ZEN Rooms, one of the largest hotel franchises in Southeast Asia, said Yanolja becomes its largest shareholder following an additional investment early this month. The South Korean unicorn first invested $15 million in ZEN Rooms in July last year.
That investment helped ZEN Rooms grow by more than 400 per cent in just one year. Early this month, Yanolja made an undisclosed amount of investment in the Singapore-startup. The South Korean made the additional investment by purchasing stakes from early investors.
As of now, ZEN Rooms is one of the largest hotel chains in Southeast Asia, with a total of more than 10,000 room inventory across the region. More particularly, ZEN Rooms is operating more than 4,500 rooms in the Philippines, a country where it has secured the title of being the largest hotel franchise across all segments.
“I believe ZEN Rooms, based on the investment, will be able to build a firm position as the largest full-stack hospitality company in the Southeast Asia. We will apply Yanolja’s fully-integrated automated solution to our hotel operations to provide the best quality services to travelers,” Nathan Boublil, co-founder and Managing Director of ZEN Rooms.
Through its alliance with ZEN Room, Yanolja has become the first and the largest full-stack hospitality company in Southeast Asia, running on its self-developed proprietary operating system and software platform, integrating the entire value chain.
“As we identified the growth potential of the Southeast Asian market, we will more proactively support ZEN Rooms and further solidify our status as the leading full-stack hospitality company in the global market beyond Southeast Asia,” Jongyoon Kim, CEO of Online Business at Yanolja, said.
The alliance comes as Southeast Asia is considered as the world’s fastest-growing travel market, fueled by exponential domestic and regional demand of young travelers and millennials.
Yanolja rose to a unicorn status after securing US$200 million from Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd and Booking Holdings Inc, a US firm that operates in the hotel booking space.
Yanolja, which means “Hey, let’s play”, started as an online search portal for love hotels, guest house rooms, pensions, and small hotels. The company, however, sets its eyes on global expansion as it considers the South Korean market not big enough for the company to survive and scale-up.