India’s imposition of a countrywide lockdown since March 25 to curb the spread of the virus has hit the hospitality sector whose subsistence depends primarily on travel.
Oyo Hotels & Homes on Tuesday said business recovery in India may gradually start in the July-September quarter and it will take at least six months before business gets back to normal. The estimated projection is, however, based on the current scenario and hinges on how the situation evolves going ahead.
“We have too much information about the present and too little knowledge about the future right now. It (recovery) is going to be dependent on how pragmatically we navigate the economic realities that we are all faced with,” said Rohit Kapoor, CEO, India & South Asia. “The forecasted range is anywhere between six to 24 months, but I personally will like to go with the six months,” Kapoor said at a press conference scheduled to detail Oyo’s post lockdown preparedness.
Although Oyo in particular is not seeking any relief package from the government given its stable finances, the need of the hour certainly is to allow for graded opening of hotels, Kapoor said. The CEO added that Oyo is getting a lot of queries from corporates on whether its rooms can be used as temporary accommodation spaces for employees for easy access to office spaces. “Hotels are no more just about leisure or tourism. They are also about keeping basic economic activities running. We request the government to give us protocols and we will follow. But slowly, allow us to operate,” said Kapoor.
India’s imposition of a countrywide lockdown since March 25 to curb the spread of the virus has hit the hospitality sector whose subsistence depends primarily on travel. The current phase of the lockdown is set to end on May 31.
Last month, Oyo said it will send some India employees on leave with limited benefits for four months ending August. The Gurgaon-based company also asked all its employees in the country to accept a reduction in their fixed compensation by 25% effective for April-July payroll. Oyo’s consolidated losses increased to $335 million in the year to March 2019 from $52 million in FY18 on the back of expansion into international markets.
Kapoor said once the pandemic subsides, domestic tourism will get back in a big way and India’s international traffic will get diverted to the segment. Pilgrimages will lead travel and road trips will become a preferred option as people will feel safer to commute in their private vehicles.
In the briefing, Oyo said it has undertaken measures to ensure post-lockdown preparedness. The booking platforms will feature a ‘sanitised stays’ tag to showcase properties that clear background checks for sanitisation, hygiene and protective equipment. The company will also introduce minimal contact room service and train the housekeeping staff on the same. In the first phase, Oyo plans to implement the measures in 1,000 hotels within the next 10 days and will launch them in all the 18,000 domestic hotels as lockdown is eased.