“Living with COVID-19” to boost travel platform operators

Yanolja, Good Choice is preparing to work with travel agencies

By Yi Whan Woo

The country’s two leading startups in the online travel market ― Yanolja and Good Choice ― are capitalizing on their strengths as platform operators to grow their businesses before the government launches its “Living with COVID-19” policy .

This decision is based on the confidence built on the success of platform operators in other sectors, which have grown faster to overtake conventional market players due to people’s greater reliance on digital technology amid of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the case of Yanolja and Good Choice, the government’s push for “Living with COVID-19”, the policy initiative to be launched on November 9, will provide them with opportunities for growth amid rising unemployment rates. vaccination.

The administration’s policy will result in an easing of travel restrictions, both at home and abroad, as travelers continue to show a preference for online reservations and other travel arrangements.

According to local investment banking sources, Yanolja on Tuesday partnered with Hana Tour, the country’s No.1 travel agency, under which the travel agency will sell its overseas travel package exclusively through through the online booking operator.

It is the first time that Yanolja will set foot in the overseas package tour business, which mainly involves group travel, the sources said. As for the details of the partnership, Yanolja and Hana Tour were unavailable for comment.

Being the largest booking app in the country, the company has only run programs for “fully independent travellers”, referring to people who design their own itineraries and do not travel in groups or on a schedule imposed by others. others.

“The partnership between Yanolja and Hana Tour would have been unthinkable if it hadn’t been for the pandemic or the increase in the number of platform operators,” a source said. “Yanolja plans to take the lead in the entire travel industry in the post-pandemic world.”

Yanolja recorded 288.8 billion won ($240.7 million) in annual sales last year, more than five times more than in 2017. However, Hana Tour saw its sales decline by almost a year. seventh from 2019 to reach 1.09 billion won in 2020.

Based on its experience in managing accommodation systems, Yanolja is also working with hotels and other accommodation providers to adopt its property management system, the sources said.

The system was developed to manage day-to-day accommodation operations such as reservations, front desk, housekeeping, maintenance, billing, analytics and reporting.

Good Choice, the second largest booking app in the country, has acquired a 20% stake in Online Tour, one of the five largest travel companies here.

Good Choice also purchased call options in Online Tour, which puts the estimated maximum investment at around 50 billion won.

“The acquisition is expected to be mutually beneficial,” said a Good Choice executive, noting that his company has only focused on the domestic travel market while Online Tour specializes in overseas travel, including flights, accommodation and travel packages.

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