completely novel learning experiences. Building a new market from scratch is a thrilling and exhilarating experience. I also enjoyed engaging with local people – they are very warm and the culture is very welcoming and hospitable.

2. Tell us a bit about market-specific challenges?
Well, we had a fair number of challenges – starting from understanding and adapting to a new cultural and social environment, finding the right talent, understanding travel patterns of a new demographic and trying to overcome language barriers while still building the local team. The consumer behavior in Malaysia is quite different from India. But the team had a great time customizing product features to suit the local demand without digressing from the core product.

3.  Share your thoughts on leading a multi-cultural team.
Leading a multi-cultural team is a great learning experience so it is undoubtedly enriching. While working with the team in Malaysia, I realized the importance of investing time in learning more about team members and understanding how the local culture influences their behavior and values.

4.  Is there a fun moment or memory that stands out?
There are many fun moments but a moment of sheer pride was prior to our launch in Malaysia. We went to meet a hotel owner to introduce ourselves and propose on-boarding his property, but he already knew all about OYO! I think that is when the impact of our achievement really struck me – that people know OYO outside our home country, what we do and what we stand for – I think all of us should be proud of this achievement.

5. What’s your advice for people working with diverse teams or multi-market projects?
There needs to be a clear understanding of capabilities and challenges. You need to put strong processes in place to streamline inter-team communication and workflow. This also helps in prioritizing tasks and keeps the work environment chaos-free. Also, when it comes to a foreign or new culture, one needs to respect that which you don’t understand – engaging the team and showing your willingness to learn more about them always leads to a better outcome.


Harshit VyasHarshit currently heads growth for OYO’s Western region. He has been associated with OYO since its early days and helped set up the supply team. An entrepreneur at heart, Harshit started his first venture while in college at the age of 22. He holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Industrial Chemistry from IIT BHU.


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