Yanolja, a South Korea-based hotel operator and booking platform, says fresh funding from investors valued the company at more than $1 billion.
The equity investors are Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and U.S.-based Booking Holdings, a financial backer for several operators of online hotel sites with global reach, according to IPE Real Assets.
GIC and Booking Holdings invested €159 million (US$180 million) in Yanolja, which has increased its sales by more than 70 percent annually over the last five years.
Booking Holdings also announced a commercial agreement with Yanolja, which owns a group of hotels that rank among the largest in Korea, with 200-plus properties operating under brands well known in the Korean market.
Yanolja is an investor in the leading hotel chain in Southeast Asia, ZENRooms, which has more than 1,000 rooms across the region. Yanolja also operates the largest online hotel-booking platform in South Korea.
Yanolja said in a statement that it will use some of the proceeds from its equity funding round “to accelerate digitalization and achieve growth potential in the global travel and leisure market, going beyond the traditional travel sphere,” IPE Real Assets reported.
The company has drawn praise for upgrading the concept of “love hotels” from abhorrent venues to appealing short-term rental properties for young people and travelers. [IPERealAssets] — Mike Seemuth