Post Sequoia funding, DAILYHOTEL gears up for November’s global launch


The last-minute hotel booking app from South Korea has already started work on Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong

South Korean last-minute hotel booking app company DAILYHOTEL recently announced that it has raised an undisclosed amount from Sequoia Capital, according to beSUCCESS.

The report noted that this is Sequoia’s second investment into a Korea-based company, the first being e-commerce firm Coupang.

Speaking to Audrey Khoo, Local Director and Regional Manager, DAILYHOTEL’s first and only employee in Singapore, e27 understands that the company is preparing for its global launch in mid-November.

“We plan to do more hires, because we want to set up call centres,” she told this author. “For sure, we have to do hires.”

At the moment, the call centres operated by DAILYHOTEL are made up of mostly Korean speakers, with a handful that can support English enquiries.

Why Singapore?

In the coming months, users will see that DAILYHOTEL has set up Singapore as a base for overseas expansion.

Khoo said that Korea and Singapore have many similar characteristics, including buying attitudes and consumer preferences.

Other characteristic shared by Korea and Singapore is high smartphone penetration and strong mobile Internet. “To use a mobile app, you need to have good infrastructure,” she said.

Given DAILYHOTEL’s reliance on images, users in countries with weak or unstable Internet connections might find the app unsatisfactory.

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“Singapore is one of the closest to Korea [in terms of Internet speeds] so it’s actually a better starting point than another country like Indonesia, where the infrastructure is not there,” added Khoo.

“If you’ve not been to Indonesia, it’s impossible for us to launch because nobody is going to install an app where they can’t really use it,” she continued. “Because the bandwidth is just not there.”

That said, smartphone users in Singapore are able to download the iOS and Android app — but will face confusion as the app only supports the Korean language for now.

DAILYHOTEL has also started work on expanding into Hong Kong and Bangkok.

The firm has also recently entered the hotel restaurant reservation business. This feature is currently only available in Korea.

Competition in Southeast Asia

Since it was founded two years ago, DAILYHOTEL is one of the most popular last-minute hotel booking apps in Korea.

However, it will have to be cautious when operating in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong where Thailand-based competitor HotelQuickly has made its primary markets.

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It will also have to look out for standard online travel agents like Expedia that offer last-minute hotel booking services.

At the same time, it would be great for there to be more competition in the last-minute hotel booking app market in Southeast Asia, which usually results in more hotels to choose from and better pricing for consumers.

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