South Korea’s Yanolja wants ZEN Rooms to be the region’s future of hospitality

The leading travel group in South Korea, Yanolja, has agreed to put additional investment into ZEN Rooms, one of the leading economy and mid-range hotel franchises in Southeast Asia. The added investment would come through buying stakes previously owned by early investor Asia Internet Holdings (a joint venture of Rocket Internet and Ooredoo Telecom). The transaction also comes with a wider strategic alliance between the groups.

A reinforced alliance between Yanolja and ZEN Rooms creates the leading economy and mid-range hospitality group in Southeast Asia. ZEN’s top-rated budget hotels will combine with Yanolja’s scale, hospitality technologies, and backing from a global leader in online travel and booking holdings (the one behind Agoda,,, and Kayak, among others).

Consequently, ZEN Rooms will have a unique competitive advantage in terms of hotel technology and sales distribution, especially in the country. The groups will heavily deploy automation technology to enhance customer experience, further reduce budget hotels’ operating costs, and reinvent budget hospitality across Southeast Asia.

Representatives of ZEN Rooms and Yanolja

ZEN Rooms is among the biggest hotel franchises in the region with 13,000 rooms under franchise. Since Yanolja’s US$15 investment into ZEN Rooms in the middle of 2018, the latter has increased its revenues by 400%, making it the largest hotel chain in the fast-growing economy of the Philippines, where it has more than 5,500 rooms under franchise.

ZEN was established in 2015 to improve the state of budget hospitality and bring much needed operational and technological efficiency to an estimated 2 million independent economy rooms in the region. Thousands of hotel owners have since joined ZEN’s franchises to improve their revenue, optimize their cost base, and increase the long-term value of their property. These efficiency gains ultimately benefit travelers who can enjoy safer and better value-for-money stays.

“This alliance will greatly benefit our ability to serve our hotel clients and ultimately the travelers of the entire region,” said ZEN CEO and co-founder Nathan Boublil.

Meanwhile, Yanolja Online Business CEO said, “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.”

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