The backers of two big Asian Pacific online travel booking websites have pumped 500m KRW ($430,000) into Allstay.kr, a mobile-focused accommodation metasearch site based in South Korea.
Allstay will use the funding to work on ways to integrate offline travel agency content as well as private accommodations into the metasearch alongside content from OTAs such as Booking.com, Agoda, and Hotels.com.
It is also looking into mobile payments.
Japan's Venture Republic is one of the new backers. It runs www.travel.jp and www.hotel.jp, two major metasearch sites in Japan that claim around 10 million user sessions a month.
(Earlier this year Venture Republic bought Singapore-based online tour operator Flocations.)
The other backer of Allstay is TideSquare, a travel and lifestyle business set up in South Korea in 2009.
It owns upmarket business and leisure OTA Privia Travel in its home market and also has a stake in Singapore-based tours and activities specialist BeMyGuest.
Kei Shibata and Kenichi Shibata, co-founders of Venture Republic and Min Yoon, CEO of TideSquare, join Allstay’s board of directors.
The statement confirming the deal noted that South Korea "is one of the most advanced nations in terms of mobile penetration but does not have a dominant mobile-based metasearch business".
The maturity of the smartphone market in South Korea is evidenced by the latest Google Consumer Barometer. The dedicated South Korea page is full of graphs and charts which shows how advanced the market is.
For example, 94% of the sample have had access to a smartphone for more than 12 months while 51% use mobile for price comparison.