South Korea’s largest online travel platform Yanolja raises $180 million in Series D funding at more than $1 billion valuation, led by GIC and Booking Holdings
Yanolja, the largest online travel platform in South Korea, has raised $180 million in Series D funding from GIC and Booking Holdings, bringing its current valuation to more than $1 billion. 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.
In conjunction with the funding, Yanolja also announced a strategic partnership and commercial agreement with Booking Holdings. 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.
Founded in 2005 by Lee Sujin, Yanolja is Korea’s number one leisure platform that goes beyond reservations for domestic accommodation and leisure activities and includes reservations for accommodation around the world. It has incorporated new technologies such as AI, IoT and VR into traditional lodging and leisure industries for the first time in Korea, and is actively stepping up efforts to tap into overseas market. Yanolja plans to continue to introduce a solution that enables users to enjoy leisure most efficiently and conveniently in order to realize its brand mission of “making everyone feel comfortable” and complete a more advanced global leisure platform.
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.
GIC is a leading global investment firm established in 1981 to manage Singapore’s foreign reserves. As a long-term value investor, GIC is uniquely positioned for investments across a wide range of asset classes, including equities, fixed income, private equity, real estate and infrastructure. In private equity, GIC invests through funds as well as directly in companies, partnering with its fund managers and management teams to help world class businesses achieve their objectives.
Booking Holdings is the world leader in online travel and related services, provided to customers and partners in over 230 countries and territories through six primary brands – Booking.com, KAYAK, priceline.com, agoda.com, Rentalcars.com and OpenTable.