OYO merges Japanese operations

OYO, the Indian hotel-booking startup backed by Masayoshi Son’s Softbank, is merging its operations in Japan and appointing a new chief executive officer to oversee the combined entity.

The reorganisation involves Oyo’s hotel-booking and apartment-rental units coming together into a single company called Oyo Japan, to be led by Ryoma Yamamoto as CEO with Ryota Tanozaki as his deputy. Both of them have been promoted from senior roles in the existing Oyo operations, said a Bloomberg report.

Japan has been a focal point for Oyo’s international expansion due to Son’s endorsement and association with the Softbank brand name. The company operated Oyo Hotels and Oyo Life — a simplified rental service for furnished apartments that removed the hassle of guarantors or security deposits — as separate businesses in the country, but its aggressive growth plans were thwarted by the coronavirus outbreak along with operational challenges and upset hoteliers along the way, the Bloomberg report said.

At the end of June, the start-up slashed its regional presence by closing offices in Sapporo, Sendai, Nagano, Hiroshima and Omiya. The moves are part of efforts to downsize internationally as the firm adapts to a much smaller tourism industry, the report added.