OYO Founder Ritesh Agarwal’s Humble Beginnings”From Boss to Cleaning Staff”
Ritesh Agarwal, the CEO of OYO, recently shared insights into the early days of his career, where he not only led his own hospitality company but also assumed various roles within the hotel staff, including that of a front desk manager and cleaning staff. This article delves into Agarwal’s journey, highlighting a memorable incident and emphasizing the importance of unsung heroes in the hospitality industry.
At the age of 19, Ritesh Agarwal made a pivotal decision to drop out of college and became the first Asian recipient of the Thiel Fellowship. Armed with a grant of $100,000, Agarwal returned to India with a clear vision to launch his own hospitality venture, OYO. During the nascent stages of the company, Agarwal took on multiple roles within the hotel staff, demonstrating his dedication and hands-on approach.
Whether it was wearing the cleaning crew’s uniform, managing the front desk, or handling customer care, Agarwal immersed himself in all aspects of the business. In an interview with Biz Tak, Agarwal recounted a memorable incident from those early days. While cleaning a hotel room, he was confronted by an irate customer who scolded him for the delay in service. Unfazed, Agarwal diligently cleaned the room and presented it immaculately. To his surprise, the customer was impressed by Agarwal’s dedication and tipped him Rs 20 as a token of appreciation.
This incident holds significance for Agarwal as it showcases the invaluable contributions made by housekeepers, front desk managers, and other behind-the-scenes staff within the hospitality industry. Taking to Twitter, Agarwal emphasized that the real stars of the hospitality industry are often the unsung heroes who ensure guests have the best possible experience during their stay.
In a 2020 interview with Humans of Bombay, Agarwal further elaborated on the early days of his career. He revealed that he worked as part of the hotel staff, servicing rooms, babysitting, and even playing games like UNO with customers. Agarwal’s hands-on approach not only allowed him to understand the intricacies of the business but also earned him tips from appreciative customers.
Agarwal’s story serves as an inspiration, highlighting the importance of humility and hard work. His willingness to take on any role necessary, even cleaning hotel rooms, showcases his dedication to building a successful hospitality company from the ground up. It also highlights the significance of recognizing and appreciating the efforts of the often-overlooked staff members who play a crucial role in ensuring a pleasant guest experience.
Ritesh Agarwal’s early experiences as a hands-on CEO, donning multiple roles within the hotel staff, provide a valuable lesson in humility and appreciation. By sharing his journey and emphasizing the importance of the unsung heroes in the hospitality industry, Agarwal shines a light on the invaluable contributions made by front office managers, cleaning crew, and other behind-the-scenes staff in delivering exceptional guest experiences.
Ritesh Agarwalis the founder and CEO of OYO Hotels & Homes. Travelling across India at the age of 17, Ritesh stayed in more than 100 bed and breakfasts, guest houses, and hotels to realize there was a massive dearth of affordable and good-quality hotels in the budget hotel category.
Check out his tweet below :
The real stars of the hospitality industry are the front office managers, cleaning crew, receptionists and behind-the-scenes staff who ensure guests have the best possible experience during their stay.
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