HotelOnlineA Kenya-based Yanolja-backed travel technology scale-up that markets itself as an e-commerce and digital marketing enabler in the hospitality industry has acquired HotelPlus, a software provider with customers in 22 countries.
The full terms of the transaction have not been disclosed, but Eric Muliro, which founded HotelPlus in Kenya 13 years ago, is getting a payout and $1.9 million in shares in HotelOnline, which was valued at $24 million before the deal. Muliro has also been appointed Chief Technology Officer of HotelOnline.
HotelOnline said the deal has increased its customers by more than 2,200 and opened the door to additional customers and unique offerings such as payment solutions, AI-driven pricing and revenue management.
“We are significantly expanding our customer base, while capitalizing on the combined strengths of both companies, creating a force to be reckoned with in the East African hospitality industry,” co-founder of HotelOnline, Havar Baucktold toptecheasy.com.
“As the HotelPlus customer base currently uses on-premise software, this creates a unique integration opportunity with our cloud solutions… In other words, we create a huge win-win situation for the HotelPlus customers,” said Bauck, who co-founded HotelOnline with Endre Opal in 2014.
Trond Riiber Knudsen of the TRK Group, an Oslo-based venture capital firm and an investor in HotelOnline, said in a statement: “A deal like this helps build a strong African travel technology player, with a local and continental footprint. This is an important part of what we want to contribute through our stake in HotelOnline. We see great potential in the new company and we look forward to the journey from here.”
HotelOnline helps hotels establish and increase their online visibility to tap into a wider customer base. It helps its clients deploy booking engines and gain exposure on distribution channels such as Booking.com, in addition to equipping them with the capacity to manage operations on their own platforms using cloud-based digital tools, including property management systems. It also provides management services to property owners.
HotelOnline said it is aggressively expanding into Africa, where it currently has more than 6,000 customers across 27 countries, leveraging HotelPlus’ reseller network and growing hospitality industry – which recovering greatly from the ravages of the pandemic. The immediate plan is to establish a dominant position in East Africa, as well as in Nigeria and Senegal, while striving to become a powerful pan-African player.
“HotelPlus has built an impressive commercial organization, with skilled salespeople and a powerful reseller network that covers more than a dozen countries across the continent. Integrating these resources will pave the way for our accelerated expansion in Africa,” said Bauck.
The deal comes months after HotelOnline closed Series A financing earlier this year, backed by Yanolja, a first in Africa for Softbank and the Booking.com-backed South Korean travel technology company. Yanolja offers cloud-based solutions for accommodation, restaurants and residences and has more than 43,000 customers in 170 markets.
Thanks to Yanolja’s support, HotelOnline has the financial clout to close deals and make investments that will help it scale and expand in its current and target markets. Other investors of HotelOnline are Tore Hofstad, Stratel AS and a group of angel investors from Nigeria.