Indian hospitality company Oyo says it has passed Intercontinental Hotels Group as the world’s third largest hotel chain in terms of room count.

The rapidly expanding group now has a portfolio of 850,000 rooms across nearly 23,000 hotels in over 800 cities.

Oyo was founded in 2013 by Indian entrepreneur Ritesh Agarwal, and added its first UK properties last year.

To give some idea of the speed of the company’s growth, the UK portfolio alone has grown to over 85 hotels across 25 destinations in less than a year.

The firm said that the US and Europe are key growth markets, with London and Dallas emerging as top destinations. It has also found particular success in China with over half of its portfolio (500,000 rooms) located across 337 cities in the country.

According to Oyo, the group operates a “successful model of combining design, hospitality, and technological expertise, financial acumen and operational capabilities to real estate owners around the world, giving them the ability to get a higher return on investments, access easy financing opportunities, transform their hotels, and offer good quality customer service, thereby significantly increasing occupancy and profitability”.

Commenting on the news Ritesh Agarwal, founder and CEO (Group), Oyo Hotels and Homes, said:

“I am humbled to see the love and support of our customers and real estate owners that have helped us in emerging as the third-largest hotel chain basis the number of rooms. Today, Oyo has over 850,000 exclusive keys as part of its hotel chain.

“We started with a simple mission of creating quality living spaces. Over 500,000 heads rest on Oyo hotel pillows daily today, a testament to the impact we are creating globally. In the last six years, we have enabled job opportunities for over 300,000 young people across India, China, US, and the UK and will continue to support the growth of the Hospitality, Travel and Tourism industry around the world.

“I am happy to see that real estate owners continue to see value in working with Oyo Hotels while witnessing an increase of approximately 30 per cent in occupancy, a 2.5X jump in RevPar and profits.

“This is a strong validation of the impact we have on their business, both at customer experience and revenue levels. Today, we are a small percentage of the world’s accommodation market, and we have an incredible opportunity ahead of us. We are just getting started.”

Justifying its claim of becoming the world’s third largest hotel chain, Oyo said:

“We would like to specify that Oyo has emerged as the third largest hotel chain, based on the hospitality company’s room count. As of June 2019, Oyo has over 850,000 rooms, by virtue of which we have surpassed companies like IHG, Accor, Wyndham, amongst others. Marriott and Hilton continue to hold strong No.1 and No.2 position when compared on the parameter of room count.”