Solidarity in the time of COVID-19 -- MS Supplement
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OYO commits to PH expansion despite the pandemic

OYO Hotels & Homes sees Southeast Asia as a strategic growth market and aims to strengthen its footprint in the region with a diverse portfolio of products that provide a great technology-driven hospitality experience through quality affordable accommodations for travelers and tourists.

“In Southeast Asia, we have grown from being a predominantly single country operation to launching multiple geographies,” said Mandar Vaidya, CEO of Japan, Southeast Asia and Middle East at OYO. “Covid-19 has delayed some of our plans, but we expect EBITDA to improve post the lockdown as is the case in Malaysia, the most mature of all the markets in SEA.”

Despite tourism and hospitality being some of the hardest hit industries during the pandemic, OYO remains optimistic about its stability as a company given the relatively good performance of its properties.

“Government-imposed travel restrictions and isolation protocols across the region have resulted in significant drops in demand at properties with an uncertain duration,” said Vaidya. “Based on the available industry data, OYO properties in SEA have fared better than the market in these troubled times, with OYO revenue per available room dropping by 5 percent vs 20 percent for the industry in February over January.”

The same data reveals that while industry occupancy in the Philippines dropped as low as 20 percent in May, OYO was able to maintain the occupancy rate of 40 percent. The company owes this to robust demand generation programs through their online and offline platforms, as well as through strategic partnerships.

At the height of the lockdown, OYO teamed up with the Office of the Vice President, government agencies and medical societies to help provide shelter homes for medical and essential workers. 

OYO properties became the preferred choice for the Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA) and the Department of Tourism for repatriated OFWs and seafarers. Since the beginning of the lockdown, OYO has serviced over 5,000 OFWs and 2,000 frontliners.

With lockdown restrictions lifted and new guidelines rolled out to jumpstart local tourism, OYO has made several steps ahead to prepare its properties and its partners to reopen to the general public.

“We are learning from trends in countries like Vietnam and Malaysia that are slowly coming back post lockdowns. In fact, in both countries, while our available capacity has almost doubled from April, our RevPAR is 25 percent higher as well in May. Learning from our experiences in these countries, we’ve observed that travel destinations near larger cities show very high occupancies during weekends, and customers prefer long stays, especially with offline partners,” said Ankit Gupta, country head of OYO in the Philippines.

“The most important trend we see is how customers are very keen to understand safety and sanitization protocols,” he said.

Responding to new consumer demands post-pandemic, OYO Hotels & Homes has rolled out its Sanitized Stays program in the Philippines. Properties that have been certified to have gone through the stringent program will bear the “Sanitized Stay” logo to signal to consumers that the property has passed OYO’s rigorous health check.

“In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the hospitality industry is facing a new normal in the way we operate. As a brand committed to offering safe accommodation options, OYO is proactively leading the change in housekeeping and cleanliness protocols within the hospitality industry, across all OYO properties. In this industry, maintaining the trust and confidence of guests is key and this is reflected in the guest-first approach OYO is taking through our new protocols, in order to provide reassurance and peace of mind to guests,” said Gupta.

Under the initiative, OYO will implement comprehensive hygiene protocols and step up vigilance measures pre and post-check-in and throughout its customer journey, to curb any potential spread of Covid-19.

Topics: OYO Hotels & Homes , Southeast Asia , COVID-19 , Mandar Vaidya , Ankit Gupta , Department of Tourism , Overseas Workers Welfare Association
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