Airbnb Invests in Indian Hotel Startup

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. speculate / ˈspɛkjəˌleɪt / (v) – to guess

    Experts speculate that the reason for the company’s bankruptcy is weak management.

  2. strategic / strəˈtiːʤɪk / (adj) – planned carefully to achieve a goal

    The company is forming a strategic marketing plan for its new product.

  3. following / ˈfɒl oʊ ɪŋ / (n) – a group of people who support someone or something

    The new band quickly attracted a huge following among teenagers.

  4. break into / breɪk ˈɪntu / (phrasal) – to enter a new business or market

    My company is busy preparing to break into the European market.

  5. bring to the table / brɪŋ tuː ðə ˈteɪbəl / (idiom) – to offer or contribute something useful

    The project needs someone who has years of marketing experience to bring to the table.


Read the text below.

Home-sharing platform Airbnb has invested in OYO, one of India’s largest budget hotel chains.

OYO, which means On Your Own, was established in 2013. It started as a booking platform for affordable hotels in India, but it has now evolved into a budget hotel chain. Currently, OYO has over 13,000 hotels in eight countries, including China, Nepal, and the Philippines.

Neither Airbnb nor OYO has disclosed the financial terms of the deal. Nonetheless, media sources speculate that the investment was worth around $200 million.

According to a research analyst, the partnership is strategic for both parties. For Airbnb, this move means that its future listings will also include hotel rooms on top of its regular apartment and home rental offerings. Airbnb will also have the opportunity to see further growth in China and India, two large markets where OYO has established a strong following.

For OYO, exposure on the Airbnb platform can help the Indian company break into the US market. The partnership can also aid OYO in attracting more overseas travelers. Moreover, Airbnb can speed up OYO’s expansion plans by tapping into mid-segment hotel chains that include three- to four-star hotels.

Experts find the partnership interesting because the two companies were previously seen as rivals in the industry. But with the partnership, OYO will be known as a listing supplier for Airbnb and not as a competitor.

According to several hotel consultants, this kind of partnership has the potential to be successful. Because Airbnb offers home and apartment rentals and OYO lists hotels, both companies complement each other and will have important elements to bring to the table.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think partnering with OYO is a good business strategy for Airbnb? Why or why not?
• Which hotel chain in your country do you think Airbnb should invest in? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Do you think it is a good move to invest in the hotel industry? Why or why not?
• What other industries in your country are worth investing in (e.g. food industry, ESL industry)? Explain.