September 19, 2018 / 10:05 AM / 3 months ago

India's largest hotel chain OYO set to expand into Britain

LONDON, Sept 19 (Reuters) - OYO, India's fastest growing hotel chain, is set to shake up Britain's budget accommodation market with a high-tech franchising and marketing strategy to sign up 300 independent hotels by the end of 2019, its founder told Reuters on Wednesday.

Marking its first expansion outside of Asia, the franchiser said it plans to invest 40 million pounds ($53 million) to launch in 10 UK cities over the next 18 months through a smartphone-based service aimed at both franchise owners and guests.

OYO is entering Britain's economy hotel segment, which is led by Whitbread's Premier Inn chain.

Other branded operators include private equity-backed Travelodge and Holiday Inn Express, a unit of Intercontinental Hotels Group.

Ritesh Agarwal, the company's 24-year-old founder, said in a phone interview that OYO aims to select hotels from among Britain's 35,000-40,000 independent operators, offering interior redesign and revenue management services to help them compete.

Since its founding in 2013, OYO has become South Asia's fastest growing hotel chain, with a network of 211,000 rooms in 349 cities.

($1 = 0.7588 pounds)

Reporting by Eric Auchard in London; editing by Jason Neely

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