Product, OYOpreneurs driven impact and organisation announcements (March 2021) – A note to OYOpreneurs from our Founder & Group CEO, Ritesh Agarwal

Product, OYOpreneurs driven impact and organisation announcements (March 2021) – A note to OYOpreneurs  from our Founder & Group CEO, Ritesh Agarwal

Dear OYOpreneurs,


Hope you are doing well. I have enjoyed discussing various topics including technology products with you every week in our Weekly All Hands sessions. Today, I am writing to you to share important product wins, OYOpreneurs driven impact results and organization updates. I am sharing with you select metrics and highlights that will give you the same excitement that I have about OYO’s path of resurgence coming out of a challenging but transformative year. 


OYO global is earning the same (100% recovery) gross profits dollars since Jan 2021 as it did pre-COVID in Jan 2020; India business is EBITDA positive, and OYO’s suite of tech products have started showing strong results as they fundamentally solve the most critical issues for our partners and create new opportunities for them. 


OYO is on a steady path of resurgence in 2021 and we are seeing signs of recovery across India, Europe, and Southeast Asia. OYO’s survival through the COVID crisis and our resurgence show that we are a company with strong fundamentals and high value potential. 

  • Gross Profit dollars surpassed 100% of Pre-COVID levels since Jan 2021 i.e., we earned the same money in Jan 2021 as we did in Jan 2020. This is a very big achievement and demonstrates demand recovery and results of a revenue-share-only-network. We expect gross profits to get stronger in 2021 as restrictions and lockdowns ease as well as vaccination coverage increases.
    • I am also excited to announce that our India business has achieved EBITDA break-even from Dec 2020 and is growing month-on-month. This is the second market, after OYO Europe Homes, that has achieved profitability and two of our largest markets being financially sustainable, are clear examples of the success of our business model at scale. 
    • We are consistently adding 11K+ new rooms per month just in India which shows the resilience of our proposition and the value we generate for our partners. In India, we have already onboarded 65 Master Franchisees who are further establishing strong relationships in key cities and expanding OYO’s presence.
  • OYO Secure, which provides a host of partner benefits in a “wallet like” model, has become the  product of choice, within months of launch, and now accounts for 95% of the network in India. It is now being scaled up across 6 countries.
    • OYO’s direct channel guests are notably sticky, with over ~70% revenues on the consumer platform coming from repeats. In India, we have over 90% of customers coming from OYO demand channels. 
    • Discover OYO, our flagship product to acquire new consumers, in the first phase of launch itself, has over 2000+ partners adopting the product. Discover OYO has generated 1L+ new user room nights, substantial repeat room nights for our partners. Discover OYO is a tech-driven product for acquisition of new customers where OYO, during the introductory phase, does not charge a commision to support our asset partners to build occupancy as you may have heard in the weekly all hands sessions.
    • 90% of our hotel and home partners are logging into our  unique technology products like Co OYO and OYO OS everyday 
  • It’s very encouraging to see the above reflect in our Partner NPS – increased by 19 pps in Indonesia, 5 pps in the US and 3 pps in Malaysia between Q3’20 to Q4’20 and has remained strong in India. Key improvement areas in 2020 include simplification of reconciliation statements, simplification of deal structure, improvement in pricing, penetration of smart pricing and adoption of Co-OYO app and a 360 degree single point interface for partners. 


OYO empowers over 100k+ small hotel and home entrepreneurs that own and operate hotels with an industry-first technology platform that yields higher revenue growth


Our investments in technology have led to innovations across all our products focused on delivering delight for our partners, guests and OYOpreneurs. OYO OS is used by over 96% of the partner staff across the globe for check ins and their hotel operations. Our proprietary tech stack for small hotel and home entrepreneurs includes 30+ product services that drive immediate and sustained increase in revenue and profits from operational efficiencies for our partners. The OYO App has over 92 million+ installs and 90% of guests are either repeat customers or find us organically. 


In 2020, we made a cultural shift of problem solving with product and technology first and over the last 6 months this approach has demonstrated promising results. Let me share a few examples:

  • OYO Wizard – Every minute 4 new Wizard Members have joined us despite the pandemic in 2020. We have over 8.5 million India Wizard members who have 2.2x LTV and have a 2x repeat rate as compared to regular guests. OYO Wizard has also won the Most Innovative Loyalty Program of the Year award at the 14th edition of The Customer Fest Show 2021 – testimony to the love our consumers have given the program. 
  • OYO Yo! – 85% of all customer queries are today resolved automatically by our chat facility. This has reduced average handling time (or the time it takes to resolve a customer query) by 84%. Yo! won the best Chatbot award at the 2nd edition of DIGIMARCOM Leadership Summit 2021
  • OYO Audit – Through our crowdsourced audits product, 15,000 customer led audits are received every month, that covers 60% of our hotels in India. Crowdsourced audits won the Best Customer Service Initiative award at the 14th edition of The Customer Fest Show 2021
  • OYO Secure – OYO Secure has helped in eliminating the collection process and reduced any outstanding recovery leading to higher revenue realization. Today OYO Secure is running successfully in 6 countries, with 95% of the network in India on OYO Secure. 


Products are going to be at the heart of OYO’s progress built on foundations of great engineering and top notch product management. To enable this vision, Abhinav Sinha had taken over as our Chief Product Officer (Interim) in Jan 2021. We are now bringing together both central capability teams and product teams to form the new integrated Central Product organisation. Both these teams have been building global solutions and now together these solutions will always launch and scale with product and technology at the core. Here are the key leadership changes in this team:


Anuj Tejpal – Chief Merchant Officer (Global) will work closely with me and support Abhinav as Product Head of OYO OS, Co OYO, Self Onboarding and all Partner Products. Anuj’s team now includes Rohit Goyal, Harmeet Singh, Twarit Anand, Ankur Jhavery and MS Srivardhan. Anuj will also take interim product lead for OYO’s OTA, Growth and Revenue Management Platform products. This team includes Parthasarthy Basu, Abhishek Hota and Varun Jain.


Shreerang Godbole – Chief Customer Service Officer & Product Head of OYO App, OYO Yo! and all Consumer Products. Shreerang’s team now includes Amit Gupta, Ravish Agarwal, Ashish Bajpai and Hemanta Pramanick. 


Rahul Sahni (Head of OVH products), Vaibhav Chaudhary (China tech integration head), Vivek Khetan (Realization & Content) and Nishant Mathur (Product Operations) are other key members of this new integrated product org. 


Abhinav will also be supported by two CXOs who will take additional responsibilities to help us build and launch better products. Ankit Tandon along with his role as Chief Business Officer will lead product development of all Finance, HR and Legal operations. Going forward, we want to invest further on building products to enhance OYOpreneur experience, just like we have built products for our owners and our customers. Kavikrut along with his role as Chief Growth Officer and head of our communications and brand team will also support Abhinav with leading the Design team in the interim and help strengthen our UI/UX capabilities as we aspire to further improve our products with a design-first approach. 


OYO is now OYO INSEA, OYO EUR and OYO INTL – strategic focus on markets will enable OYO geos to come closer and stronger together


In 2021, with our razor sharp focus on Product and OYOpreneurs driven impact, we have now recategorized the organization under three large geographies. This is also based on the evolution of business across the markets, Gross Margin targets and the investments in each of the markets. They are as follows:

  1. OYO INSEA (India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines) – Key Leading Markets with proven scale, economics and health metrics and substantial focus on profitable growth. OYO INSEA includes the 4 major geographies for OYO (India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines) which constitute ~50% of our revenue and are identified as key growth markets with strong central and country leadership teams. India has seen Gross Margin of ~27% on the back of structural changes in business model. Used Room Nights are now touching post COVID highs in Feb 2021. Although SEA regions continue to be impacted by lockdowns due to COVID, markets operate in Jan 2021 at higher than pre-COVID levels.
  2. OYO Europe – With the advent of COVID, holiday homes in both OYO INSEA and Europe are showing great resilience and are increasingly the primary holiday choice for a lot of consumers; and we are going to substantially invest in delivering best technologies for Home owners and Customers to continue to be the leading Revenue Management and technology platform of choice as a VRMC in all our key geographies in Europe. Key thing to note is – our OYO Europe has also shown significant recovery with higher bookings ~3x (vs Dec 2020) in Jan 2021 after facing headwinds due to COVID in the last couple of months.
  3. OYO International (USA, UK, China, and others) – Markets with large addressable markets and attractive upside potential in the long term with focus on delivering top experiences to partners. The US has seen a Gross Margin of ~18% and has recovered 100% in terms of Gross Margin dollars. Gautam and Prasun’s leadership has already made substantial impact here with China showing strength on all key health metrics, UK bookings are 2x for summers and US Revpar is back to pre-COVID levels. 


In light with the above geographical focus, below are a few leadership changes in various markets:


  1. Rohit Kapoor who joined OYO 2 yrs back and began with leading the Frontier business in India and quickly demonstrated an ability to both grow and turnaround P&Ls by focusing on not just operations and financials but also by expanding his leadership across all other functions. He earned the respect of OYOpreneurs at large and was given the charge to lead South Asia overall in Dec 2019. He was tasked with restoring our home market to its glory days of high partner trust, delightful customer experience and a top talent destination while delivering supply growth. But COVID-19’s severe impact began with the lockdowns in March and he had to rally all his OYOpreneurs to instead build a survival plan. Under his leadership, the region took several key initiatives to trigger revenue growth for our partners and stronger engagement, such as OYO Sambandh; trust in our unlock readiness, such as Sanitized Stays by OYO; and make OYO a better workplace, such as Family Days. 2020, a year of crisis, instead ended in December with India becoming EBITDA positive. I am delighted to share that Rohit will now be CEO of OYO India & South East Asia [INSEA] where all of us expect him to also lead Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines teams, a group of OYOpreneurs who have fought the pandemic and made OYO a clear leader in South East Asia. 
  2. I am happy to welcome Dr Mandar Vaidya as CEO, OYO Europe. Dr Mandar who joined 18 months back, has continued to deliver great results including close to breakeven results in Indonesia in Dec’20, Refunds’ leadership, building leaders like Ming, Pak Agus, Srini, Ankit and others. He has led our businesses in South East Asia and the Middle east and our JV in Japan as the CEO. During his tenure Mandar has built an exceptional team and business in these regions for OYO, overseeing our growth with profitability leading up to the pandemic outbreak, and an upswing in business health (employee, partner and customer satisfaction) and profitability since then. Before joining OYO, Mandar spent 15 years at Mckinsey & Co., including 7 as a partner.
  3. Welcoming Ayush Mathur as President, OYO Europe who recently became the first promoted CXO of OYO after over 2.5 years due to his incredible efforts as a co-owner of OYO over the last 6.5 years. Ayush now will partner Dr Mandar as the partner and the leader of all of lead Supply, Operations, Direct demand, brand and products for thousands of home owners and customers at OYO Europe. Ayush was recently promoted as a global CXO of OYO. He joined us back in 2014 and since then has laid the foundation for supply growth at OYO. Prior to OYO, Ayush worked with Facebook, Parthenon and Max Group healthcare. 
  4. I am also pleased to share that Dinesh Ramamurthi, currently CHRO Global, will now also be CHRO of OYO Europe. In addition to his current responsibilities, he will partner with Mandar and I to work towards making this business a great place to work and enable delivery of overall EBITDA. Dinesh has been with OYO for over 5 years and given the importance of this market, he will now directly manage this role. 
  5. Ankit Gupta, welcoming the newest member of the CXO team. Ankit is a proven professional with over 15 years of experience and is entrusted with the responsibility to strengthen and consolidate existing opportunities in the hotels, vacation homes, long term rentals, and now co-working business of the company in India &  South Asia under the Frontier Businesses umbrella. He is responsible for leading a portfolio of loved brands which include OYO Townhouse, Collection O, OYO Home, OYO LIFE, OYO Campus, and OYO Workspaces, and strengthening the companies capabilities in these businesses by driving business outcomes. Over the past year, Ankit has led from the front to ensure business turnaround by building the largest mid-market hotel chain in India, making the Frontier business cash EBITDA profitable, and achieving benchmark happiness for the company’s partners and customers. Ankit has accelerated the business on a solid growth path while prioritizing OYOs partners’ interests, which ultimately enhances OYO’s offerings to guests. During his 14-year-long tenure with McKinsey & Co, he served clients across India, Middle East, Southeast Asia and the US. 
  6. Please join me in congratulating Nikhil Lohchab on being promoted to the position of Senior Vice President. Nikhil has been instrumental in shaping the supply acquisition & management at OYO Vacation Homes (OVH), including driving tuck ins. Nikhil started his journey with OYO as Operating Partner focused on driving the integration of @Leisure post acquisition in June 2019. During this stint he drove the business value creation & growth plan and then got down to executing it for the Supply team. Under his leadership, OVH put in place hunting-focused BDMs for the first time in the business, and achieved ~4x jump in new homes sourced, while maintaining quality and productivity to achieve a payback period of 7-8 months. He also led tuck-in acquisitions and closed some impactful deals including La Mathilde and AirSimple. La Mathilde for example is on track to achieve ~50% higher GBV vs the deal expectations for the first 12 months since acquisition. Nikhil also played an active role in managing leadership transition at Traum for a period in time, a business that is critical to OYO’s overall profitability aspirations. 
  7. Gautam Swaroop, CEO, OYO International (Draw from his success in China to lead a group of Challenger markets and a new OYO International Organisation). Given his strong track record and OYO’s focus on bringing shared learnings and leadership Gautam will now be the CEO of OYO International which include China, US, UK, UAE, KSA, Thailand and Vietnam. Overall OYO International has seen EBITDA improvement by 90+% in the last 12 months, with China also improving by 95+% and is all set to be less than <$1mn in the months to come.
  8. Prasun Choudhary, President, OYO International (Leader in making OYO International successful). Prasun has been a long-time OYO leader who has proven his ability to scale up OYO’s business in different counties, cultures and working environments time and again. Prasun will work closely with Gautam to drive the success of OYO International in China, US, UK, UAE, KSA, Thailand and Vietnam.


Bidding farewell to some of our loved colleagues 


Raj Kamal – Raj joined OYO in January 2020 as COO of OYO Vacation Homes and then took the baton from Tobias to run OVH with Maninder’s support as the leader of overall Europe business. Under Raj’s leadership, we have seen OVH not just weather the COVID storm but come out stronger as a unit, with performance of some countries better than 2019, addition of TUI Ferienhaus family to OYO, a very strong focus and delivery on profitability, senior leaders at their highest levels of motivation, global teams managing remote work, and most importantly we saw teams, and cultures come together as one for OYO’s mission. 2020 was one of the most challenging years for OVH and Raj led from the front with his team and OVH was able to lead the recovery. Raj’s departure is a big loss for OYO. Raj, at this stage, wants to spend much more time with his family. He will leave a big void, but we look forward to supporting Mandar and Ayush who are taking his place and have big shoes to fill.


Prasidha Menon – While we already bid farewell to Prasidha a few weeks ago, I wanted to use this email to express my gratitude for all the amazing work she did at OYO. Prasidha joined us in mid 2018 after a stint at Uber. In her two and half years, she rebuilt the entire communications function creating a very capable and committed team. She led OYO’s overall external positioning through both highly optimistic and critical periods. Her understanding of business, stakeholder relationships, integrated media strategy and overall passion for OYO customers and partners, exemplified her as an OYOpreneur we all aspire to be. 


As we move into Q2, we have set ourselves some important milestones. OYO Europe to continue to deliver EBITDA positive business. We are already seeing significant uptick in bookings for summer. Q1’2021 revenues have outperformed targets with more than 50+% bookings for the summer season. India has delivered positive EBITDA since Dec 2020 and we should continue to improve EBITDA. SouthEast Asia is on path to recovery and we look to achieve our targets in Q2’2021.


I would like to congratulate all the leaders on their new and additional roles and wish them all the best. 2021 is the year of resurgence and I believe we will be able to out-achieve our business plans by creating value for hotel partners and homeowners and by delivering great experiences for our customers. Like every week, I will speak to all of you soon in our Weekly All Hands sessions.

Take care and stay safe!



Meet the author / Ankita Tuli