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KENYA-BASED HOTELONLINE ACQUIRES HOTELPLUS

Kenya-based travel technology company HotelOnline has acquired HotelPlus. The former is a scale-up that describes itself as the number one revenue partner for hotels in Africa. The latter is a software provider with clients across 22 countries.

HotelOnline was established in 2014, and aids hotels in establishing and increasing online visibility, in order to achieve a higher base of clientele. Clients are equipped with booking engines, as well as spotlights on distribution channels such as Booking.com. The company claims to be a driving force in the digital transformation of the hospitality industry on the continent, and has worked with over 5,000 hotels in 27 African countries.

As well as this, clients of HotelOnline receive the option to manage operations on the company’s cloud-based digital platforms, which includes systems that help with property management.

Travel tech specialists HotelOnline acquire HotelPlus

As reported by TechCrunch, HotelPlus founder Eric Muliro is due to receive an undisclosed payout, as well as around €1.9 million in shares in HotelOnline. Muliro will also take the position of chief technology officer at HotelOnline.

Before the deal, HotelOnline had a valuation of around €23.6 million. After the deal, customers have apparently increased by 2,200, with HotelOnline acquiring new customer opportunities, as well as forward-thinking elements such as payment solutions, revenue management and pricing that is driven by artificial intelligence.

“We are significantly increasing our client base, while capitalising on the combined strengths of both companies, creating a force to reckon with in East Africa’s hospitality industry,” HotelOnline co-founder, Havar Bauck, told TechCrunch.

“Because the HotelPlus client-base currently uses on-premise software, this creates a unique integration opportunity with our cloud solutions…We are creating a massive win-win situation for the HotelPlus clients, in other words,” he said.

“A deal like this helps build a strong African travel-tech player, with a local and continental foothold. This is a key part of what we aim to contribute to through our stake in HotelOnline,” said Trond Riiber Knudsen of the TRK Group, an Oslo-based venture capital firm and an investor in HotelOnline, said in a statement,

“We see great potential in the new company, and we look forward to the journey from here.”

HotelOnline builds momentum after welcoming Yanolja as investor and shareholder

Earlier this year, HotelOnline welcomed Yanolja Cloud Pte. Ltd., a leading South Korean travel technology company as a shareholder and investor.

Yanolja Cloud develops various space-customised solutions for accommodation and residences through ] AI and cloud technology. Using SaaS solutions, Yanolja Cloud aims to lead the digitalisation of spaces and global data distribution. As a top cloud-based global solution provider, Yanolja Cloud offers B2B solutions to more than 43,000 clients in more than 60 languages in 170 markets over the globe. Through its cloud ecosystem, Yanolja Cloud aims to expand its global digital transformation of spaces, such as residences beyond accommodations.

Earlier this year, HotelOnline welcomed Yanolja Cloud Pte. Ltd., a leading South Korean travel technology company as a shareholder and investor. (Photo: WallpaperFlare)
Earlier this year, HotelOnline welcomed Yanolja Cloud Pte. Ltd., a leading South Korean travel technology company as a shareholder and investor. (Photo: WallpaperFlare)

Earnings from Kenya tourism double

Earnings from tourism in Kenya more than doubled when comparing the January to August period in 2022 and the same period in 2021. The Tourism and Wildlife Minister Najib Balala recently said that earnings were a result of a 91% increase in the number of international visitors, with the total number reported to be 924,812. Earnings for the 2022 period were reported to be around €1 billion.

This success follows two years of low business due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, and ensuing restrictions. Over said pandemic period, domestic tourism offered a lifeline to the Kenyan tourism sector.

Balala has said he predicts a full recovery starting in 2023, after a strong performance in 2022 where numbers have rebounded by 91% in just eight months, from January to August.

“The numbers are still not where we want them to be, but we are optimistic that we shall soon go back to our all-time high international visitor arrivals recorded in 2019, and even surpass it,” Balala said. “The year 2023 to 2024 will be for recovery.”

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