Home renting company Airbnb has made a significant investment in Indian hospitality chain OYO Hotels & Homes, ending weeks of speculation and expanding deeper into the hotel booking business to attract a wider gamut of travellers.
Confirming the strategic investment, Greg Greeley, president of homes, Airbnb, told CNBC-TV18 that in many markets, OYO is empowering local hospitality entrepreneurs to provide more options to more travellers. “We share a dedication to offering people more choices when traveling and we’re excited to partner with OYO as we work to make Airbnb for everyone.”
Both Airbnb and OYO are also exploring ways to collaborate, including making OYO accommodations available on the Airbnb platform.
Airbnb will invest between $100 and $200 million in the SoftBank Group-backed OYO, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
In recent years, emerging markets such as India and China have emerged as Airbnb’s fastest growing. Airbnb has pressed hard to expand its inventory by adding listings from hotels — long held as a direct competitor — as it looks to coax travellers who are skittish about renting a stranger's home into its fold.
For OYO, the Airbnb partnership opens up new avenues and distribution channels at a global level. Airbnb lists in more than 81,000 cities in 191 countries around the world.
“Airbnb’s strong global footprint and access to local communities will open up new opportunities for OYO Hotels & Homes to strengthen and grow while staying true to our core value proposition,” said Maninder Gulati, Global Chief Strategy Officer at OYO Hotels & Homes.
Last month, Airbnb acquired HotelTonight, an app for discovering hotel rooms at a discount.
Both parties have not disclosed the terms or the quantum of the Series E investment in OYO.
Though Airbnb directly competes with travel websites such as Expedia and
Bookings.com, the partnership with OYO is not exclusive. The Indian company will continue working closely with Bookings.com and Expedia.
Fundamentally, distribution companies have trouble with supply. This is probably where Airbnb sees value in working with suppliers like OYO Hotels & Homes in markets like India where the latter has a strong foothold.
(With inputs from Reuters)