African travel tech company HotelOnline, secures an undisclosed investment from South Korean unicorn Yanolja Cloud

South Korean travel tech company Yanolja Cloud, forays into the thriving African market through a strategic investment in HotelOnline.

The funding won by HotelOnline, of an undisclosed amount, enables the South Korean travel company to introduce its travel-based SaaS (Space as a Service) technology in Africa and expand its operations on the continent. The backing comes from SoftBank Vision Fund 2, one of the world‘s largest technology-focused investment firms, that gave a funding of USD 1.7 billion in July 2021 to Yanolja Cloud, which is a part of travel platform Yanolja.

Endre Opdal, HotelOnline’s Founder and CEO said, “This is a game-changing moment for HotelOnline. With our operations back in break-even after the Covid crisis, this investment puts us in a unique position to scale and expand aggressively, strengthen our position in current markets, and expand our operations into more target countries.”

“We decided this investment, considering the synergy of two companies proved from the previous partnership with HotelOnline. As an AI-based SaaS (space as a service) company that offers the solutions for the spaces, we won‘t stop cooperating for the digital transformation of African space (spatial) business including hospitality through marketing-leading AI and cloud technology,” said Jongyoon Kim, CEO of Yanolja Cloud.

Yanolja is a South Korean travel technology unicorn, backed by SoftBank and that provides online accommodation and travel services. Its platform offers information regarding all aspects of travel including accommodation, leisure, and transportation that allow clients to book every type of hotel room from overseas. The company was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. Yanolja is ranked 1,818,521 among websites globally, based on its 9,647 monthly web visitors.

According to Statista, the operating revenue of South Korean travel company Yanolja amounted to around 604.53 billion South Korean won (more than USD 469 Million) in 2022. This is an increase compared to the previous year and the highest operating revenue of Yanolja in the last recent years.

Besides being their first-ever investment on the continent, it is also a Korean corporation’s first investment in the travel tech market in recent years, blazing a trail for other Korean corporations to explore the continent’s potential.

HotelOnline's Chairman, Tore Hofstad said “We are very pleased to welcome Yanolja as a key investor in HotelOnline. We greatly appreciate this vote of confidence in our business strategy, and we look forward to scaling HotelOnline into a market leader in the hospitality industry in Africa.”

“Today is a great day, not just for Yanolja and HotelOnline, but for the entire travel and hospitality industry in Africa. As travel rebounds, we are in a strong position to help our hotel partners capitalize on the recovery, by attracting more local and international travelers, increasing occupancy, and getting more revenue,” said Håvar Bauck, HotelOnline's founder.

Founded in 2014 by Norwegian entrepreneurs Endre Opdal and Håvar Bauck, the Kenya-based HotelOnline has emerged as the foremost e-commerce and digital marketing enabler for hotels in Africa, revolutionizing the African hospitality industry’s digital landscape. The company has helped more than 6,000 hotels in 27 African countries increase their revenue.

HotelOnline provides a comprehensive range of services to hotels, such as: digital marketing, cloud-based management, global distribution systems (including popular OTA’s like, Expedia, Agoda or Ctrip), metasearch engines and digitization of core operations. Moreover, the company also offers solutions such as yield management, Property Management System (PMS), channel management, direct online bookings, Artificial Intelligence-based dynamic rating, as well as Reputation Management System (RMS).

Based on data from Crunchbase and Owler, HotelOnline boasts an impressive estimated annual revenue of USD 5 million and is supported by a workforce of approximately 42 employees. The company has successfully secured a total of USD 520,000 in funding and has executed 7 notable acquisitions. The most recent acquisition was that of HotelPlus in September 2022, for an undisclosed amount. In terms of global website ranking, HotelOnline is currently positioned at 9,264,270 based on its 49 monthly web visitors.

Yanolja Cloud’s investment in HotelOnline, reveals the growth opportunities within the of African market, fostering business development and global expansion.

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