The COVID crisis has been quite challenging for the hospitality industry because lockdowns impacted both hotels and vacation homes, he added.
Agarwal was speaking at the first session of the Global Unicorn series organised by CII in partnership with SoftBank India.
“So when the COVID crisis hit, our revenues fell by upwards of 50 per cent, I would say even little upwards of 70 per cent actually at the worst, in early months of impact,” Agarwal said.
But the company was able to respond to the crisis by making various adjustments on both the customer side and the partner side, he added.
“On the customer side, we realised that trust is very, very critical now more than ever before. So, we partnered with Unilever to ensure that service quality and training are improved. We ensure that all our hotels were designed in a manner where ease of access and search was made,” Agarwal said.
Highlighting that people now prefer vacation homes, he said: “Massive amount of the scale of consumers that are going to leisure destinations and are choosing vacation homes as the number one choice because now people are travelling with families”.
This is a segment that is witnessing a huge uptick even more than hotels, especially mid to upper market hotels, he added.
“At OYO Vacation Homes (OVH), we are recording strong and healthy booking and occupancy trends. Our brand DanCenter recorded significant growth of 137 per cent in its bookings, while Belvilla’s bookings increased by 56 per cent,” Agarwal said.
This trend is explained by the preference of travellers towards holiday homes in today’s uncertain times as the same offers private space while maintaining distance from others, he added.
OYO also expects the trend of celebrating domestic holidays will continue for some time to come and guests will continue mainly choosing houses close to nature, Agarwal said.
“Small is the new big, which is small hotels, small vacation homes will be a very active preference,” he added.