Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Travel Technology

Yanolja Profit Rises as Travel Rebounds in Korea and Asia Pacific

2 months ago

Yanolja said this week it expected that a post-pandemic rebound in international travel will continue to boost its twin businesses of online travel sales via a superapp and software sales to hotels and other travel companies. The South Korea-based startup has made progress on both ambitions since 2011, when it received a $1.7 billion investment from the Softbank Vision Fund in a transaction that valued Yanolja at the time at approximately US$9 billion.

The privately held travel company in South Korea reported this week some of its financial results for the third quarter, saying it had experienced “high growth rates in all business areas.”

Yanolja recorded consolidated sales of approximately $147 million (192.2 billion Korean won) in the quarter, a 112 percent jump from the same period a year.

Unlike many travel startups, the company is profitable. Yanolja reported an adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, of about $8.1 million (10.6 billion Korean won).

Roughly half of the company’s growth has been partly driven by its software business, which had a 32 percent year-over-year increase to $71 million in sales in the quarter. For more context on the travel software sales, see Skift’s story Decoding Yanolja Cloud and Its Hotel Software Strategy.

The mid-sized company said it has been staffing up for roles in product management, software engineering, and user experience design, and has cash on hand to make acquisitions.

Jongyoon Kim, CEO of Yanolja, will discuss the company’s overall strategy and business performance at Skift Global Forum East in Dubai on December 14. Kim joined Yanolja in 2015 as chief strategy officer and in 2021, was elevated to CEO. He has previously worked at McKinsey & Company, Google, and 3M. Many industry analysts wonder if Kim will be able to guide the ambitious tartup to a successful initial public offering someday, and if so, when.

Startups

Kenya’s HotelOnline, Backed by Yanolja, Buys Hotel Software Brand HotelPlus

5 months ago

HotelOnline, which is based in Kenya and has more than 6,000 hotel clients for its software, has acquired HotelPlus, a provider of hotel software to 2,200 clients in East Africa, the companies said on Monday.

The companies didn’t disclose the terms of the deal, other than to say that the transaction was mainly done in HotelOnline shares in a transaction that placed a $24 million valuation on HotelOnline.

HotelOnline is backed by Yanolja, the South Korea-based travel startup valued recently at more than $1 billion. HotelPlus was a fully bootstrapped company, meaning that it never took outside venture capital. Its co-founder and CEO Eric Muliro has become HotelOnline’s chief technology officer.

“Through this merger, we are significantly increasing our client base, while capitalizing on the combined strengths of both companies, creating a force to reckon with in the hospitality industry in the East Africa region,” said HÃ¥var Bauck, one of the Norwegian co-founders of HotelOnline.

HotelPlus offers on-premise software, which will be brought into the cloud. The digital services of the combined companies help hotels with a broad range of back-office tasks, such as accepting a wide variety of online payments and setting room rates in reaction to changes in supply and demand.

HotelPlus has clients in more than a dozen countries across the continent, which will help speed the growth of HotelOnline, which Bauck co-founded with Endre Opdal in 2014.

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