OYO rooms: A desired destination for world-class stay
Hello, everyone! In India, the problem of finding affordable accommodations is massive. The challenge is not discoverability, rather it is the lack of predictability in hotel stay experiences. Travelers are all too familiar with nightmarish encounters in standalone hotels in India. Contrary to promises, guests arrive at ramshackle buildings, missing signage, leaky washrooms, torn mattresses, unclean floors, sputtering air-conditioning, non-acceptance of credit cards and so on. No one wants to stay in those kinds of places, no matter what he pays. It is the trust deficiency that OYO is trying to combat.
In the series of startup stories, today Themedots presents to you story of OYO rooms. OYO Rooms is India’s first technology driven branded network of hotels with the presence in cities like Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Jaipur, and Hyderabad.
Ritesh Agarwal, the first Asian resident to win the Thiel Fellowship is the founder-CEO of OYO rooms. He started with Oravel Stays in 2012 as a website that collects and displays information from different sites. After some time, changed it to the currently managed marketplace of OYO rooms. It is headquartered at Gurgaon, Delhi NCR, India.
Their goal is to change the way people stay away from home. OYO room is India’s largest branded network of hotels spread across 102 cities with 1500+ hotels offering standardized stay experiences at an unmatched price.
We can understand about services provided by OYO rooms in just three key points as following:-
- Technology Driven
From a single hotel in May 2013 to over 1500+ hotels at present, it is an inspiring journey from a smart idea to India’s largest branded network of hotels with the dream of becoming the world’s largest branded network of hotels.
- Jan 2013- 1 property
- June 2013- 3 property
- July 2014- 13 property
- Now- 1500+ properties
About Ritesh and OYO
Ritesh is making headlines after his startup, a technology driven the network of hotel rooms got funding of USD 100 million (Rs.636 crores) by SoftBank Japan. But it’s not just the money that is making news. What’s also caught people’s eye apart from his age, is his story.
Ritesh Agarwal was born in Bissamcuttack, a village in Rayagada district of Odisha. He was interested in computers and started coding software when he was only 8 years old.
Image Courtesy: tnooz.com
At 16, he was among 240 children selected to be part of the Asian Science Camp held at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai.
When he was 17, he became the youngest Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in India, of a company called Worth Growth Partners. The same year his financial conditions went down. He had to spend many nights on the stairs leading to his flat in Masjid Moth in New Delhi because his landlord wouldn’t let him in before he paid his dues.
A college dropout, who once wanted to sit for an engineering exam, Ritesh today heads among the most valuable startup by a person who never studied beyond school. He even sold sim cards to survive, afraid his well-off family would end his entrepreneurial dreams and summon him back home to Odisha if they knew of his struggles.
When he was 18, he founded Oravel, an Indian version of the online rental site Airbnb. The same year, he got funding of Rs.30 lakh from Venture Nursery, an accelerator which brought together a bunch of storied investors to nurture startups. In the age of 19, Ritesh was selected for the Thiel Fellowship– a global contest in which he was the only winner from India. It offers students under the age of 20, $100,000 over two years (about Rs.2.7 lakh per month), as well as guidance and other resources, to drop out of school and create a start-up.
When he was 19, he chucked the idea of Oravel, the Airbnb clone, and changed his business to OYO stays, a marketplace for branded budget hotels, just as Ola cabs is a marketplace for cabs.
Ritesh Agarwal’s online marketplace for affordable stays, OYO rooms, received $100 million in funding from SoftBank a few days back. Agarwal is 21, and demographically aligned to a youthful country full of young entrepreneurs. Using technology and standardization, he is building what is one of the few non-copycat startups in an India with many Uber and Amazon imitators. OYO Rooms currently offers 14000 rooms in 100+ cities. His closest branded hotel competitor is India’s iconic Taj Hotels, run by conglomerate Tata’s Indian Hotels, whose current inventory of about 9000 rooms, albeit in the upper end of the hospitality segment, is to double soon.
The funds will be used to build a network of branded budget hotels across India. Titled OYO Rooms, the firm will team up with property owners across India and make sure that their facilities met a slew of requirements from linen quality to breakfast to Internet access for a starting price of Rs.999 or 16 dollars a night.
The firm has booked nearly 1,00,000 stays so far since it started two years ago. They have teamed up with more than 1500 hotels across 102 cities in India.