Udayavni Special

OYO – Will this hospitality titan fall?


Harsha Rao, Jan 18, 2021, 9:00 AM IST

The second day of the new year saw an expose’ report in a prominent American news entity allegedly stating mismanagement and corruption in one of India’s most highly recognisable hospitality brand – OYO.

The report alleged that OYO was not paying its hotel partners their due and was involved in illicit practices to wrongly show high numbers of hotels and room availability.

It further reported that court cases and police complaints have been filed against the eight-year-old start-up in many parts of the country for the same.

Apart from these allegations, there were also other reports stating that OYO has become synonymous with ‘love hotels’ in many towns.

Ritesh Agarwal founder of OYO has reportedly said in an interview that the company did list hotels which had left partnering with it on its website and app in a supposed effort to get them back later.

Another official from the company had also stated that there are hotels listed with them that do not possess proper licenses and permits.

Since its founding in 2013, OYO has expanded to 80 countries offering more than 10 lakh rooms combined.

The company is presently valued at more than $8 million after receiving $1.5 million from the Japan-based SoftBank Group in October 2019.

The American news report also claimed that past employees of the company are not happy with the conduct of many of the company’s operations and the pressure mounted on subordinates.

The report also alleges that to allow unlicensed hotels to continue operations the company gifted free room stay to government officials and police as a bribe.

Whether the American news report or other allegations made by former employees and others are true or not it is sure that with the COVID-19 pandemic not mitigating in the near future OYO and India’s hospitality industry can, for now, only count loses.

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