This is not only their first investment on the continent, but also the first investment in the travel technology business by a Korean corporation in recent years, paving the way for other Korean companies to investigate potential in Africa.
“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,” co-founder and CEO Endre Opdal of Yanolja said in a statement.
“Backed by this investment, we can seize more of the present opportunities to drive the transformation of travel and hospitality in Africa. Our partner hotels are already surfing on the recovery waves.”
Yanolja is slated to list on the NASDAQ in 2023 and is backed by Booking.com, the world’s largest travel company.
Jongyoon Kim, CEO of Yanolja Cloud, has been vocal about the importance of partnering with a large African travel company, and the effort appears to have been successful.
“As an AI-based SaaS 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.”
Through a combination of digital marketing, distribution, and simple digitization of fundamental operations, the company has assisted over 5,000 hotels in 27 African nations in increasing their revenue.
HotelOnline announced the cooperation with Yanolja, with co-founder Havar Bauck remarking that Yanolja Cloud chose to invest in HotelOnline in order to accelerate the growth of its worldwide solution business for spaces 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 travellers, increasing occupancy, and getting more revenue. We have partnered with Yanolja since we started, through their subsidiary, eZee Technosys, which is now our main technology partner.”
Havar agrees that Yanolja’s investment occurred at a critical point in HotelOnline’s turnaround. “It was a lengthy and arduous procedure that lasted over ten months. By the time the process was complete, we were already on the verge of breaking even.”