OYO Rooms need no introduction in today’s world, and Ritesh Agarwal is the man behind all the success of this world-class Hospitality Startup.
Story Behind The Idea
Everything started when he dropped out of college (Indian School of Business & Finance, Delhi) and started traveling places. In his travel journeys, he found out major problems in Hospitality Sector such as availability, standardization, and itinerary. He took the matter into his own hands and launched Oravel Stays, which later branched out to become OYO Rooms. Ritesh was highly inspired by Airbnb; the idea behind OYO Rooms was to provide high quality and Hygienic stay in budget price to fellow travelers and great travel experience.
Ritesh worked like hell to fulfill his dreams, to make OYO Rooms what it is today. In 2012 he launched Oravel Stays to promote homestays, Next year (2013) Ritesh took part in The Thiel Fellowship program and bagged a grand amount of $100,000 from Peter Thiel (Founder, PayPal) and became the First Asian to receive this fellowship cum incubation program of 2 years and re-launched Oravel Stays as OYO Rooms (On Your Own Rooms).
Things started getting change when Bhawna Agarwal got onboard (former CEO of SeventyMM, an E-commerce firm) for the role of Critical Business Advising. Both of them
planned everything prior and approached the goals, playing it safe and smart while leaving no stone upturned in their attempt to make OYO what it is today. Everything planned out perfectly and they had to increase the workforce from two to fifteen and then twenty-five and now 12,000+ globally.
OYO works on a model in which they do not own hotels, instead, OYO ties up with hotels, property owners after a thorough inspection and renovation of the property as per the OYO guidelines. It focuses on standardizing the hotels in the non-branded hospitality sector. OYO Rooms has been one of the most successful startups as it aims to solve the issue of affordability, hygiene, and most importantly availability of budget hotels all across the world with its Tech-based approach. They charges from the customers and pays to the property owners after taking their commission cut.
OYO has many competitors like Make My Trip, Treebo, Goibibo, Airbnb, Fab Hotels, etc; but OYO stands out from them as it is focused on budget hotels, and providing the best experience in terms of safety, hygiene and other standardized practices.
Products & Services Offered
OYO has launched many products/services over the years like:
OYO Townhouse: It is promoted as the neighborhood hotel in the midscale segment targeted to attract millennial travelers.
OYO Home: OYO claims it is India’s maiden Home Management System that offers private homes in different locations and are fully managed by OYO.
OYO Vacation Homes: It identifies itself as the world’s 3rd largest vacation home brand with vacation rental management brands Belvilla, Danland, and DanCenter along with Germany-based Traum-Ferienwohnungen.
SilverKey: It is launched in April 2018, to cater the needs of the corporate travelers with business trips for a short or long duration.
Capital O: It offers hotel booking services.
Palette: It offers the perfectly curated staycation for those in search of an intuitive experience at competitive prices, an upper-end leisure resorts category.
Collection O: It offers booking and renting services to business travelers.
OYO LIFE: It is targeted at millennials and young professionals in search of fully managed homes on long-term rentals, at affordable prices.
Today, OYO is recognized by everyone and it is operational in 80+ countries like China, Indonesia, Nepal, UAE, UK, Sri Lanka, Colombo to name a few of them. It has over 23,000+ hotels, 8,50,000+ rooms and 46,000+ vacation homes worldwide under its name. OYO has 10M+ downloads on Google Play Store and is in the top 3 apps under the category Travel and Accommodation.
In March 2016, OYO acquired and hired the team of Qlik Pass, founded by Rahul Gupta & Rishi Swami to set up and lead its Data Science Department. It acquired Chennai-based service apartment operator Novascotia Boutique Home marking its first major buyout as well as establishing its presence in the service apartment and corporate executive stay.
The company acquired Weddingz.in, a Mumbai-based online marketplace for wedding venues and vendors marking its entry into the fragmented $40 billion wedding industry.
In 2019, OYO announced the acquisition of Innov8 and Amsterdam-based The Leisure Group, Europe’s largest vacation rental company.
Funding & Partnerships
In 2018, OYO raised $100 Million from Star Virtue Investment Ltd at a valuation of $1 Billion and became a Unicorn.
In April 2019, OYO announced a strategic global distribution partnership with bed bank Hotelbeds. The company also announced two joint-ventures with Softbank and Yahoo! Japan. In the same year, OYO and Airbnb announced a strategic partnership with Airbnb investing in OYO and the company will list their properties on the Airbnb platform.
In March 2019, OYO announced a 1400 Cr investment in its India and South Asia businesses as a part of its efforts to increase infrastructure, strengthen technology and internal capability.
In August 2019, OYO made its first major investment in the United States by purchasing the Hooters Casino Hotel in partnership with US origin real estate company Highgate, for $135 million.
OYO has proudly become a Decacorn ($10 billion valuation) as per the last round of funding. Investors like SoftBank Group, Sequoia India, Greenoaks Capital, Lightspeed India, Hero Enterprise, Airbnb, and China Lodging Group have invested in this Hospitality Giant.
Ritesh Agarwal is a total inspiration to not only the Indians but people and entrepreneurs all around the globe.
“Start small, nail it, and then make it big.” – Ritesh Agarwal.