”Word-Of-Mouth Marketing Helped OYO Take Off In 2013-14”: Founder Ritesh Agarwal

Oyo Rooms, which specialises in no-frills accommodation, was formed in 2013.

Ritesh Agarwal, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Softbank-backed OYO, posted a snippet of an old interview on X wherein he was seen talking about his company’s early days. He shared how the startup’s first patron, Yadav ji from Gurugram, had no faith in OYO. However, later word-of-mouth marketing helped his patron get more customers and helped the company take off. Now, OYO has over 1,40,000 properties all over the world. 

”Our first patron, Yadav Ji from Gurgaon, had no faith in OYO. A few months later he told all his friends how ”YOYO” got him more customers. This word of mouth helped us take off in 2013/14. In India, the most powerful marketing channel is word of mouth. No amount of ad spends will equal the trust and credibility of a word-of-mouth recommendation,” he wrote along with the video.

Watch it here:

Word-of-mouth marketing, considered a powerful tool in business, relies on audiences that organically share the word about brands. The tactic is used to generate natural discussions about and recommendations for a product or company. 

Many users agreed with Mr Agarwal and posted a variety of comments in response. One user wrote, ”Word of mouth remains unparalleled in its influence and impact!” Another said, ”Yadav ji was so bang-on-target!”

The entrepreneur, now one of the country’s youngest billionaires, founded OYO when he was just 19 years old. Oyo Rooms, which specialises in no-frills accommodation, was formed in 2013. 

Notably, Oyo teams up with owners of budget hotels to help connect them with tourists looking for cheap but clean accommodation that meets certain hygiene standards. OYO now operates in over 800 cities in 80 countries and is considered one of the fastest-growing hotel chains in the world.

”Travelling across India at the age of 17, Ritesh stayed in more than 100 bed and breakfasts, guest houses, and hotels to realize there was a massive dearth of affordable and good-quality hotels in the budget hotel category. He believed that everyone deserves a beautifully designed, chic and comfortable living space. And everyone deserves a better life. That’s how OYO was launched in May 2013. OYO today is the world’s leading chain of hotels, homes, and spaces,” reads a note on the OYO blog. 

Recently, Mr Agarwal also became the youngest shark on the panel of Shark Tank India Season 3.

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