Yanolja, the largest online travel platform in South Korea, raised $180 million in Series D funding from GIC and Booking Holdings, bringing its current valuation to more than $1 billion.
Alongside its investment, Yanolja and Booking Holdings have entered into a strategic partnership and commercial agreement. With the partnership, Booking Holdings’ brand Agoda will have the ability to offer its customers Yanolja’s unique hotel accommodations in South Korea, and Yanolja customers will be able to book accommodations across the globe powered by Agoda and other Booking Holdings’ brands.
Yanolja is the market leader in Korea’s accommodation and leisure industry, given the company’s acute understanding and use of cutting-edge digital technologies, and global expansion plans. In particular, the company has demonstrated accelerating sales growth at an annual rate of more than 70% over the past five years.
Yanolja quickly gained ground as the largest online travel platform in Korea surpassing $100 million in monthly transactions for the first time in the industry. Yanolja has continued to show the value of its online booking platform for its customers with 20 million accumulated reservations for accommodation and leisure activity booking.
In addition, Yanolja is one of the largest hotel chains in Korea with more than 200 hotels which include some of the strongest and most recognized franchise hotel brands across the country. Outside of Korea, Yanolja has invested in Southeast Asia’s No. 1 hotel chain, ZENRooms, which has more than 1000 hotels across the region, strategically positioning itself for its global hotel franchise business.
Furthermore, Yanolja has developed the leading cloud-based property management system in Korea, supporting all kinds of accommodation types, helping the owners save operational costs, increase bookings, and ultimately boosting revenue. Based on its technological know-how and operational experience, Yanolja is architecting a smart hotel that utilizes key technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT). Earlier this year, Yanolja in collaboration with Korea Telecom, introduced the smart hotel concept in Jeju Island, which is expected to enhance the hotel’s overall performance contributing mainly from two perspectives: (i) cost efficiency and (ii) customer satisfaction.
The new funds will be used to further innovate and achieve new grounds in hospitality-related technology to automate hotel operations and achieve more pervasive connectivity across the value chain. A portion of the newly raised funds will also be deployed to accelerate digitalization and achieve growth potential in the global travel and leisure market, going beyond the traditional travel sphere.