From Ritesh Agarwal’s Interview, founder and CEO, OYO Rooms. Last year in the financial year ending 2020, the revenue was Rs. 15,000 crores. He has lakhs of hotel rooms and has partnered with a number of people with hotels in more than 80 countries. - Valuation – $ 10 billion - FY 2020 revenue – Rs 15,000 crores - Millions of rooms - Partners - Hotels in 80 countries - Good market reach Through his insights on how to grow from one customer to many customers. Let's see key strategies from him on how he took OYO Rooms from one hotel to hotel rooms in more than 80 countries around the world. “When we started our business with just one hotel, the burning question in front of us was: - How do we establish five hotels? - How from one customer can we target hundreds of customers?" # **1 From 1 customer to 100 customers** The key point here was: - Replication of partners and customers - Team Our first hotel owner was Rajesh Yadav, who owned a small hotel near Huda City Centre. We studied various websites on what people look for in a hotel stay and we tried to replicate all those points in Rajesh Yadav’s hotel. His occupancy rose from 19% to 90%. But the important questions here were: how to replicate this? How do we bring in more customers as well as partner with more hotels? As soon as Rajesh Yadav’s occupancy rose, there was talk in the city that with the very first hotel itself, OYO had managed to increase business. To replicate more partners: `1. Getting our Partners:` Immediately after that, in South City 1, many other small guesthouse owners indicated that they would like to do business with OYO. On the OYO website, they had a phone number on top and started receiving a lot of phone calls asking partner with them. And so, their partner’s targets were being met. `2. Discount for Customers:` Simultaneously, they started handing out coupons to their customers who were staying with them. These coupons offered a 10 to 20% discount in the OYO hotels. They would give these to their customers, asking them to distribute them to their friends. This **word of mouth** promotion really helped. So, on the one hand, they increased occupancy levels for their partners from 20% to 90%, and on the other hand, they offered discounts to their customers. Customers were thrilled with their affordable rooms, which were clean and neat, with Wi-Fi and other amenities, such as air-conditioning. OYO rooms had also started another promotion of giving a small toilet kit full of toiletries as well as discount coupons. Mr. Ritesh Agarwal used to visit lots of friends, and saw that a lot of people were using this toilet bag at home including the Biotique toiletries given inside. This served as an advertisement as family members would constantly see it.         At this stage, they also made a TV advertisement. Mr. Agarwal is of the opinion that if you want to establish a cloud kitchen, you should make profits so that people all around come up to you and say that they want to partner with you as they want to share the profits with you. Swiggy and Zomato will also tell you to do more profit-sharing ventures like this in which profits rise. Customers will tell each other that the kind of home-cooked food you get from the cloud kitchen, you don’t get anywhere else.    `**3. Replication of Partners and Customers:` In this manner, you will be able to replicate both partners and customers very quickly. Begin with the target of 1 to 100 customers and from 1 partner to 5. `**4. Building a Team:` The next challenge is to build a team. When you expand, you realise that you can’t handle things on your own and you need a team to work with you. Look at partnerships that will work with you long-term. Initially, Mr. Agarwal had a call centre in which he would himself pick up the phone. Then, a young intern called Sahil joined him, who did a lot of good work, later. One day, he took a call in which the person on the other end wanted to speak to Mr. Ritesh Agarwal and asked whether he could be connected to the CEO’s office. Sahil said that he could have him speak to Mr. Ritesh Agarwal right away. And in this way, Mr. Agarwal spoke to Mr. Anuj, who had already worked with him earlier on Oravel Stays. The speaker had begun Oravel Stays after the 12th standard. Mr. Anuj was highly qualified — he was from IIT, and had experience in running several companies, and now worked as a consultant. Anuj indicated that he would be very excited to work with Mr. Agarwal as he loved his idea and concept. Mr. Agarwal told him that he would not be able to afford him. However, Mr. Anuj persisted and came over to meet Mr. Agarwal personally. They had a very exciting discussion, at the end of which, Mr. Agarwal told him again that he couldn’t afford him. After this, Mr. Anuj mentioned ESOP to Mr. Agarwal and said that he could join him as a shareholder and then settle for stock options. For the first two years, Mr. Anuj took no salary. Mr. Anuj was able to generate a lot of value for OYO and helped OYO grow from 1 hotel to more than 5 hotels. So, just like Mr. Agarwal created a team, you must do as well, but take only those people in your team who have faith in your idea and who will be involved in the growth of your business for the long-term. # **OYO Rooms Strategies (Summary by Mr. Sanjay Kathuria)** Let us analyse some of the strategies that Mr. Ritesh Agarwal told us about. **`1. Partners — Value**` - Be careful of the business partners you choose.  - Visited web portals to improve business. Through this, Mr. Agarwal found out how rooms rank higher in web searches. - He checked out on these websites what all are required and invested in that. - Mr. Agarwal helped his hotel partners so that their occupancy moved from 19% to 90%. **`2. Customer — Value** He took care of customer needs such as:` - Breakfast - Wi-Fi - Clean linen - Fulfilled other promises The customer was provided with lots of benefits at a reasonable price. **3. Existing Customers** - Coupons - Discount 10% to 20% - Word of mouth - Marketing - 92 to 93% - Customer - 92 to 93% So, with these strategies, Mr Ritesh Agarwal of OYO Rooms was able to multiply his business from one to many customers. Which strategy will you choose? Brainstorm with your team and go ahead.