The Success Story of Ritesh Agarwal | Founder & CEO | OYO Rooms: The Millennial Entrepreneur Who Redefined Success

The Success Story of Ritesh Agarwal | Founder & CEO | OYO Rooms: The Millennial Entrepreneur Who Redefined Success


Ritesh Agarwal is a young entrepreneur from India, who developed his business drive at a young age. He used to love traveling since his childhood. During his travels throughout India in his teenage years, he identified a consistent problem that was no affordable hotels with consistent quality for budget-conscious travelers.

This firsthand experience ignited a vision to revolutionize the hospitality industry by offering reliable and predictable stays at an accessible price.

He kept his vision and entrepreneurial spirit alive and in 2023, Ritesh launched OYO Hotels & Homes (originally Oravel Stays) at the remarkable age of 19. OYO’s core mission was to transform the budget hotel sector.

The company aimed to bridge the affordability and quality gap by partnering with independent hotel owners and standardizing their offerings. This business involved ensuring consistent amenities, clean and comfortable rooms, and a simple booking process at a price that catered to the larger audience.

The Success Story of Ritesh Agarwal | Founder & CEO | OYO Rooms


NO. Index
1 Ritesh family background
2 How did it start?
3 Ritesh’s Education background
4 The Genesis of OYO Rooms
5 Navigating through failures and setbacks
6 Key traits of Ritesh Agarwal
7 Strategies employed to overcome challenges
8 Business Model
9 Revenue Model
10 OYO’s Growth Aspects
11 Faqs


Ritesh family background

While specific details about Ritesh Agarwal’s family background remain somewhat private, it’s clear that his formative years in India played a crucial role in shaping his future.  According to some sources, his family ran a small shop which has further helped him to understand the realities of running a business from a young age.

How did it start?

During his teenage years, when he used to travel across India. These journeys, though were fun but exposed a critical issue in the hospitality sector which was the lack of standardized and affordable hotels for travelers who want budget-friendly offers.

Inconsistent amenities, unpredictable quality, and potentially high prices always become recurring sources of stress that hinder the enjoyment of travel. This firsthand experience of the challenges faced by Ritesh became the spark that ignited his entrepreneurial spirit.

Ritesh’s Education background

Ritesh completed his schooling at the Indian School of Business and Finance in Delhi. He got the real-world experience and the thrill of putting ideas into action.  Instead of just gaining bookish knowledge, he actively participated in various entrepreneurial events and conferences to get the real-life aspects of the world of business creation.

His hunger for practical knowledge ultimately led him to make a bold decision. At the remarkable age of 17, he chose to make a bold decision to change his expected path and drop out of college.

This wasn’t a decision taken lightly, but a calculated risk fueled by a clear vision – to revolutionize the hospitality industry and address every traveler’s challenges he had faced as a teenager. By leaving the familiar walls of academia, Agarwal embraced the uncertainties of the entrepreneurial journey and was extremely determined to turn his vision for a reliable and affordable accommodation network into a reality.

The Genesis of OYO Rooms

The genesis of OYO Rooms lies in the entrepreneurial journey of its founder, Ritesh Agarwal. Born and raised in a business family in Bissam Cuttack, Orissa, Ritesh showed an early interest in software and technology. He began coding at the age of eight and attended an Asian camp at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research at the age of sixteen.

Ritesh’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to start his first business venture at a young age. He founded Oravel Travels in 2011, which was initially modeled after Airbnb. However, he soon realized that there was a deeper problem in the affordable hotel sector in India beyond just availability.

Recognizing the lack of standardization and quality in budget accommodations, Ritesh transformed his business model. He launched OYO (On Your Own) Rooms in May 2013, aiming to address the issues of non-standard services and unpredictability in the hospitality industry.

OYO’s approach involved partnering with small and independent hotel owners, helping them improve the quality of their services through upgrades and support. The company’s model focused on providing affordable rooms with standard facilities while not owning any of the properties themselves.

With Ritesh’s vision and leadership, OYO quickly gained traction and expanded rapidly. The company secured funding, attracted investors, and achieved unicorn status by 2018. By 2019, OYO had expanded globally, establishing a presence in multiple countries and offering hundreds of thousands of rooms.

Ritesh’s relentless pursuit of innovation and commitment to customer satisfaction propelled OYO’s growth. Despite facing challenges and controversies along the way, including allegations of fraud and regulatory issues, OYO continued to thrive under Ritesh’s leadership.

Today, OYO is recognized as one of the largest and fastest-growing hotel chains globally, revolutionizing the hospitality industry with its unique business model and technology-driven approach. Ritesh Agarwal’s success story serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide, showcasing the power of vision, perseverance, and innovation in achieving remarkable success.

Navigating through failures and setbacks

Ritesh Agarwal’s journey has not been devoid of failures and setbacks. From the initial struggles of his first venture, Oravel Travels, to the regulatory challenges and controversies faced by OYO Rooms, Agarwal encountered numerous obstacles along the way. Despite facing financial difficulties, skepticism from investors, and legal issues, Agarwal persisted in his vision of transforming the hospitality industry. These failures and setbacks served as valuable learning experiences, shaping Agarwal’s resilience and determination.

Ritesh AgarwalKey traits of Ritesh Agarwal

Throughout his entrepreneurial journey, Ritesh Agarwal demonstrated remarkable resilience and determination. Despite encountering challenges, he remained steadfast in pursuing his goals.

Agarwal’s ability to bounce back from setbacks, adapt to changing circumstances, and stay focused on his vision enabled him to overcome adversities and propel OYO Rooms to success. His unwavering belief in the potential of his business model and his commitment to delivering value to customers and partners were central to his ability to overcome adversities.

Strategies employed to overcome challenges

Ritesh employed various strategies to overcome the challenges he faced. He leveraged his experience, knowledge, and skills to navigate complex regulatory landscapes and address legal issues.

Agarwal also fostered a culture of innovation and agility within OYO, enabling the company to adapt quickly to challenges and seize growth opportunities. Additionally, Agarwal prioritized building strong relationships with stakeholders, including investors, partners, and customers, to garner support and navigate challenges collaboratively.

Business Model

At its core, OYO operates as an aggregator and franchisor in the hospitality industry. Rather than owning properties outright, OYO partners with small and independent hotel owners, offering them a chance to improve their offerings through standardized practices and technological advancements.

Through its platform, hotel owners can list their properties and gain access to OYO’s suite of solutions for enhancing operations, marketing, and overall guest experience. This partnership model allows OYO to scale rapidly while empowering local hoteliers to thrive in a competitive market.

Revenue Model

OYO’s revenue streams are diverse, reflecting its multifaceted approach to the hospitality business. Here’s a breakdown of how OYO generates its income:

  • Franchise Fees: Hotel owners pay franchise fees to join OYO’s network and leverage its brand recognition, technology, and support services.
  • Commission: OYO earns a commission on each booking made through its platform, typically calculated as a percentage of the booking value.
  • Service Fees: OYO may charge additional service fees to hotel partners for specialized services such as marketing support, revenue management, and staff training.
  • Ancillary Services: In addition to accommodation, OYO may offer ancillary services to guests, such as food and beverage options, transportation, and entertainment, generating supplementary revenue streams.
  • Technology Solutions: OYO licenses its proprietary technology solutions, including property management systems and booking platforms, to hotel partners or third-party clients for a fee.

OYO’s Growth Aspects

Partnership and Franchising

OYO’s growth strategy heavily relies on partnerships and franchising agreements with hotel owners. By partnering with local establishments, OYO leverages existing infrastructure while providing standardized services and technological solutions.

Technology Integration:

OYO’s emphasis on technology plays a crucial role in its growth strategy. By leveraging proprietary technology solutions, such as property management systems and booking platforms. This integration of technology allows OYO to streamline processes and differentiate itself from traditional hotel chains.

Customer-Centric Approach

Throughout its growth journey, OYO prioritizes a customer-centric approach. By focusing on enhancing guest experience and satisfaction, OYO builds brand loyalty and attracts repeat customers. This customer-centric strategy contributes to OYO’s positive reputation and word-of-mouth marketing, driving further growth.

Global Expansion

Another key growth strategy highlighted is OYO’s global expansion. From its origins in India, OYO rapidly expanded its presence to international markets, including the UK, UAE, China, and Indonesia.

Strategic Funding

OYO’s growth is fueled by strategic funding and investments. By securing funding from venture capitalists, private equity firms, and strategic partners, OYO has the financial resources to fuel its expansion plans to invest in technology and explore new opportunities.


Ritesh Agarwal’s entrepreneurial journey began with a personal frustration which was the lack of affordable, standardized hotels for budget travelers. This sparked the creation of OYO, a hospitality company that partners with independent hoteliers to offer consistent quality and amenities at accessible prices.

Through a franchising model, technology integration, and a customer-centric approach, OYO has grown into a global leader by transforming the budget accommodation landscape and proving that a young entrepreneur’s vision paired with perseverance can revolutionize an industry.


Q. What inspired Ritesh Agarwal to start OYO?

A. Ritesh Agarwal was inspired by his own experiences as a teenage traveler in India, where he noticed a lack of affordable and reliable accommodations. This fueled his vision to revolutionize the hospitality industry.

Q.How did Ritesh Agarwal’s background influence his entrepreneurial journey?

A. Coming from a business family, Ritesh gained early exposure to the realities of entrepreneurship. His family’s small shop likely instilled in him a sense of resilience and determination that he later applied to founding OYO.

Q. What is OYO’s business model?

A. OYO operates as an aggregator and franchisor by partnering with independent hotel owners to offer standardized accommodations. It earns revenue through franchise fees, commissions, service fees, ancillary services, and technology solutions.

Q. How did Ritesh Agarwal navigate challenges during OYO’s growth?

A. Ritesh demonstrated resilience by using his experience, encouraging innovation within OYO, and prioritizing stakeholder relationships to adapt to ever-changing circumstances.

Q. What are OYO’s key growth strategies?

A. OYO’s growth strategies include partnerships with hotel owners, technology integration, a customer-centric approach, global expansion, and securing strategic funding.

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