India’s Oyo Hotels eyes Saudi expansion, says CEO

India’s Oyo Hotels & Homes hopes to expand its offerings in Saudi Arabia and will likely meet its target of creating 5,000 jobs for Saudis earlier than anticipated, according to CEO Ritesh Agarwal.

In February 2019, the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Oyo signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in which they agreed to explore co-investment opportunities, create new jobs and develop “new sectors”.

“We look at Saudi as a very strategic growth market,” Agarwal said in an exclusive interview with Arabian Business. “The partnership is very special for us and we want to continue to go deeper.”

Agarwal said Oyo currently manages more than 80 buildings and properties in over 10 Saudi cities, including Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Taif and Abha.

“We’re in markets where having a great quality experience at the right price point really matters,” he added.

Additionally, Agarwal said that Oyo has “already created a significant amount of jobs for locals”.

“We have promised to create over 5,000 Saudi jobs by the end of next year,” he added. “We feel that we’ll exceed that by the second quarter.”

Regional expansion

Although he declined to give specific details, Agarwal said that Oyo is also exploring other opportunities in the region.

“Fundamentally, infrastructure investment and job creation are two things that we bring to countries,” he said. “We’ve received a lot of inbound interest from some countries. We are looking at potential opportunities, but it’s too early to comment on any specific country where we would launch.”

In a separate interview earlier in June, Manu Midha, Oyo’s regional head for the Middle East, said that the company plans to take its total rooms under management to 12,000 rooms in 150 hotels across the UAE by 2020.

Midha said that since Oyo was launched in the UAE last year it has welcomed 100,000 guests from 78 countries across 1,700 rooms in over 80 hotels.

Founded by Agarwal – now 25 years old – in 2013, Oyo is now present in 881 cities around the world, with approximately 850,000 rooms in over 23,000 hotels. It is now considered the third largest hospitality chain in the world based on room count.

The company aims to be the world’s largest hotel chain by 2023, surpassing Marriott.

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