February 17, 2020

Unicorn Yanolja to integrate online booking channels with M&A

PUBLISHED : September 06, 2019 - 14:23

UPDATED : September 06, 2019 - 14:48

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Seoul-based unicorn startup Yanolja’s latest acquisition of the world’s No. 2 property management system provider eZee Technosys will enable it to cut costs and boost its online travel booking infrastructure, co-CEO Kim Jong-yoon said at the Upbit Developer Conference 2019 on Aug. 5.

Although the internet has existed for decades, it has been only recently that hotel distribution channels were brought to the internet, comprising PMS providers that keep availability and rates of hotel rooms in check and online travel agencies that distribute products to end-users.

So far, however, PMS providers, OTAs and hotels have felt “disconnected” leading to inefficiencies in the online booking system, Kim said during the developer-centric event in Incheon.

“It costs more human effort to connect the dots,” said Kim, who is in charge of the booking app unicorn’s online business and corporate strategy.

Yanolja CEO of online business Kim Jong-yoon speaks at Upbit Developer Conference 2019 on Sept. 5.

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Behind Yanolja’s acquisition of Indian PMS provider eZee Technosys, announced on Sept. 4, is its aim to minimize the spending in the digital transformation.

“Many hotels want to go online with their booking channels, but found they spent more than they earned if they actually did,” he said.

Once the sales channels get integrated, Yanolja would be able to reduce spending, he claimed, adding the first step to do so is to bring the world’s second-largest PMS operation under control.

In the meantime, the integrated channels’ use of guest database, encrypted through technologies like blockchain, would boost efficiency in the online distribution strategy, he added.

The remarks came after Yanolja bought an undisclosed amount of stake in eZee Technosys, while its volume of investment also remains under wraps.

Yanolja is one of the most aggressive startups in the inter-startup M&A scene here.

It announced on Sept. 3 that it took over Dailyhotel, a booking app devoted to high-end accommodation facilities. This year, Yanolja acquired holiday villa booking app Woori Pension, PMS providers Garam and SeeReal. Other firms under its umbrella include leisure activity booking platform LeisureQ, same-day hotel booking app Hotel Now and guesthouse booking app Jienem.

Meanwhile, Yanolja’s booking platform has been growing in Korea. Posts about accommodation facilities on its platform rose fourfold over the past three years, while leisure activities jumped nearly sevenfold.

By Son Ji-hyoung (

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