ZEN Rooms, one of the largest hotel franchises in Southeast Asia, announced last week that it had signed a definitive agreement with travel group Yanolja regarding additional investment, acquisition of early investors’ stakes and the signing of a wide strategic alliance. Yanolja is the leading travel group in South Korea, backed by Booking Holdings and GIC, among others. Yanolja was the lead strategic investor in the company’s US$15M funding round in 2018, with rights to invest further.
The alliance combines ZEN’s top-rated budget hotel franchise business with Yanolja’s scale, hospitality technologies and the backing by the global leader in Online Travel, Booking Holdings (behind Booking.com, Agoda, Priceline.com, Kayak, etc), thus granting ZEN unique competitive advantages in both hotel technology and sales distribution.
The groups will work to heavily deploy automation technology to enhance customer experience, further reduce budget hotels’ operating costs and reinvent budget hospitality across Southeast Asia.
“We have proudly built ZEN into the top rated budget hotel franchise in the region and were honored to be Yanolja’s first international investment,” said Nathan Boublil, co-founder and CEO of ZEN. “With this strategic alliance, we are joining forces with one of the most technologically innovative travel groups and its unique backers Booking Holdings to create the first full service
budget and mid-range hospitality group in SEA, able to deploy world-class technology infrastructure in IoT R&D, automation, hardware and software to all hotels in Southeast Asia.
“This alliance will greatly benefit our ability to serve our hotel clients and ultimately the travelers of the entire region,” he said.
Jongyoon Kim, CEO of Online Business at Yanolja, adds: “Since first investing in ZEN, we have shared the same vision of operational excellence and customer centricity to radically improve the SE Asian hospitality market. In the last 12 months, the ZEN team has taken major steps to fulfill this vision and has grown exponentially while displaying top inventory quality. With this exciting agreement, Yanolja plans to fully support ZEN to solidify its status as the market leading full-stack hospitality company in the region.”