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Ritesh Agarwal

Founder & Group CEO,
OYO Hotels and Homes

"I am a strong believer that every overnight success is a five-year-old growth story and I live by this approach."


 

EX: Biggest milestone in your life.
HIM: Success is always measured based on the impact that we have created. Since the inception of OYO Hotels and Homes, our focus has always been on creating affordable, high quality living spaces for travellers and a conducive business environment for our asset owners. During this journey, we have created over 200,000 direct and indirect job opportunities across India, South Asia, and China while training young hospitality enthusiasts.
Our foray into international geographies is a testament to the hard work and perseverance every leader and OYOpreneur (employee) has put into building OYO Hotels and Homes as the world’s fastest growing chain of hotels that is currently present across 500+ cities in 10 countries, including India, China, Malaysia, Nepal, UK, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Japan. This is an important milestone for us but I still feel it is Day zero for us. We are still a young company that has a lot to achieve in the years to come.

EX: Book(s) that have influenced your life.
HIM: Peter Thiel’s ‘Zero to One’. It successfully encapsulates the strategy behind running and sustaining a business, which is the most important thing to learn for an entrepreneur. It is an inspiring and thought-provoking read that teaches you how to think like a leader.

EX: An unusual app on your smartphone.
HIM: Not unusual but I have recently started using Spotify post their launch in India and it has been a great experience.

EXThe next product on your tech-wishlist.
HIM:  My phone and laptop are my go-to gadgets and I like to keep them updated with time.

EX: 3 habits you think are most important in order to be an effective leader.
HIM: For me, it is important to always invest in staying ahead of the curve, learning about things, preparing for meetings, so that I am able to add value to every conversation. Again, super important to be adding purpose to the job of every employee in the organization by driving their passion in the right direction. To be an effective leader, therefore, it is important to be open to new ideas, trust one’s instincts and surround yourself with people who bring more to the table in terms of insights and ideas.

EX: The best tech innovation according to you.
HIM:  I would say the coming together of technology and hospitality is among the biggest examples when it comes to tech-driven innovation. The hospitality industry, till a few years ago, was human intensive with every big and small player striving to provide quality services and amenities through its vast resource pool. However, things are taking a major turn and the hospitality landscape is transforming. With technology further touching the hospitality experience, both locals and travelers can book a standardized and predictable accommodation in minutes at the touch of their phone in 2-3 simple steps. For companies, this is a great time to innovate and unleash their potential to not just meet the changing requirements of customers, but also to revolutionize old industries to make them relevant to the 21st century.

EXYour ideas and views on sustainable technology
HIM: In terms of sustainable technology, we have enabled technology to power every aspect of hospitality from housekeeping to a simplified check-in and check-out process, further resulting in optimum utilization of resources. Our sophisticated renovation process helps in transforming a building within 14 days that saves resources while ensuring sustainable growth in the hospitality sector. We are ardent followers of ‘recycling and reusing’ and many of our assets have design aspects that are powered by this approach. Also, instead of huge mass of construction work to create properties and thereby adding to pollution level, we acquire existing properties, renovate and upgrade them.

EX: Your upcoming career goals
HIM: At OYO Hotels, we have a collective goal of becoming not just the largest but the most preferred and popular chain of hotels by 2023. We want to ensure that there’s an OYO for everyone, everywhere, and it is synonymous a sign of standardized and predictable experiences across the globe and with every hotel being added to our chain, we are nearing that goal with each passing day.