OYO

Hotel owner Roberto Martinez and Anthony Zara, general manager of the Hotel El Paso – University, stand in front of the building that was formerly the Mesa Inn.

A familiar fixture along Mesa Street will soon get some new life after the owner partnered with a multibillion-dollar startup to invest capital into the tired motel.

The Mesa Inn, 4151 N. Mesa, is now known as Hotel El Paso – University after Oyo, an Indian hotel chain that has its U.S. base in Dallas, partnered with hotel owner Roberto Martinez.

Anthony Zara, hub head for Oyo’s North Texas and Oklahoma markets, said Oyo looks for properties that need a little bit of love and help with technology, marketing and branding initiatives. He did not disclose how much the company is investing in the property, which dates back to the 1960s.

“There’s a specific niche that we target,” Zara said. “Before we go into a market we look at that and see if there’s potential.

“We’re not a big company right now, so our resources are limited. We have to be smart about where we go. El Paso is one of those markets that are very successful.”

The Mesa Inn is the first El Paso property for Oyo. The company runs hotels in several other Texas cities, including Austin, Houston, Dallas and Amarillo. Oyo also operates a small hotel near the airport in Deming, New Mexico.

Oyo has been in the United States for about a year, Zara said. The company also has large, established markets across Europe and Asia.

The company was founded in India by Ritesh Agarwal in 2013 and is valued at about $10 billion. It has a portfolio of more than a million rooms, which makes Oyo one of the largest hotel chains in the world.

The company established its U.S. headquarters in Dallas in June, and Agarwal told the Dallas Business Journal in August that the company planned to invest $300 million in the United States over the next several years.

“We do see a massive opportunity for investing in the infrastructure and bringing jobs here to Dallas and Texas,” Agarwal told the newspaper. “Just within Texas, we’ve created over 1,000 jobs already.”

Martinez is still the owner of the former Mesa Inn, and the partnership between him and Oyo will last between five to seven years. Renovations are underway but rooms are still available, Zara said.

“If they want to extend the contract, they extend, or they can go back to running independently or choose another brand,” he said.

Zara said Oyo works by investing capital into a hotel’s rooms and then tries to recover that capital through branding and marketing fees.

Oyo also provides partner hotels with technology. The company runs its own Oyo booking website and smartphone app, which works similar to websites like Expedia and Booking.com but only shows Oyo-partnered properties.

A room at the Hotel El Paso – University is listed on Oyo for about $34 per night.

“We help owners maximize occupancy and pricing capabilities of the hotel,” Zara said.

Oyo was attracted to El Paso because of its diversity of residents, the military base and its proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border,” Zara said.

Independently owned hotels aren’t as common as franchised brands, and owners like Martinez don’t always have that large web of expertise to turn to for guidance. He said the Oyo partnership allows him to have someone to turn to for assistance.

“This company helps you compete with all the hotels and getting the rooms up to (the likes of) Holiday Inn, La Quinta, Hampton Inn,” Martinez said.

Martinez said the hotel has been in his family for a couple of generations. His grandfather purchased it in 1964 and then passed it on to Martinez’s father, who then passed it on to him after he died.

“I love this property,” Martinez said. “With this partnership, it’ll again be one of the best hotels in El Paso.”


Email El Paso Inc. reporter Sara Sanchez ates sanchez@elpasoinc.com or call (915) 534-4422, ext. 105.

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