OYO Rooms CEO, Ritesh Agarwal Writes A Letter To India
‘There is a strong opportunity to drive domestic tourism in the country’
(On the occasion of Republic Day, The Quint relaunches its campaign ‘Letter to India – Ek Naya Start’ and invites readers to send in suggestions to rebuild India after a tough 2020.
OYO Rooms CEO, Ritesh Agarwal shares how India can start afresh after the pandemic. The views expressed are his own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)
The past year has been transformational for each one of us. The world came to a standstill and life as we know changed like we never expected or thought was possible. But what kept us going was the hope for a better tomorrow. I strongly believe that you learn from every crisis and it accelerates your learning curve. One of the biggest learnings for me in 2020 was to never let a crisis go waste.
When I look at one of the greatest civilisations around the world, the biggest crisis in front of us made us stronger, better and allowed us to create huge successes. While the hospitality industry was one of the worst impacted by the pandemic, it also gave us a lens towards the future.
It helped us re-assess and re-tool with the power of technology, data and innovation while creating industry-first measures like sanitisation in front of your eyes, sanitised stays, contactless check-ins, and to adapt to a new normal to keep you safe whenever you are travelling out or stepping out in general.
Looking into 2021, I feel there is a strong opportunity to drive domestic tourism in the country. This is our time to be vocal for local and create better opportunities at the grass route level.
I remember the first time I had the opportunity and the honour to speak at the Start-up India event five years back. I promised that we will build a company where the products are designed in India but built for the world. That remains our biggest commitment.
I believe that a combination of vocal for local and designed in India but made for the world is a golden ticket to put the smaller hidden gems of India on the world map.
We seek to drive local opportunities and revive the financial condition of cash-strapped small and independent hotels and homeowners. I am proud to tell you that OYO opened holiday homes in Kevadia in Gujarat.
Each one of those homes is running at substantial occupancy much more than that of 60-70% in such tough times, showing you how small businesses can come onto the world map and get a substantial income. The cash-strapped small hotels and homeowners can also succeed.
The owners of equipping these destinations with good quality accommodations are on us and every hospitality player in the country.
And let me assure you that I and all the people in the hospitality industry are working hard in delivering the value proposition of better quality stay at the right price point and delivering safety and security to sanitise stay standard operating procedures.
We understand that as people gradually began to travel again and developments of the vaccine keeps us optimistic that travel and the holiday industry is likely to not just see it's recovery but probably see a substantial amount of growth.
I feel that 2020 has taught us the value of perseverance and being kind to each other and we should let these attributes drive us as we prepare to say goodbye to the pandemic.
As an entrepreneur, I am an eternal optimist and positivein my hope that the world would see better days in 2021. This is my hope for the world, this is my hope for the people of our nation.
I'd like to take this opportunity again to wish every Indian a very happy Republic Day.
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