Singapore: India's OYO Rooms (also know as OYO Hospitality and Homes) officially launched its hotels in Thailand earlier this month and declared its ambition to have two million rooms under management in Southeast Asia by 2025.
Speaking at the launch, Mandar Vaidya, OYO's CEO for Southeast Asia and the Middle East, said, "South East Asia and in particular Malaysia was OYO's first foray outside of India. Today, OYO is present in more than 250 cities with more than 2,500 franchised and leased hotels across Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. That number will rise with the addition of OYO Thailand."
He added that the expected influx of tourists particularly from Asia to Thailand, and the increased frequency of flights by airlines into Thailand, will reinforce OYO's market leadership position in the region and help it achieve its goal.
In Thailand, OYO has launched 250 franchised hotels with 8,000 rooms in 13 cities including the popular destinations of Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin.
Adding Thailand to the portfolio of countries in which it operates is an important milestone in OYO's expansion into Southeast Asia and is expected to play a significant role in the growth of its business in the region.
Although OYO already has operations in the important tourism markets of Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, Thailand with its varied attractions and experiences, together with its stunning landscape is perceived to be the crown jewel. For comparison, while the four countries it currently operates in attracted a total of 64.2 million tourists in 2018 - Malaysia 25.8 million, Indonesia 15.8 million, Vietnam 15.5 million, Philippines 7.1 million - Thailand itself saw 38.3 million foreign visitors arriving on its shores in 2018. Tourism contributes around 18 per cent to Thailand's GDP.
OYO was founded by Ritesh Agarwal in 2013 and is headquartered in Gurgaon. It claims to be the world's fastest-growing company and third largest global chain of operated hotels, houses, managed living and workspaces. It operates more than 23,000 properties in 18 countries across800 cities globally and employs over 17,000 people. Just in India and South Asia alone, it has 8,000 hotels. OYO mostly operates "chic" hotels and accommodation for the budget-conscious traveller.
It's business model encompasses offering guests a similar and consistent lodging experience across all its properties in any city. When customers book accommodation with OYO, they know what to expect and this helps them in planning their trip.
For its business partners, OYO offers franchisees a common booking platform, its technology expertise, financial know-how, operational and design capabilities so that properties can elevate their customer service and guest experience. As a result, partner hotels benefit through increased occupancy and profitability.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the fast-growing Indian hospitality business achieved a valuation of USD10 billion in July this year when its founder, Ritesh Agarwal, purchased USD2 billion in shares from venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners. This increased his stake in the company from 10 per cent to 30 per cent. Softbank owns almost 50 per cent of the company. Other prominent investors include Grab Holdings, Airbnb, Greenoaks, Didi Chuxing, Hero Enterprise and China Lodging Group.
Speaking at the OYO Thailand launch, Alpana Dubey, deputy chief of mission at the Indian embassy in Thailand, commented that more than 2 million tourists from India are expected in Thailand this year, and OYO has a key role to play in transforming the tourism landscape.
Dubey said, "OYO is one of India's success stories and a brand that's recognised not just in India, but globally," adding, "It gives me immense pleasure to welcome them to Thailand and wish them all success here in the Kingdom."
Country head of OYO Thailand, Ashutosh Singh, remarked that the group's mission is to upgrade all forms of real estate and enable the middle class to travel.
"The hospitality industry is going through a process of innovation and evolution with technology at the core of it all," he said.
"OYO is committed to partner with the government of Thailand and agencies like the Tourism Authority of Thailand to leverage technology to design new offerings and draw more tourists to Thailand. We are committed to offer a superior stay and travel experience to millions of guests in Thailand while helping improve the yield for independent hoteliers in the country," Singh added.