SoftBank Group Corp-backed Indian hospitality startup Oyo will rebrand Hooters Casino Hotel in Las Vegas in a deal that a source with knowledge of the matter said was worth $135 mn.
Oyo and Highgate will spend $20 mn in total to renovate the hotel, which will remain open during the transformation, the source said.
The deal, Oyo’s first such in the United States, suggests the startup is setting its sights high, but founder Ritesh Agarwal said the company would continue to focus on its mainstay: large numbers of middle class travelers looking for affordable accommodation.
“Our focus on economy and mid-scale hotels will continue to remain, because, all said and done, that’s the largest population of the world,” Agarwal said, ahead of the deal.
As it targets the world’s middle class, Oyo plans to hire up to 4,000 mid-and-senior level employees for domestic operations in the next six months, Agarwal said. Tens of thousands of junior employees, including front office staff, are likely to be hired for the hotels it franchises or leases out, he said.
Oyo, founded by 25-year-old Agarwal in 2013, started as a budget hotel aggregator in India. It expanded rapidly into markets such as China, Europe and the United States, and now manages over 23,000 properties across the world.
Valued at about $10 billion, Oyo now caters to an increasing number of corporate travelers who frequent its hotels because of affordable rents, cushioning the company from seasonal changes associated with the industry.