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OYO Hotels (US) Eye Saudi Recovery After COVID-19 Pandemic

25 Feb 2021 - Indian hotel and hospitality chain OYO Hotels and Homes is on track to return to pre-pandemic occupancy levels, with 15 percent of the company’s properties already hitting that mark, a spokesperson told Arab News.

A hospitality chain of leased and franchised hotels, homes and living spaces, OYO has had a presence in Saudi Arabia since September 2019, when an agreement was signed with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority to invest SR4 billion ($1.07 billion) developing its portfolio across the Kingdom.

Today, OYO accounts for more than 18,000 rooms in about 200 hotels across 22 Saudi cities and provinces.

Despite periods of “very low” revenue during the lockdown last year, Bader Saidan, head of OYO’s Saudi operation, told Arab News that business was now on an upward trajectory.

“The journey we have experienced in Saudi Arabia provides us with some key learnings, including how to further strengthen our foundation by better using our resources, as well as the technology we have, to deliver better value to our partners and customers in the country. Our supply is growing, and occupancy is coming back, with 15 percent of properties already at pre-pandemic levels,” he said.

While some of the chain’s properties remain closed, Saidan said that he expects “a significant proportion of the properties that are temporarily shut today to resume business over the next three months as the markets reopen.”

He added that the company’s primary method of booking, the OYO app, has rebounded faster than any other of their digital channels.

“We have also invested in revamping our technology platforms to more seamlessly integrate our customers and our partners, with improvements on the app for searches, contactless check-ins, and customized CRM (customer relationship management) based on properties the customer has stayed at,” he said.

However, the possibility of another lockdown or travel ban remains, but Saidan said that while he believed the government will do what is best to keep people safe and the economy running, the hospitality industry must also actively work on defining “Hospitality 2.0” in a new normal.

Arab News