Skift Take

Whether or not Accor will acquire or invest in Oyo, the point is this sector has come a very long way and is heading toward a big moment, born from a college dropout's entrepreneurial dream in India. The whole travel industry should welcome this.

Five years ago it would have been unthinkable for a global hotel chain to even cast a glance at the budget accommodations sector, which is characterized by stand-alone independent hotels with 20 to 50 rooms selling at rates that can’t even buy a decent breakfast.

Today that could be a reality spreading across Asia, and no one should be surprised — after all, who would have thought that Airbnb would buy HotelTonight or Accor would buy fine homestays, restaurant reservations, and concierge services?

Moreover, with technology, new players such as Oyo have been able to template the modern budget hotel to a tee, removing the stigma that dirt-cheap equals dirty and cheap. Just as low-cost carriers have enabled everyone to fly, low-cost hotels can allow everyone, not just the better-offs, to enjoy better living spaces.

— Raini Hamdi, Skift Asia Editor, [email protected], @RainiHamdi

Skift Stories and More Expert Insight

What If Accor Acquires Oyo? A full-blown acquisition or a stake in a tech-focused budget hotel player by a global hotel chain would be yet another strange development in the hospitality industry. But as we’ve seen, nothing is really strange anymore. This is an interesting development to watch, as the implications could be far-reaching.

New $100,000-a-Night Resort in the Philippines Faces Hurdles: It’s good to see that the Philippines keeps cracking down on developments to ensure they are in line with environmental and easement issues, even those at the ultra-premium end of the spectrum. But that’s not the only challenge Banwa faces.

Selling U.S. Tourism in Trump Era Leaves Industry Grasping for Fixes: No one envies anyone whose job right now is to convince Asians that America welcomes them. The U.S.-China trade war is the worst ever and has resulted in a kind of visa weaponization by both countries. The U.S. has come up with a new policy requiring nearly all visa applicants to provide details of their social media history. China has warned citizens against U.S. travel because of frequent shootings, robbery, and theft. Unbelievable. Such messages are ringing throughout Asia. It may well be that not just Chinese, but Asians overall, will just go where it’s easiest to go.

Here Are Travel’s Big Winners in an Antitrust Crackdown on Big Tech: Probes into big tech are back. U.S. regulators are preparing to examine whether Google’s search and advertising practices are harming consumers and slowing innovation. The global and Asian travel industry will be following whether this will cover Google’s travel practices and what kind of restrictions the tech giant will come under, or whether this is just a process. Much of the travel industry would welcome a diminution of Google’s vast market power, but at this point, it seems implausible that Google’s dominance will not continue, even if somewhat diminished. As an Asian expert points out, to replicate something like search, advertising, maps, shopping networks, and social media on the scale Google has done is not easy. So winners, hold your horses.

Radisson Plots Co-Branding Pilot With New Owner Jin Jiang: Radisson Hotel Group is finally in a stable place with new owner Jin Jiang, which is wasting no time to raise Radisson’s profile among Chinese travelers, a market it knows like the back of its hand. Radisson also badly needs the stability an Asian owner can bring, as its expansion in the region had been stymied by major restructures and changes at the global level that trickled down to the regional office previously.

Asia Editor Raini Hamdi [[email protected]] curates the Skift Asia Weekly newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.

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Photo credit: Oyo Life, Japan. Oyo founder Ritesh Agarwal keeps out acquisition chatter, saying his focus is to create better living spaces. Oyo Hotels & Homes

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