Top 10 Korean Travel Companies to Watch – Best of 2019

The travel industry in South Korea is on the rise.  With the rise of Korean culture in regards to Kpop, entertainment, fashion, and beauty, there were an estimated 15.3 million international tourists that arrived in South Korea in 2018.  Most of these travelers are coming from China, Japan and other parts of Southeast Asia.  Therefore, Korean travel companies have been having a lot of success in the past few years.  Airbnb really transformed the travel and hospitality industry and became a unicorn.  Therefore many startups in Korea are looking to bring this kind of transformation into Korea’s travel industry.  There are many Korean startups looking to disrupt the travel/hospitality space and we found the 10 most promising.

Here are the top 10 Korean Travel Companies of 2019

1. Yanolja

Korean Travel Companies YanoljaThe top Korean travel startup is Yanolja.  It is the most popular mobile app in Korea for hotel reservations.   They are officially the first Korean unicorn in the travel sector.  They have a valuation of over $1 billion thanks to a $180 million series D round.  Yanolja found great success in turning the economy or budget hotels in Korea into attractive and affordable rental options for travelers coming to Korea.  They have over 50,000 hotels on their platform with over 1.5 million users.  Their focus for 2019 will be to focus on markets outside of Korea.  Furthermore, they will also look to go public with an IPO in 2022.

Yanolja is Korea’s No.1 leisure platform and they have incorporated new technologies such as AI, IoT, and VR into traditional lodging and leisure industries for the first time in Korea.

2.  HanaTour

Korean Travel Companies HanaTourHanaTour is considered to be Korea’s largest travel agency.  They have over 4,500 employees in Korea and aboard.  Furthermore, HanaTour covers over 30 areas globally and is trying to become the top global culture and tourism group by 2030.  For focus for 2019 will be to expand the business into production, distribution of cultural products and developing tourism.  In addition, they had over $725 million in sales revenue in 2018.  The company expanded its portfolio to cover the duty-free business with SM Duty-Free.

3.  MyRealTrip

Korean Travel Startup MyRealTripKorean travel startup MyRealTrip was the first company in the Korean Tour Industry to reach over 10,000 travel products.  They not only provide guided tours, but they also offer various deals and services.  Therefore, these deals and services can be entrance tickets, local activities, transportation tickets, accommodations, and rental cars in over 400 cities worldwide.  The company has partnered with Naver Tour so they will be able to allow travelers to compare and book tours easily.  Their platform is known for having a large collection of customer reviews which make future customers make the right decision.  In addition, they have raised over $25 million Korean VC firms such as Altos Ventures, Smilegate Investment, and Naver Fund just to name a few.

4.  With Innovation (Yeogi Eottae)

Korean Travel CompaniesYeogi Eottae is a South Korean online hotel booking service from With Innovation that made the news for accepting cryptocurrencies as payment on their platform. They have teamed up with cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb to create a payment platform.  Therefore, payments in cryptocurrencies would include Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ripple.

5. H2O

Korean Hospitality Startup H2OKorean Hospitality startup H2O is an online and offline integrated hospitality management group focused on supporting lodging companies like hotels in the Korean and Japanese markets.  They provide integrated solutions for the management of facilities such as reservation management, housekeeping, cleaning, facility management, and customer call service for hostels, guest houses, and hotels.  In addition, H2O provides full-scale accommodation management solutions with its cleaning helper platform WaHome.  They were able to get $10 million in funding from Korean and international VC firms such as Samsung Venture Investment, 500 Startups, and GB Boston just to name a few.  Furthermore, their focus for 2019 will be on tourists traveling between Korea and Japan.

6.  Extriber (Tripstore)

Korean Travel Startup ExtriberKorean travel startup Extriber is the operator of a mobile tour package recommendation platform called Tripstore.  It is an app that helps Korean travelers curate a vacation all around the world.  They recommend packages from their database which has over 2 million tour packages.  Travelers just need to input their travel dates, budget, number of travelers, and activities they wish to do.  Extriber got $8 million in investments from Korean VC firms such as Kakao Ventures and Bon Angels.  Their focus for 2019 will be to create new tour packages with Korean online travel agencies.  In addition, they will also work with TV celebrities

7.  WAUG

Korean Travel Startup WAUGKorean travel startup WAUG is a travel activity booking platform.  Travelers can book admission tickets for special events and activities easily on their travel site.  They started out targeting Korean travelers looking for overseas travel activities.  However, they switched to target foreigners looking for activities in Korea.  Furthermore, WAUG’s voucher ticketing technology enable foreign travelers to easily book domestic activities on site.  They still help Korean travelers going abroad.  WAUG even partnered with Universal Studios Hollywood to let WAUG users buy their tickets.  In addition, users can book tickets for the world’s popular travel attractions, transportation, restaurants, and tours.

8.  DailyHotel

daily hotel Korean travel appKorean travel startup DailyHotel is an app that offers bookings to luxury hotels and fine-dining restaurants all across Asia and Europe.  They are a lifestyle technology enabler that provides affordable access to quality experiences in accommodation, dining and travel offerings through its mobile platform. On average they sell more than 100,000 rooms every month in South Korea. In addition, they have over 10 million downloads for their app

9.  allstay

Korean Travel Startup allstayKorean travel startup allstay is a hotel comparison app which offers users packaged holidays by comparing deals from other booking sites.  They cover hotels as well as private accommodations in Asia and North America.  Their focus in 2019 will be to look into mobile payments and to integrate offline travel agency content.

10.  YanaTrip

Korean Travel Startup YanatripKorean travel startup YanaTrip offers personalized online tours and activities for independent Korean travelers.  YanaTrip is for travelers who need schedule tours and other activities.  They focus mainly on Koreans who travel throughout the US. Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.  YanaTrip was certified as a creative tourism venture company by the Korea Tourism Organisation, a highly sought designation within Korea.  In addition, Yana Trips directly contracts with not only aggregators but also suppliers and is building up inventory around the globe.

HONORABLE MENTION

KOZAZA

Kozaza Korean Travel StartupKorean travel startup KOZAZA is a home-sharing company that offers homestays in traditional Korean Hanoks which are 14th-century Korean houses.  They offer travelers to Korea a full cultural experience Airbnb can’t provide.  Homestays are a traditional form of travel accommodation that allows for a deeper cultural experience than a hotel.  Furthermore, they have over 1,000 Hanoks and work with the Seoul Tourism Organization and Visit Korea Committee.  Aside from homestays, KOZAZA also offers guesthouses and support Platform businesses via online marketing.

BED RADIO

Bed RadioKorean travel startup Bed Radio offers Korean travel programs and events for their tour packages in Jeju and Jeonju. Some examples include a rice wine experience for 20,000 won and a Korean liquor wrapping art experience for 35,000 won. The packages are perfect for travelers to Korea as well as locals. Therefore, this is a great way to socialize with locals through special experiences. In addition, Bed Radio offers accommodation at dormitories and private rooms in Jeju and Jeonju.

Naamezip

NaamezipKorean travel startup Naamezip is a platform where people of the same taste gather to have conversations and connect. The host recruits people with the same taste and holds a meeting at the host’s house. The host sets the fee for the fun experience. Therefore, the aim is for the host to grow their meeting group and increase his or her revenue. Some hosts form groups around wood carving, baking, and philosophy just to name a few.