The Netherlands: Tobias Wann has stepped down as the CEO of OYO Vacation Homes, with COO Raj Kamal taking over the leadership role with immediate effect.
Despite the move, Wann will continue to act as a special advisor to OYO’s global vacation rental business. Since Indian hospitality chain OYO Hotels & Homes acquired Dutch vacation rental company @Leisure Group last May, before rebranding it to OYO Vacation Homes that July, he has played a significant role in expanding and strengthening OYO’s business and presence in Europe.
Kamal was appointed as OYO Vacation Homes’ COO in January.
OYO Vacation Homes offers desirable private homes in ideal locations, which are all fully managed by OYO. It operates a number of brands, including Belvilla, Dancenter and Germany-based Dream Vacation Rentals, as well as providing international and domestic travellers and city dwellers with access to more than 130,000 homes around the world.
Ritesh Agarwal, founder and Group CEO of OYO Hotels & Homes, said: “Tobias joined the OYO family at a time when we were young and determined to explore the European market, and introduce our unique range of hospitality.
“In 2019, OYO Vacation Homes opened its doors in Europe with the promise to offer guests from all over the world travelling to Europe a wide range of vacation properties and the OYO experience of the extra class. Tobias and his team of exceptional professionals have chosen to take this opportunity and join us on our mission to change people’s lifestyles, and we will always be grateful to them for that.
“Since then, Tobias has played a crucial role in leading this company from one success to the next. Within a short time, we joined forces with more than 50,000 house owners and were able to offer new houses in the most important holiday countries, including Spain, Austria, Belgium, France and Italy.
“In the meantime, we have grown to become one of the world’s leading providers of holiday homes; all of our affiliated brands are very well positioned. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tobias for being a great leader and partner for us and making a valuable contribution to the business.
“We wish him the best for his future activities and look forward to his support as the company’s special advisor,” he added.
Agarwal continued: “It is a great pleasure for me to introduce Raj Kamal as the new CEO of OYO Vacation Homes. Raj Kamal started with us as COO and quickly demonstrated his skills in further expanding the company’s Europe-wide position as a preferred choice for guests and partners for homeowners.
“Having someone of your calibre as a partner who has a deep understanding of global companies will make a decisive contribution to accelerating the strengthening of our presence in the region,” he added.
Wann said: “The last five years at @Leisure and then at OYO Vacation Homes have been absolutely wonderful for me. I am incredibly grateful and proud of what our teams and partners have achieved together.
“Today, OYO Vacation Homes serves millions of guests with the promise to spend quality stays in beautiful private homes in great locations while successfully brokering the business for our over 50,000 homeowners. From building a strong company in the Netherlands, we have developed into a leading global vacation rental company through a successful buy-and-build strategy.
“It was during the @Leisure Group’s sale to OYO in May 2019 that I decided to pass on my responsibilities over the course of the coming year. Now that we’ve emerged stronger from the Covid-19 crisis, it’s a good time to hand over to Raj Kamal, with whom I’ve worked successfully for the past six months,” he added.
Raj Kamal, the newly-appointed CEO of OYO Vacation Homes, said: “I am very honoured by this opportunity and the trust that Ritesh and the entire OYO management team have placed in me. I’m sure I’m following in great footsteps because Tobias leaves a legacy with which he has set new standards for excellence, hard work and resilience.
“Today, OYO Vacation Homes has become a household name for discerning travellers and homeowners through its various brands – Belvilla, Dancenter and Dream Vacation Rentals. We will continue to add value to this valuable ecosystem by leading the way and setting new standards of excellence for OYO and the hospitality industry in general.”
The Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting international and national closures have had a “profound” impact on the occupancy and income of OYO Hotels & Homes, including its vacation rentals division. This week, it was revealed that a “large majority” of OYO’s furloughed employees in the United States were likely to be laid off.
However, now that the world is gradually recommencing its hospitality operations, the company says that it is seeing progress in particular at OYO Vacation Homes. Since the beginning of June, occupancy and demand for all brands, including Belvilla, Dancenter and dream apartments, have shown an upward trend, according to OYO.