Skift India Summit 2024: Oyo’s Funding Needs, Future of Air India and More – India Report



Oyo SIS

Skift Take

Oyo’s IPO has been in focus for years. Its profitability and subsequent stable situation is indicative of the robust Indian hotel industry.

At the inaugural Skift India Summit held at The Leela Ambience Gurugram on Wednesday, hospitality chain Oyo’s CEO Ritesh Agarwal addressed the speculation around its potential IPO. He said that the company does not have a need to raise money at this stage from the public or private markets. Oyo is currently focusing on delivering good earnings results, he said. 

Oyo’s IPO journey: The company had filed for an IPO in 2021. It was, however, asked to refile documents by regulators in January 2023. Since then, there has been speculation around when Oyo will be listed. Last month, a media report stated that the hospitality chain might withdraw its papers from the regulator and that it was looking to raise funds from private investors. The Agarwal-led company refuted that claim. 

“My view is that, at this point of time, we don’t need access to capital from either the public markets or the private markets,” said Agarwal on Wednesday. “Currently, our focus is just delivering good earnings results, and so on.”

Air India to Undergo Overhaul, Says CEO Campbell Wilson

Air India chief executive officer Campbell Wilson revealed his ambitious plans for the former national carrier. Wilson is looking to restore the airline to its “top tier and world-class airline” status. Air India, which was acquired by the Tata Group in 2022, has got a new logo and brand identity, along with new business class cabins and cabin crew uniforms. 

The average age of the airline’s workforce has gone down from 54 years to 35 as Air India has hired around 5,000 people over the past year and a half.

The airline is also attempting a cultural overhaul that emphasizes performance.

“There were no metrics of success. There were no rewards for doing well,” Wilson said. “There were no consequences for not doing well. And so you end up with an organization where there is a malaise.”

Marriott Expects India to be Its Third Biggest Market

With strong belief in India’s continued growth, Marriott International is of the view that India could eventually be its third biggest market. President for Marriott International for Asia Pacific excluding Greater China Rajeev Menon said at the summit that out of the group’s 31 brands, 17 are operational in India. The latest brand brought into the country is Moxy, which debuted in Bengaluru earlier this year. 

He emphasized that the company spends time researching before introducing a brand in the Indian market. This includes customizing a brand according to preferences. He shared that Fairfield Inn was launched in India as Fairfield, and room service and a restaurant were added to its offerings in order to appease the Indian traveler. 

Asserting that the company currently feels it has the right mix of brands to sustain its growth in India, Menon said Marriott could consider bringing its international brands to the country.

We Want Indian People Here: Dubai Tourism CEO Issam Kazim

Dubai is seeking more Indian travelers, especially as the emirate is witnessing a surge in demand from the South Asian nation. Asserting at the Skift India Summit that the ties between Dubai and India are strong, Dubai Tourism CEO Issam Kazin said that the emirate has rolled out many visas. He added that they are looking to have more travelers seeking weekend getaways, sports, and tourism, along with those visiting friends and relatives. 

India has been the largest inbound market for Dubai since 2015. The emirate has been therefore ramping up its efforts to attract more Indian travelers.

For instance, Dubai Tourism had partnered with Indian movie superstar Shah Rukh Khan in 2022 to promote the destination in an organic manner, Kazim said. Bollywood is a big travel generator for Dubai, he added.

American Travelers Are Becoming More Aware of India

Americans are becoming more aware of India and Indians, said U.S. Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti at the Skift India Summit. He said that historically, there has been a huge demand among Indian tourists to visit the U.S., while the reverse has not been the case. 

He also spoke about the roadblocks and opportunities in travel between the two countries, especially with regard to the long wait time for visas for Indians. Garcetti said that he was asked by President Joe Biden to work out this issue and reduce the wait time for Indian travelers to obtain a visa. The country has brought down the wait time from 1,000 days post-pandemic to 250 days now.

Oberoi’s Nature Hotels

At the summit on Wednesday, Oberoi Group managing director and CEO Vikram Oberoi revealed the company’s move to develop new hotels close to nature. They would be smaller, he said, and some would be located in “beautiful locations.” Internally and temporarily known as Oberoi Nature, they would help the group in doubling its overall room inventory by 2030. 

Oberoi said Indian hotels are not taking advantage of the pricing power they can command. He said that the Indian rates offer fantastic value for money as compared to the rest of the world. He also said that the company is seeking to have 50 new hotels by 2030.

Online Travel Agencies in India Working on Long-Term Customer Retention Strategies

As India’s tourism industry is growing, the online travel agencies are attempting to formulate strategies that help in long-term customer retention. While speaking at the Skift India Summit, Yatra Online co-founder and CEO Dhruv Shringi and MakeMyTrip co-founder and group CEO Rajesh Magow agreed that the Indian market has potential to become massive. 

They asserted that the Indian market has room for many players, eliminating the need for battles among competitors. Both Magow and Shringi said that the focus for online travel agencies needs to be improving internal strategy rather than obsessing with moves made by competitors. 



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