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OYO Rooms expands to Malaysia; looks at Africa, South America, South-east Asia next

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Branded budget hotel room aggregator OYO Rooms has started international operations and forayed into Malaysia. OYO joins a number of Indian startups which have expanded globally. Practo, Zomato, PrintVenue and FlatChat have operations internationally.

“Malaysia is our first port-of-call given the attractive characteristics of the market such as higher-than-average mobile penetration and a large internet population,” OYO Rooms founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal said in a statement. He added that the company is looking to expand to other countries in South-East Asia, Africa and South America.

In India, OYO Rooms has scaled to offer 40,000 rooms in its network. OYO Rooms operated as Oravel.com and pivoted its business from an Air BnB clone following operational issues. Founded in 2012, Oravel allowed users to search for short stay rooms and apartments in India. Users could list their serviced apartments, boutique properties and villas and travelers can book these properties from the site. Later the company shifted focusing on its budget hotel chain OYO Rooms.

Funding

In August 2015, OYO Rooms raised $100 million in a funding round led by SoftBank group and participation from existing investors Greenoaks Capital, Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed India.

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In March 2015, the company raised $20 million in a funding round led by Greenoaks Capital and other existing investors. In March 2014, Oravel had raised funding from DSG Consumer Partners, apart from Lightspeed Venture Partners. Oravel had raised its seed funding from angel investors which included Shravan Shroff, founder of Fame Cinemas, and Ravi Kiran, former CEO – South East & South Asia – Starcom MediaVest Group and angels Anand Ladsariya, managing director of Everest Flavours, Amit Patni, co-founder and chairman of Nirvana Venture Advisors and Bharat Banka, CEO of Aditya Birla Private Equity invested in the firm.

Delisted from online travel agents 

In November 2015, online travel agencies (OTAs) like MakeMyTrip and Yatra decided to delist budget hotel aggregators Oyo and Zo Rooms from its platforms. At that time, Kavikrut, Chief Growth Officer of OYO Rooms said that only 10-15% of its users came from OTAs and that most of its user base came via its app, website and helpline. MakeMyTrip then went on to launch its own budget hotel aggregation platform called Value+.

Similarly, in October 2015, travel booking website Yatra launched two new types of accommodation options for travellers, TG Rooms and TG Stays. In September 2015, online travel site Goibibo launched a new section on its website and mobile app called GoStays which aggregated unbranded budget accommodations.

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