South Korea’s leading accommodations booking service provider Yanolja has raised $180 million in Series D funding from the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. (GIC) and Booking Holdings, earning a unicorn status with its value exceeding $1 billion.
The company announced Tuesday that it also agreed to strengthen strategic partnership with Booking Holdings, the world’s leading provider of travel platform, to connect services with its major affiliates including Agoda. The partnership would significantly boost Yanolja’s business by making it easier for its customers to reserve accommodations around the world.
Yanolja said it successfully bagged the funding thanks to its position as a leader in the local accommodation and leisure industry, understanding of cutting-edge digital technologies and global expansion plans.
The nation’s biggest online travel platform surpassed $100 million in monthly transactions for the first time in the industry and achieved 20 million accumulated reservations. Sales of the company grew at more than 70 percent annually over the past five years.
The company also runs more than 200 hotel chains under seven brands in Korea to boost its offline platform as well. Outside Korea, it invested in Southeast Asia`s top hotel chain, ZENRooms, which has more than 1,000 hotels across the region, stepping up its global hotel franchise business.
Yanolja has embarked on a work to establish a smart hotel by utilizing key technologies such as artificial intelligence and Internet of Things. It opened a smart hotel named Heyy Seogwipo in Jeju Island in March in cooperation with the country’s leading telecommunications company KT with an aim to increase cost efficiency and customer satisfaction.
By Oh Dae-seok and Choi Mira
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