HotelOnline to merge operations with Key Butler, a Norwegian traveltech startup


HotelOnline and Key Butler have agreed to merge their Norwegian entities in a European market consolidation move.

Key Butler and HotelOnline merger will form Stay Plus and will target the Scandinavian rental market. only. HotelOmlome will maintain its operations in Africa.

Led by Tore Hofstad, the Chairman of HotelOnline, and a key investor and a former chairman of British-Norwegian traveltech New Mind tellUs, Stay Plus aims to be the biggest platform in the Nordic market.

“Our ambition is to become a leading player in the Nordic market for short-term home rentals”, said Stay Plus Chairman Tore Hofstad. He is also the Chairman of HotelOnline, and a key investor. Hofstad contributed to the 2018 New Mind tellUs merger with Simpleview, creating the world’s largest Destination Marketing Company.

Founded by Norwegian entrepreneurs Endre Opdal and Håvar Bauck, HotelOnline’s Nordic operations include (a Nordic OTA), Solferie (a Norwegian vacation rental business ) and the Guestmaker booking technology.

Signing the merger agreement

The new company will be known as Stay Plus and will target the major cities in Norway from the moment go, as well as vacation homes across the country.

“While most homeowners still primarily look to AirBnB for such rentals, Stay Plus will use all major online channels, including Expedia, and CTrip, said Klaus Hjermann, new GM Stay Plus.

Stay Plus will offer a turnkey rental solution which includes cleaning, maintenance and key delivery. Hjermann also brings his own rental business, Hjermann Forvaltning into the transaction.

HotelOnline will remain the majority shareholder in Stay Plus. The two companies will remain tightly integrated, and the operations of Stay Plus will be based on HotelOnline’s solutions.

“Our offices in Nairobi, Lagos and Dakar will also be the backoffice of Stay Plus. As for HotelOnline, we will continue focusing on our core markets in Africa and Pakistan, where we see massive growth opportunities”, said HotelOnline co-founder Håvar Bauck.

HotelOnline was founded in 2014 by Endre Opdal and Håvar Bauck to provide e-commerce and digital marketing solutions to small and medium-sized hotels in Africa.

Earlier this year, HotelOnline raised USD 320,000 from a group of investors which included Shravan Shroff, known as the first investor in traveltech unicorn OYO Rooms. The group also included high-profile Norwegian angel investor Trond Riiber Knudsen. Endre and Bauck were among the first entrepreneurs in Africa to have successfully carried out an equity crowdfunding, in 2017.