OYO appoints COO to accelerate growth in UK & Europe

OYO Hotels & Homes has appointed Raj Kamal as Chief Operating Officer of OYO’s Vacation Homes business in the UK and Europe. The appointment comes as part of the company’s efforts to continue to invest in and attract world-class leadership, to drive innovation and growth in the company.

OYO Vacation Homes offers beautiful private homes in great locations, which are fully managed by OYO and make for a perfect choice for staycations. OYO Vacation Homes comprises multiple brands, including OYO Homes, Belvilla, Dancenter, Danland, and the Germany-based Traum-Ferienwohnungen.

OYO Vacation Homes offers international and domestic travellers, as well as city dwellers access to over 125,000 homes around the world. The company manages over 35,000 homes and services 90,000 homes through its digital services business, in over 50 countries. OYO Vacation Homes is also present in Asia and North America.

Maninder Gulati, Chief Strategy Officer, OYO Hotels & Homes, said, “In 2019, OYO Vacation Homes opened its doors in Europe with the promise of delivering great choice and the quintessential OYO experience to guests from across the world travelling to Europe. In a short period of time, we are making good on our promise of delivering world-class value to homeowners.

'Guests from all over the world create everlasting memories at these homes and we have delivered 25-30% more booking value over and above the existing value. In the last three months, we have onboarded 400 exceptional professionals to our team and widened our customer reach by working closely with 50 of the top distribution partners, including all major global OTAs.

'We have also added over 1,500 new homes across popular holiday destinations such as Italy, Spain, Croatia, France, and Denmark. Our diverse talent who we call OYOpreneurs will continue to be the force behind this momentum, delivering a high-quality experience to guests and increased yield for asset owners.”

Gulati added, “We are delighted to have Raj join our leadership team. Having someone of his calibre with a deep understanding of global businesses will be instrumental in accelerating our efforts in making OYO Vacation Homes the destination of choice for guests and a brand of trust for homeowners. Having known him, I have tremendous respect and appreciation for his leadership and execution abilities and am very excited to have him become an OYOpreneur.”

Raj comes with 25+ years of rich experience across financial services, investments, strategy and consulting domains. Prior to OYO, he was Global Head of Investments at PayU, the payments & fintech arm of Naspers Limited. Prior to this, Raj was a Partner with McKinsey & Company for over 12 years and, as the head of the Payments practice for APAC, he served banks, insurers, payments companies and asset managers across Asia-Pacific.

An alumnus of IIT-Bombay (Indian Institute of Technology) and the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad (India), Raj has also spent eight years as an IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officer in a range of roles including Chief Budget Officer of the state of Chhattisgarh and Chief Administrative Officer of a District in India.

Tobias Wann, CEO, OYO Vacation Homes, said, “I am excited about working alongside someone with the pedigree and gravitas of Raj. His deep industry knowledge, financial expertise, and business acumen will help us build a mission-driven organization with razor sharp-focus on quality, service excellence and delivering a value-driven experience for our homeowners. Raj’s appointment marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in OYO’s journey.”

Kamal said:“It's inspiring to see how a truly global brand from India is reinventing living spaces. The company has achieved great heights in a short time, its leadership is among the finest in the Indian startup ecosystem.

'It will be my honor and priviledge to work with the team. I look forward to the opportunity that lies ahead for the OYO Vacation Homes business in the UK and Europe, which are critical growth markets for the company. I am deeply energised by the dedication of thousands of OYOpreneurs who are driving guest and homeowner delight every day, and I hope to make a meaningful contribution to the business’ growth.”