OYO claims it has turned around its Japan business – calls 2020 ‘the year’ to focus on profitability

  • In a recent blogpost, the 26-year old founder Ritesh Agarwal said that it has been ‘emotionally tough’ for him.
  • OYO Life bookings for January 2020 were at 4,000 rooms which is a high occupancy rate as it has a total of 5,800 rooms in the country.
  • For OYO, which has been under scrutiny in the recent past, the gears have now turned from spending to focusing on profitability.
It has been a difficult year for the Indian unicorn OYO. From laying off hundreds of employees across geographies to increasing complaints from hotel owners about delayed payments, OYO has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

Amid all the melee, its Japanese business is showing signs of a turnaround. OYO Japan was one of the worst hit as its joint venture with Yahoo fell through late last year.

In spite of that, OYO Life booked 4,000 rooms in January 2020, said a blog post by Kavikrut and Prasun Choudhury, board members, for OYO LIFE, Japan and OYO Hotels, Japan respectively. This is high occupancy for the geography which has 5,800 rooms in total. It has an occupancy rate of 65-70%.

“We swiftly turned our widespread operations into a fully focused effort. In our long-term housing rental business, we exited strategically identified keys, merged functions, simplified processes, drove tech-enabled synergy, and enhanced efficiency,” wrote Kavikrut and Prasun Choudhury.

An emotionally tough time, says Ritesh Agarwal

The 26-year old founder of OYO Ritesh Agarwal said that it has been ‘emotionally tough’ for him, in a blog post. “It’s been an eventful start to 2020 and I have a lot to share. For many OYOpreneurs it may have been emotionally tough; it’s certainly been so for me,” he wrote.

OYO launched in Japan in 2019 and in the first year itself went through a whole list of ups and downs. Riding into the country on the back of its investor – SoftBank, OYO was hoping to make a splash, but it was soon mired by controversies.

Yahoo bought 30% shares in OYO’s subsidiary company in Japan – OYO Life in March 2019. However, within seven months in November, Yahoo sold those shares back to OYO.

While claiming that OYO has turned things around in Japan, OYO also mentioned the rollercoaster ride that most startups go through. In a blogpost, OYO calls the ups and downs something that an ambitious startup goes through.

“What you just read above is typical of what happens in startups. Especially very ambitious ones. Lots of ups and downs, changing decisions, hard work, slacks and emails, whatnot. And, of course, a fun learning experience like no other,” Kavikrut and Prasun Choudhury wrote.

Japanese hotel partners are happy with our support, say OYO

OYO claimed that hotel owners in Japan have been emphatic in their support for the company, contrary to reports

“Today, the majority of OHJ partners are satisfied with our services and speak highly of the on-ground support we provide. We have recently launched a call center in Japan as another means to support our hotel partners,” said Kavikrut and Prasun Choudhury.

For OYO, which has been under major scrutiny in the recent past, the gears have now turned from spending to focusing on profitability. “2019 was the year to learn and to experiment while being bold yet frugal, 2020 is the year,” OYO had said.

It fired almost 2,000 employees in the beginning of January as it began the process of restructuring to walk on the path towards profitability.

See Also:
Yahoo ends JV with OYO Life in Japan within 8 months after complaints from real estate owners
Ritesh Agarwal has a new task at hand – rebuild OYO’s battered image in the eyes of hurt hoteliers and customers
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